Google Is Reportedly Working On A Censored Search Engine For China

Google is embracing evil

It is unclear whether Google will launch a desktop version of its China search platform.

Critics and human rights groups are already accusing Google of bending to China's will.

A day earlier, the search giant also declined to comment on specifics mentioned in The Intercept report, but noted that it has launched a number of mobile apps in China and works with local developers as part of maintaining its domestic presence.

Internal Google documents, as well as people familiar with the matter, indicate that the US company will launch in China a mobile search engine that blocks websites and search terms China's government objects to, according to The Intercept.

According to confidential internal documents obtained by The Intercept, Google's Chinese search engine-code-named Dragonfly-has been in development since last spring.

Google "faces an uphill battle in getting users who are now very accustomed to Baidu to switch", said Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting.

Google's foray into the Chinese market once more, this time complying with their Orwellian demands, sets a bad example for other internet companies.

Google had a similar version of its search engine available in China between 2006 and 2010, but eventually chose to retreat from the country following harsh criticism from the United States for its compliance with the government's censorship. CEO of Google Sunday Pichai is said to have already met with Chinese officials and the plans are now pending approval from mainland authorities. A Google representative told Business Insider, "We don't comment on speculation about future plans".

Bloomberg took the most comprehensive temperature test of the controversy that the news has generated among Googlers (paywall).

China infamously maintains extensive censorship of the internet with strict legislation in place to regulate domestic internet usage.

So far, neither Google or the Chinese government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made any official statement concerning the story. If the project goes through, the Mountain View company will bring its search back to China for the first time.

Cédric Alviani from Reporters Without Borders told HKFP: "China has been lobbying for years to promote the idea of "national sovereignty" over the internet, which is a pretext for making it a tool of censorship and surveillance".

That means Google can't point people to potentially "sensitive" terms or photographs banned by the government.

The letter noted FBI Director Christopher Wray's testimony at a February hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee when he said he was "deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks".

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