Google Employees Protest China Censorship Plans
AUGUST 9, 2018
By Aaron Kesel
Google announced that it would provide China with a government-censored search engine, according to leaked documents reported by The Intercept, which resulted in Google employees protesting the decision by the company.
Just a few hundred of Google’s massive 88,000 employees were briefed on the project known as “Dragonfly” prior to the revelations, which triggered massive blowback against the company in a move seen as capitulating to the Chinese Communist government and censorship.
The Intercept reported that after the leak Google responded by trying to shut down and limit its employees’ access to documents that contained information about the China censorship project, according to Google company insiders.
“Everyone’s access to documents got turned off, and is being turned on on a document-by-document basis,” said one source who spoke to The Intercept. “There’s been total radio silence from leadership, which is making a lot of people upset and scared. … Our internal meme site and Google Plus are full of talk, and people are a.n.g.r.y.”
Google’s project Dragonfly was initiated in spring of last year and was expedited following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to The Intercept.
Historically the Chinese government blocks information on the Internet about political opponents, free speech, sex, news, and academic studies.
An Op-Ed from 2016 by Robert Epstein further exposes Google’s history of capitulating to censorship and manipulation of information. The writer argues that Google is involved in 8 different types of censorship through blacklists including autocomplete blacklist, Google Maps blacklist, YouTube blacklist, Google account blacklist, Google News blacklist, Google AdWords blacklist, and search engine blacklist.
Epstein asks, “How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?”
Google has a history of censoring information, so aiding China in its censored society should come as no surprise to readers.
This marks the second protest this year against Google by its own employees for a controversial plan devised by executives within.
Google has been having far from a good year facing leak after leak of information on its programs.
In May, Activist Post reported that Google had removed multiple references to its old catchphrase “Don’t be evil” from its Code of Conduct; as employees expressed outrage over the company’s decision to work with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, including signing a petition and quitting. This caused Google to walk back the plans, denouncing support for Maven by stating that the company would not be renewing the military contract and would stop in 2019.
However, as Activist Post reported, the agreement was already signed, so the company is locked in for another year until the contract runs out in March 2019. Google can then legally stop assisting the government with the advancement of artificial intelligence for use with its drones, a nightmarish scenario that brings glimpses of the movie The Terminator to mind.
There was also a leaked 2016 video to The Verge entitled “The Selfish Ledger” from within Google X exposing internal Google dialogue to create a dystopia run by the big social giant. The revelation showcased the other big problem the company faces — questions about harvesting its users’ data.
With that leak, the company’s dystopian future it seeks to achieve is exposed, as the 9-minute video goes on to describe how Google could keep a ledger of all human behavior and then use it to manipulate your decisions and those of future generations. All with the ultimate goal of pushing the company’s values, offering services and products, and basically dictating the behavior of entire populations.
The video was dismissed as just a concept “meant to provoke discussion,” but offers a rare glimpse into the types of conversations and the views the company might be having, as well as aligning with many of Google’s existing products that use AI; for example, suggesting routes in Google Maps, organizing albums in Google Photos, and even composing automated emails in Gmail.
Then there is the time that Google blocked the entire Internet, according to The Guardian; on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, at 6:00 a.m., Google blocked the entire Internet for an impressive 40 minutes.
These leaks provide key insight into Google’s internal affairs by exposing its incestuous ties with governments like the U.S. and China.
I am not sure what’s worse — Google capitulating to the U.S. government and its artificial intelligence program, or creating a censored version of its search engine which during the election was biased in support of Hillary Clinton (the candidate Google’s CEO donated to.) Which hilariously enough, according to a Google insider, the company didn’t deny.