Reports related to Google’s alleged censored search engine for China is getting weirder by the day. The latest report by The Intercept alleges that Google has tried to suppress an internal memo that contained detailed plans on how the Chinese government would use the censored search engine to track citizens who use it.
This confidential memo was authored by a Google engineer who worked on the project. It accused developers working on the project of creating “spying tools” for the Chinese government to monitor its citizens.
The memo also revealed that the search system codenamed Dragonfly would force users to log in to perform searches. The searches performed, the device’s IP address, the links they click on, user location, and phone number would be stored by Google.
All of this information will be shared with the Chinese government and an unnamed Chinese company who would have “unilateral access” to the data. The search platform would allow the government to blacklist “sensitive queries” on topics like politics, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.
Moreover, the Chinese partner company would also have the permission to add to the censorship blacklists and “selectively edit search result pages.” Many of Google’s employees already know about the Dragonfly project and they have been protesting against it for a while now.
However, the Google leadership was furious on discovering that the memo was passed among the employees who were not supposed to know about the Dragonfly project. All the employees who saw or saved the memo received an email from the HR asking them to delete the sensitive document.
China banned Google in 2010 after the search engine giant refused to comply with Chinese censorship requests. But it seems that Google doesn’t want to miss out on potential revenue by turning a blind eye to China’s 700 millions of Internet users — the biggest online community in the world.
Given that China is infamous for targeting critics, activists, and journalists, the idea of a Government monitored search engine that could easily track users seeking banned information is terrible.