Google’s development of Project Dragonfly Sparks Employee Kickback

Project Dragonfly

Google is experiencing some internal strife due to the development of Project Dragonfly, a censored search engine app for China. Over a thousand employees expressed their concerns on the project and question whether it meets Google’s ethical guidelines. The Project Dragonfly has been a closely guarded secret with only a select number of engineers developing the platform. Once information about the project leaked, an internal communication signed by 1,400 employees was sent to Google executives regarding the “moral and ethical issues” of the project. Dragonfly has also drawn criticism from human rights group for its intent of facilitating the Chinese government’s restriction on information.

The Chinese government implemented a series of legislatures and technologies known as ‘The Great Firewall of China’ that block Chinese users from accessing blacklisted resources from the web. One of these blocked resources includes Google’s search engine. Google has already tried to implement its search engine in China back in 2006 while at the same time enforcing the country’s censorship guidelines. This resulted in massive backlash from both the public and the American government. In the end, Google removed its search engine services from China in 2010.

Project Dragonfly’s existence was revealed in a report done by the Intercept through internal Google memo’s and individuals with knowledge on the project. The goal of the project is to grant Google access to the Chinese market by creating a search engine that works in tandem and abides by the restrictions set by the Chinese government. The confidential memos state project Dragonfly will automatically filter out results, or display none altogether, for search queries blacklisted by the Great Firewall. Currently, Dragonfly’s development is focused on a search engine app for Android; it is unknown if a desktop version will be created.

Google’s, now unofficial, motto is “Don’t Be Evil”, and many employees in the company take this mantra to heart. China has long been denounce by human rights group for censoring information in its media outlets. It is easy to understand why Google employees would feel apprehensive about this venture. On the other hand, from a stakeholder’s perspective, the move to enter the Chinese market can be an extremely profitable one.

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  1. […] previously stated, project Dragonfly is a search engine app for android that will comply with the Chinese […]


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