Google collaborating with Chinese censors

Who would have thought? Fortunately there is unrest among the staff.

The internal furor began after The Intercept earlier this month revealed details about the censored search engine, which would remove content that China’s authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It would “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, leaked Google documents disclosed. The search platform is to be launched via an Android app, pending approval from Chinese officials.

The censorship plan – code-named Dragonfly – was not widely known within Google. Prior to its public exposure, only a few hundred of Google’s 88,000 employees had been briefed about the project – around 0.35 percent of the total workforce. When the news spread through the company’s offices across the world, many employees expressed anger and confusion.

Now, a letter has been circulated among staff calling for Google’s leadership to recognize that there is a “code yellow” situation – a kind of internal alert that signifies a crisis is unfolding. The letter suggests that the Dragonfly initiative violates an internal Google artificial intelligence ethical code, which says that the company will not build or deploy technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”

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8 Responses to Google collaborating with Chinese censors

  1. Tim Neilson

    the censored search engine, which would remove content that China’s authoritarian government [read instead “the Deep State”] views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It would “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, leaked Google documents disclosed.

    Why are they worried about it happening in China when it’s already standard practice in the so-called free world?

  2. Sam Duncan

    I hope none of them was among the gang who agitated to get James Damore fired.

    See, on the face of it, Google-fires-employee-for-expressing-classical-liberal-ideas/Google-collaborates-with-ChiCom-censorship looks perfectly consistent. “Don’t be Evil” has been taken round the back and met the half-brick-in-a-sock. But we know that one was a management decision with at which many employees are up in arms, while the other was forced upon the management by a group of employees.

    Now, Google’s a big company. It’s perfecly possible that none of the signatories to the letter wanted Damore out. But if any of them did, those people really need to take a good, hard, look at themselves.

  3. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    google is shit

  4. BorisG

    When Chinese government demanded censorship. Google preferred o walk out. In Beijing I used to stay in a hotel next to a collorfuly decorated google building but not anymore.

    If you blame google, you should first blame Microsoft et al who complied with the censorship demands.

  5. .

    Meanwhile, in the land of Roger Ramjet, Wavy Gravy and pot smoking Republicans from Colorado:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

  6. Snoopy

    Dot are you suggesting some sort of equivalence?

  7. China is a huge market, and Google chose to management chose to enter that market and reap profits rather than abandoning it to competitors. Hardly a surprise!

  8. .

    Absolutely I am claiming “an equivalence”.

    (Which implies proportionality; otherwise “equivalence” will do).

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