After a series of backlash, Google has ceased its censored search engine project named Dragonfly. This report comes from The Intercept, which was the first to bring the very existence of Dragonfly into the light.
In its detailed report, The Intercept alleges that Google had set up a system to monitor internet traffic of the website www.265.com — an extensively used search website for information in China.
When Chinese citizens enter search queries at 265.com, they are automatically forwarded to Baidu which is China’s biggest search engine and heavily censored too.
Google allegedly monitored the search queries on 265.com before forwarding them to Baidu. Meanwhile, it developed a huge amount of datasets on what mainland China residents are looking for on the internet.
By using this data, Google tried to tweak its own Dragonfly search engine to create a search platform that would perform better than Baidu or other competitors, but still stick to the strict censorship rules of the Chinese government.
Therefore the search results would have omitted information related to democracy, human rights, peaceful protest, or anything that “threatens” the Communist Party government of China.
It also includes forbidding of linking to “dangerous” websites such as BBC.com, Wikipedia, and even Google’s own YouTube.
But fresh reports state that 265.com has been shut down and the rest of the Dragonfly team is facing difficulties in developing the project without the data source. Given that several Google employees have also resigned, CEO Sundar Pichai has put a break on the Dragonfly project for now.
But no official statements have been released for same, so it means that the project can be revived later. If Google actually releases a heavily-censored search engine in China, it would directly contribute to Chinese oppression — which actually contradicts Google’s motto “Don’t Be Evil.”