Dragonfly: China’s Censored Search Engine?


China’s Censored Search Engine

Imagine a search engine that is “Censored” or “Censored Search Engine”!
What does it mean and for whom?

Yes, Google is working on a secret project, being internally termed as “Dragonfly” of developing a censored search engine or censored search tool for China.

What’s Dragonfly?

Internet Censorship in china is most widespread and extensive in the world due to various laws and administrative regulations.

In fact, as many as 60 internet restrictions have been created by China’s authoritarian government, being followed by companies, and organizations, generating harsh criticism from human rights watchers across the world.

Google headquarters

As revealed by the Intercept earlier this month, sparking huge outcry from the Internet giant’s chunk of employees how this app based search platform could block some web pages from Internet users in china, having contents related to human rights, peaceful protests, democracy, religion and other topics blacklisted by People’s Republic of China.

About 1,400 employees from Google’s total 88,000 wrote a letter of protest to the Google’s internal administration, being succumbed to China’s censorship requirements “raise ethical and moral issues” and demanded more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his wife

Although Google has declined to react publicly about “Dragonfly”, Google CEO Sundar Pichai defending the project termed that the project is merely on “Exploratory” stage.

Does Google have lost its moral Compass?

The Internet backlashes from a section of employees represent a growing concern that Google could have lost its moral compass in the corporate pursuit to enrich its shareholders.
Those who understand Google also know that the people who conceive Google’s technology hold power in taking corporate decisions than its shareholders.

In a similar incident in April this year, there was huge protest from thousands of Google employees of taking a military contract from the Pentagon-known as Project Maven.

The Project Maven was at analyzing the drone video footage that could identify potential human targets. As a result of that, a group of engineers, believed to have given the assignment resigned over this issue, being viewed as an unethical use of Artificial Intelligence and promoted the Google eventually to pause the project in the midway and had to promise that they would never use the AI technology to harm others.

Google China

Taking up the Dragonfly project by Google from China, being viewed by many as a paradigm shift from Google’s earlier decision eight years back during withdrawal from China, sighting People’s Republic of China’s widespread censorship and state-patronized hacking.

Having the tag of world’s largest internet user-base, but China has annoyed USA tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google with content restrictions or outright blockages of services.

The letter from protesting employees demands greater transparency, greater involvement and commitment to clear and open processes what they are building, allowing employees to participate in ethical reviews of the company’s products, appointment of external representatives to ensure transparency and the publication of the ethical assessment of controversial projects.

By Suryodaya Rajguru

I am Suryodaya Rajguru, a professional web content writer, and have a deep interest in blogging related to various topics like Technology, media, gadgets, and science. It’s a small endeavor on the part of me to communicate my perspective on the said topics.