Hundreds of Google employees signed a protest letter about the company’s work on a censorship-friendly search engine to return to China, The New York Times said. Employees are asking for more transparency to understand the moral implications of their work, said the Times, which got a copy of the letter.
It was signed by 1,400 employees and circulates on the company’s internal communication system, according to the newspaper, 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 “raise urgent ethical and ethical issues”. “Currently, we do not have the information necessary to make informed ethical decisions about our work, our projects, and our jobs,” he said in the letter.
The anger of the employees exploded with a report This month in The Intercept, Google secretly builds a search engine that will filter banned content in China and meet the strict rules of censorship in Beijing.
Google removed its search engine from China eight years ago because of censorship and hacking. The new project would be called “Dragonfly”. The tech giant had already been criticized this year by thousands of employees who had signed a petition against a $ 10 million contract with the US military, which was not renewed.
With the secret project, Google employees fear they are working unknowingly on a technology that could help China hide information from its employees.
“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 Times says.
At a municipal employee rally yesterday, the Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that the firm was committed to transparency and that while it was “exploring a lot of options”. It was not about to launch a research product in China,” the Financial Times reported, citing a person present at the meeting.
Pichai said Google’s stated mission was “to organize information from around the world,” reported Bloomberg News, citing a transcript of the employee meeting. “China represents one-fifth of the world’s population, we need to think seriously about how we do more in China,” Bloomberg said. “I sincerely believe that we have a positive impact when we engage in the world and I see no reason why it would be different in China.” Pichai said, “We will certainly be transparent as we get closer to a registration plan here. We certainly plan to engage more and talk more.