Briefing: Google's China search project halted after internal complaints

Google Shuts Down''Censored' Chinese Search Project Report

Google abandoned a program aimed at developing a censored search engine for China after employees complained that the plan was not being publicly disclosed, The Intercept reported Monday night.

If Google actually releases a heavily-censored search engine in China, it would directly contribute to Chinese oppression - which actually contradicts Google's motto "Don't Be Evil".

Development on Google China has since reportedly come to a halt, with members moved from Project Dragonfly onto other plans within India, Indonesia, Russia, the Middle East and Brazil.

Employees of the Mountain View, Calif. -based Google were using Beijing-based website 265.com, which the company bought in 2008 from Chinese billionaire Cai Wensheng, as a sort of market research to see what search queries were being entered.

In its detailed report, The Intercept alleges that Google had set up a system to monitor internet traffic of the website www.265.com - an extensively used search website for information in China.

Googlers involved have now been told that they are not to use the 265.com data - effectively killing off Project Dragonfly. To put it concisely in the words of the source quoted by The Intercept, the team was "really pissed". The data collected was to see what people in mainland China were searching for in order to build a Dragonfly prototype. This report comes from The Intercept, which was the first to bring the very existence of Dragonfly into the light.

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This search engine was supposed to connect the phone numbers of users with their search histories, making it the Chinese censorship would have been Easy to find the users. Google saw backlash towards Dragonfly, both within the company and outside of the company.

All these look like that the private sector had no idea about this project before it was reported and also interrogated engineers regarding Dragonfly charge.

'But right now there are no plans to launch in China. For a company of Google's nature, which lives on users' trust in its willingness and capabilities to guard the security of their data, protests from these internal teams must have had the management ears.

It was only in October that the project was officially acknowledged by Google CEO Sundar Pichai who insisted that the search engine was actually a way "to provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 percent of the world's population".

'It's worrying that these reports suggest that Project Dragonfly has been shelved due to discrepancies over internal process, rather than over human rights concerns.

In October Google CEO Sundar Pichai publicly acknowledged Dragonfly's existence for the first time, and told a U.S. congressional panel last week that the company had 100 engineers working on the project.

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