Google asks employees to delete China search engine memo

Joanna Estrada
September 26, 2018

The Intercept reported that Google's leaders learned of the memo and then made attempts to force workers who accessed or saved the memo to delete the information.

The memo revealed that Google's China search app would provide a third-party company in China with access to user search data.

At an internal meeting on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai expressed interest in continuing to expand the company's services in, but told employees that the company was "not close" to launching a search product there and that whether it would - or could - "is all very unclear".

Google's China efforts mark a major reversal of its 2010 decision to pull its search operations out of China rather than censor information. Apparently, he was also the person who wrote the memo. Many of Google's employees already know about the Dragonfly project and they have been protesting against it for a while now.

The Google exec, who served as CEO from 2001 through 2011, may have inside insight into industry trends, as the internet giant is reportedly developing a China-specific, censored version of the search engine in order to placate the government in Beijing.

Authored by a Google engineer familiar with the project, the memo disclosed that the search system would require users in China to log in to perform searches according to their data.

The China search engine would link users' search history to their personal phone numbers, according to the memo. The search engine will "blacklist sensitive queries" so that "no results will be shown" at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to documents seen by the publication.

Most disconcerting of all, according to a memo that Google executives have reportedly ordered destroyed, the suite of applications is being created to provide a "Chinese partner" with "unilateral access" to all of the data collected by Dragonfly.

The Taiwanese government should inquire with Google to find out which company in Taiwan is intending to maintain the database that will supply the "Chinese partner" with Dragonfly user data. Chinese authorities are well-known for routinely targeting critics, activists, and journalists.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

As soon as the memo got leaked, Google received tons of questions from news and media entitites.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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