Ever since its leak earlier this year, several Google employees have expressed dissent towards the company's proposed Chinese search engine project. Dubbed as Project Dragonfly, it aimed to reintroduce a censored version of the Google Search app in the Chinese market. A group of over 170 employees have now banded together to address the issue publicly with an article and petition posted on Medium in partnership with Amnesty International entitled "We are Google employees. Google must drop Dragonfly." The Google employees further stated:
"Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may beMany of us accepted employment at Google with the company's values in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and an understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits. After a year of disappointments including Project Maven, Dragonfly, and Google's support for abusers, we no longer believe this is the case. This is why we're taking a stand."
We first heard about Project Dragonfly after The Intercept reported that the app would exclude certain blacklisted topics and phrases from search results, as well result from some sources, including the BBC and Wikipedia. Subsequently, it was reported that a Chinese partner could selectively edit search result pages and that users would be tracked through a mandatory log-in and the user's phone number.
Google pulled out of the Chinese market in 2010 stating that the Chinese government's censorship laws go against the company's 'core values'. As a result, most of their popular services (including the Play Store and Google Apps) remained banned in the country to date. However, it appears that Google is looking to reestablish its presence in the Chinese market and has been negotiating with the government to that effect.