Hundreds of Google employees have signed a protest letter over the company’s reported work on a censor-friendly search engine to get back into China. The employees are demanding more transparency so they can understand the moral implications of their work.
The letter was signed by 1400 employees and argues that the search engine project and Google’s apparent willingness to accept China’s censorship requirements “raise urgent moral and ethical issues.”
Employee anger flared with a report this month in The Intercept that Google is secretly building a search engine that will filter content banned in China and thus meet Beijing’s tough censorship rules.
Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and hacking.
The new project is said to be codenamed “Dragonfly.” The tech giant had already come under fire this year from thousands of employees who signed a petition against a USD 10-million contract with the US military, which was not renewed.
With the secret project, Google employees are reportedly worried that they might unknowingly be working on technology that could help China hide information from its people.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, the firm was committed to transparency, and that while it was “exploring many options”, it was “not close to launching a search product in China.”