Sunday, 23 September, 2018

U.S. lawmakers ask Google if it will rejoin Chinese market

U.S. lawmakers ask Google if it will rejoin Chinese market Google Scientist Resigns Over Censored Search App for China
Katie Ramirez | 15 September, 2018, 23:57

And now, almost a month after the Googlers expressed their concerns via an internal letter, Google staffers have started resigning from the company to express their dissent over the issue.

The bipartisan group also asked whether Google is considering cooperating with the Far Eastern country's censorship authorities should its widely reported plans to relaunch its search engine in China eventually materialize.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. lawmakers have questioned Google if it would comply with China's surveillance and censorship policies if it re-entered the Chinese search engine space. Subsequently, there have been reports about internal unrest among Google employees over the project, which is codenamed Dragonfly. Google had a censored search engine operating in China from 2006 to 2010 but quit the country after its servers were hacked.

China of course is widely considered to have one of the most repressive Internet censorship schemes in the world, which is created to prevent criticism of the ruling Communist Party and suppress dissent and other information deemed risky to the state.

Poulson told The Intercept that he was of the opinion that the censored search engine plan went against the principles governing Google's artificial intelligence project, which said the company would not use technologies "whose goal contravenes widely accepted principles of worldwide law and human rights".

More news: Apple ditches dongles for older iPhones too

"I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe", Poulson told Google bosses in his resignation letter.

The letter reportedly asked if Google would "ensure that individual Chinese citizens or foreigners living in China, including Americans, will not be surveilled or targeted through Google applications".

In addition to Mr. Cicilline, Thursday's letter was signed by Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as three other House Republicans and 11 Democrats.

And Google is likely to face questions about China when it testifies on privacy issues before a Senate panel on 26 September. According to its sources, a "Dragonfly" prototype was built that worked similar to many online services in China, with an Android app that linked search activity to a phone number. Another report said that engineers had used search queries from a Chinese Web directory service owned by Google to develop blacklists for the censored search engine.

The app will also identify topics and websites that are blocked by China's Great Firewall, according to the documents.

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