According to reports, Google built a prototype of a search engine for China that will censor the content and link users' searches with their phone numbers.
The Intercept reports that the engine, codiremaed & # 39; Dragonfly & # 39;, would censor and remove content to comply with China's strict communist censorship rules.
On Friday, The Intercept revealed undisclosed details it obtained about the plan, which show Google's blacklist of censorship, including terms such as & # 39; human rights & # 39 ;, & # 39; student protest & # 39; and & # 39; Nobel Prize & # 39;
This happens a month after Google was attacked by 1,400 employees who signed a protest letter for the work reported by the company on Dragonfly.
According to reports, Google built a prototype Chinese search engine with the code name & # 39; Dragonfly & # 39; that will link a user's searches with their phone number.
It is said that the Dragonfly search engine is linked to a user's Android and their phone number, which facilitates government tracking.
Sources say that the search engine has been tampered with to replace weather and air pollution data with information provided by a source in Beijing.
CHINESE INTERNET CRACKDOWN
While China is home to the largest number of Internet users in the world, a 2015 report by US think tank Freedom House found that the country had the most restrictive online use policies of 65 nations studied, ranking below Iran. and Syria.
But China has maintained that its various forms of web censorship are necessary to protect its national security.
It has cracked down on VPNs following the approval of a controversial cybersecurity bill last November that restricted restrictions on online freedom of expression and imposed new rules on service providers.
Since the regulation came into effect in June, authorities closed dozens of celebrity gossip blogs and issued new rules on the content of online videos to eliminate programs considered offensive.
"This is very problematic from the point of view of privacy, because it would allow a much more detailed follow-up and profile of the behavior of people," Cynthia Wong, principal internet researcher at Human Rights Watch, told The Intercept.
"Linking searches to a phone number would make it much more difficult for people to avoid the kind of excessive government surveillance that is widespread in China," Wong added.
Google has not confirmed Dragonfly, and has publicly refused to comment on reports about the project.
However, the company previously said that it is only doing an "exploratory" job. in a search service in China and you're not close to launching a search product.
Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and piracy.
In August, Google employees demanded more transparency so they can understand the moral implications of their work, The New York Times reported.
A letter was signed by 1,400 employees and began circulating in the company's internal communications system, the newspaper said, citing three people familiar with the document.
The letter argues that the search engine project and Google's apparent willingness to accept China's censorship requirements "pose urgent moral and ethical problems."
"Currently we do not have the necessary information to make ethically informed decisions about our work, our projects and our employment," the letter says, according to the Times.
With the secret project, Google employees are worried that, without knowing it, they are working on a technology that could help China hide information from its people.
"We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we are building," the protest letter says, according to the Times.