Report: Google reduced an explosive memo about its Chinese online search engine

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California

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Google head office in Mountain View, California.

Stephen Shankland/ CNET.

Every time we hear a brand-new report about Google’s declared censored online search engine for China, it sounds more damning. Now, The Intercept is reporting that Google attempted– and obviously, stopped working– to reduce a memo that might have exposed how that online search engine might have enabled the Chinese federal government to track those people who utilized it.

According to the report, the so-called Dragonfly online search engine would need Chinese people to visit to carry out searches, track their physical place, and after that share all of its information with a Chinese partner business that might probably share it with the Chinese federal government. The business would supposedly have “unilateral access” to the information. That may likewise probably consist of Chinese people’ telephone number, as explained in an earlier Intercept report.

Plus, that Chinese business would supposedly have the ability to separately include brand-new words to the blacklist of searches to be censored, according to today’s report.

Here’s how Google is supposedly attempting to reduce the memo:

Google personnels workers emailed staff members who were thought to have actually accessed or conserved copies of the memo and bought them to instantly erase it from their computer systems. Emails requiring removal of the memo consisted of “pixel trackers” that informed personnel supervisors when their messages had actually read, receivers figured out.

You might observe a great deal of “may” and “could” and “report” in the paragraphs above, given that Google still hasn’t verified that such a job even existed, much less how it may work– all Google has actually openly stated is that it’s “not close to launching a search product in China,” and it deserves keeping in mind that reports recommend the online search engine is presently a model.

Google decreased to validate or reject the report, however here’s its existing declaration to CNET: “We’ve been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools. But our work on search has been exploratory, and we are not close to launching a search product in China.”

At least 1,000 staff members have actually opposed the presence of such a job, according to The New York Times, and The Intercept and Buzzfeed report that some staff members have actually resigned in demonstration. The demonstration and resignations echo ones around Google’s Project Maven drone work for the United States Department of Defense.

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Notably, The Intercept reports that the memo was written by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the Dragonfly project. It’s not clear if the employees who initially protested had reason to believe any of the alleged details above.

Though The Intercept’s report also dives into how some employees are concerned about Google keeping controversial projects a secret, Google tells CNET that its teams need to be able to work on some projects confidentially, particularly when they’re in early exploratory stages — but generally shares as much as possible with employees and lets them give feedback on most products before they’re released. 

You can find more alleged Dragonfly details, such as the number of employees allegedly working on the project, at The Intercept.

Update, 12:51 p.m. PT and 1:26 p.m. PT: With Google’s comments.