Google allegedly working on censored search engine for Chinese market

02 Août, 2018, 06:22 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename "Dragonfly" since the start of previous year, according to a report published Wednesday by The Intercept, which cites internal documents provided by a whistleblower.

The final version of Google's modified search app, which will blacklist sites on human rights, democracy, religion and other issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese government, has already been shown to authorities and is now pending approval, according to the online news publication, which cited people familiar with the matter and internal Google documents.

According to The Intercept's Ryan Gallagher, who first reported on the tech giant's plans on Wednesday, "The project-code-named Dragonfly-has been underway since spring of a year ago, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official". Yahoo Finance's Seana Smith, Dan Howley, Dan Roberts and Pras Subramanian discuss. A person would then see a disclaimer stating that "some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements", according to The Intercept. As per The Intercept's findings, Google's few hundred engineers and programmers have formulated a custom Android app that might have different versions, codenamed "Maotai" and "Longfei". Allowing Google back into the country would appear to be of little overall benefit to the Chinese government. For now, the company is focused on initially rolling out the Android app, which a large portion of China's population will be able to access, as Android devices make up for almost 80 per cent of all smartphones in the country.

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The report from The Intercept revealed a project called "Dragonfly", and claimed its existence was known only to a relatively small amount of employees. To recall, Google's search engine can not be accessed normally in China, considering it has been blocked by the country's "Great Firewall". It even censors social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as news organisations such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. By supporting initiatives such as Project Dragonfly, it is on the path to becoming the very oppressors they vehemently opposed.

Censorship is set to continue indefinitely within China and seems to be getting more pervasive every year.

It is easy to dismiss any argument about Project Dragonfly by invoking the slippery slope fallacy card, but in this case, the consequences could be much worse than imagined. "I'm against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what's being done is in the public interest", the source told The Intercept, adding that they feared "what is done in China will become a template for many other nations".

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