The White House expressed concern about Google building a controversial search engine for the communist Chinese government that would significantly censor search results.
“Vice President Mike Pence commented today in a speech that Google’s modified search engine — currently under the codename Dragonfly — would ‘strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers,'” according to The Verge.
The project reportedly will track users’ searches back to their mobile phones, allowing the Chinese government, which is implementing a “social credit score” system, to track every internet user and potentially punish them for their searches.
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.
The Intercept reported that Jack Poulson, a senior research scientist at the tech giant, quit his job in protest over the project.
“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,” he said. “There is an all-too-real possibility that other nations will attempt to leverage our actions in China in order to demand our compliance with their security demands.”
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