Google Workers Call Out Employer Over Chinese Censored Search Engine

Employees are concerned about what they see as glaring human rights violations.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has defended a controversial search platform for China. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Google workers signed a public letter on Tuesday asking their employer to cancel its controversial plans to build a censored search product in China.

The platform, known as Project Dragonfly, violates Chinese citizens’ human rights, according to the tech giant’s professionals.

“Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be,” the letter read, according to Recode. “(The project) comes as the Chinese government is openly expanding its surveillance powers and tools of population control (and) would establish a dangerous precedent, at a volatile political moment.”

The letter — signed by at least 310 Google employees as of Tuesday evening — backs rights organization Amnesty International’s public rallying against Project Dragonfly.

This is the second time Google has faced internal backlash over the proposed surveillance platform. About 1,400 workers signed a similar letter this past August when it was revealed that the search engine would block phrases like “human rights,” “Nobel Prize,” and “student protest.” Several high-ranking employees also resigned over the issue.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has defended Dragonfly, arguing that the company would balance its values with China’s laws.

“We are compelled by our mission (to) provide information to everyone, and (China is) 20 percent of the world’s population” Pichai said at last month’s WIRED25 conference.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.