Google gets flak for censor-friendly search engine – Info PR
Google desperately wants access to the enormous Chinese market.
The organization hasn’t offered a search engine there since 2010, when
public outcry forced Google to remove the limited engine it was running in
China that helped block information the government wanted kept away from
citizens’ eyes. Now Google is trying to re-enter the Chinese market, but
its plans have been leaked and the company is again on the defensive.
The Intercept reported:
The project—code-named Dragonfly—has been underway since spring of last
year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s
CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to
internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.
Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android
app, different versions of which have been named “Maotai” and “Longfei.”
The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the
finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending
approval from Chinese officials.
The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China
and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has
operated its search engine in the country.
Critics of the move spoke about the damage that could be done by Google
caving to government censorship.
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Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with human rights group Amnesty
International, told The Intercept that Google’s decision to comply with the
censorship would be “a big disaster for the information age.”
“This has very serious implications not just for China, but for all of us,
for freedom of information and internet freedom,” said Poon. “It will set a
terrible precedent for many other companies who are still trying to do
business in China while maintaining the principles of not succumbing to
China’s censorship. The biggest search engine in the world obeying the
censorship in China is a victory for the Chinese government—it sends a
signal that nobody will bother to challenge the censorship any more.”
Google has tried to offer a censorship-friendly search tool in China
before, but removed it after facing severe backlash.
During a February 2006
that focused on the activities of American technology companies in China,
members of the House International Relations Committee called Google a
“functionary of the Chinese government” and accused it of “abhorrent
actions” for participating in censorship. “Google has seriously compromised
its ‘don’t be evil’ policy,” declared Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. “Indeed, it
has become evil’s accomplice.”
The controversy eventually became too much for Google. In March 2010, it
announced that it was pulling its search service out of China. In a
published at the time, the company cited Chinese government efforts to
limit free speech, block websites, and hack Google computer systems as
reasons why it “could no longer continue censoring our results.”
On Twitter, many bashed Google for going against its old principles:
— Jason Fossen (@JasonFossen) August 1, 2018
— Glyn Moody (@glynmoody) August 1, 2018
— Dr. Steven Murphy (@ekkihandle) August 1, 2018
Others noted the potential market windfall the move represents:
— David Ramli (@Davidramli) August 1, 2018
An article from 2010 discussing #Google‘s experience in promoting an uncensored search engine in China – https://t.co/pdtKC6mTo9
— Simple for Work (@simpleforwork) August 1, 2018
So far Google is choosing not to respond to questions about the news scoop,
but if the pushback continues to grow, it may have no choice but to face
What do you think, PR Daily readers?
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp