Google China, a subsidiary of the planet’s most powerful tech company, has created a search engine that links users’ searches to their phone numbers at the behest of the communist regime, according to a new report.
“The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest,” the report said.
Certain terms have been blacklisted by the Chinese government, including “Human Rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize,” according to the report.
“Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number,” the report said. “This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.”
This type of tracking is critical to the oppressive regime that has already begun implementing a “social credit score” system, used by the government to keep track of whether the citizenry is behaving according to accepted standard. A person’s score reportedly increases or decreases based on hundreds of factors. For example, bad driving or sharing “fake news” can decrease a person’s score. The system will be fully implemented by 2020.
Not all of Google’s employees are happy with the tech giant aiding and abetting tyranny.
Jack Poulson, a former Google senior research scientist, was one of five senior Google employees to quit in protest of Dragonfly.
“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 reportedly said in his resignation letter.
In August, 14 human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders, reportedly penned an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying that its censored search engine represented “an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights” and has could result in the company “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.”
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