14 Human Rights Organizations Demand That Google Kill Plans For Chinese Censored Search Engine

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

A group of 14 human rights organizations wrote to Google’s CEO demanding that he kill plans to launch a censored search engine for China.

The group, which includes Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, sent an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai in response to plans revealed in early August for a search engine, code named “Dragonfly,” that would comply with China’s censorship laws. The 14 organizations said the search engine would be “an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights.” (RELATED: Google Employees Blast Company For Involvement In Dragonfly, The Censored Chinese Search Engine)

“The project, codenamed “Dragonfly”, would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights. The Chinese government extensively violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy; by accommodating the Chinese authorities’ repression of dissent, Google would be actively participating in those violations for millions of internet users in China,” the letter reads.

News of the project broke after The Intercept obtained leaked documents showing Google’s plans for Dragonfly and revealing Pichai had met with Chinese government officials in December of 2017 to discuss the planned search engine.

The group demands Google not only rescinds its plans to launch the project, but that it also makes its position on censorship in China clear and discloses “what steps, if any, Google is taking to safeguard against human rights violations linked to Project Dragonfly and its other Chinese mobile app offerings.”

They also demand that Google guarantee protections for whistle-blowers within Google who speak out “where they see the company is failing its commitments to human rights.”

In addition to the two aforementioned human rights organizations, Article 19, Center for Democracy and Technology, Committee to Protect; Journalists, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, Independent Chinese PEN Centre, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), PEN International, Privacy International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and WITNESS backed the letter.

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