Google's plans to release a search product solely for the Chinese market are under attack by its own employees who have published a public letter urging the company to abandon its plans.
The initiative, known as Project Dragonfly, would enable state surveillance and help the Chinese government further expand its control over its populace.
The letter, published on Medium, was initially signed by just 10 employees but now others have added their names to the list and at the time of writing there are now 407 signatures.
The document also calls on management to be more transparent, accountable and to provide clear communication.
Growing internal dissent
Ever since the details of Project Dragonfly became known back in August, Google's parent company Alphabet has been rife with dissent from employees that opposed the idea. Building a censored search engine for China is a complete turnaround for the company that pulled out of the country in 2010 after it decided it would no longer remove controversial links from web searches.
In their letter, the Google employees explained exactly why they are so against Project Dragonfly, saying:
“Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be. The Chinese government certainly isn’t alone in its readiness to stifle freedom of expression, and to use surveillance to repress dissent. Dragonfly in China would establish a dangerous precedent at a volatile political moment, one that would make it harder for Google to deny other countries similar concessions.”
By posting the letter publicly, the employees have certainly raised awareness regarding Project Dragonfly and the move could prompt the employees of other tech giants to follow suit with their own issues.
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.