It seems a week doesn’t go by without Google employees protesting against the firm they work for; today a group of employees joined with Amnesty International to tell the search giant to cancel project Dragonfly, the firm’s effort to create a search product for users in China. Critics of the project have highlighted that the product incorporates censorship and enables state surveillance.
In the letter from Google Employees Against Dragonfly, employees of Google wrote:
“Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be. The Chinese government certainly isn’t alone in its readiness to stifle freedom of expression, and to use surveillance to repress dissent. Dragonfly in China would establish a dangerous precedent at a volatile political moment, one that would make it harder for Google to deny other countries similar concessions.”
The employees teamed up with Amnesty International, a human rights organisation. Joe Westby, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Technology and Human Rights, said:
“This is a watershed moment for Google. As the world’s number one search engine, it should be fighting for an internet where information is freely accessible to everyone, not backing the Chinese government’s dystopian alternative.”
It’s not clear which direction Google will take now; previously, employees protested Google’s involvement with the Pentagon’s Project Maven and consequently the search giant pulled out of the contract bidding process. Following the publication of this letter, Google has only said that its Dragonfly project is only exploratory and that it’s not close to launching a search product in China.