Washington, DEC 11: Google CEO Sundar Pichai is due to testify in front of Judiciary Committee over allegations of political bias in Google’s search algorithm. The tech giant also faces questions over its prototype search engine for the Chinese market codenamed ‘Project Dragonfly’.
International human rights organisations and investigative reporters have also sounded the alarm, emphasizing serious human rights concerns and repeatedly calling on Google to cancel the project. The plans, code-named Dragonfly, mark a U-Turn by Google, which pulled out of China in 2010 following cyberattacks by the Chinese government. It has since been vocal in its opposition to censorship in the country.
Google’s re-entry into the Chinese market has been tied to the potential to harness data in the region that can boost the company’s artificial intelligence capacity. There are currently more than 800m internet users in China, with a majority of users accessing online services through mobile devices.
In China, tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent have benefited from lax attitudes towards data privacy, giving the companies access to vast pools of data to build on their technologies through machine learning algorithms.
Earlier this week, Amnesty International launched petition calling on Google to cease its Dragonfly project.
"If Google is willing to trade human rights for profit in China, could they do the same in other countries," asks the petition. "Stand in solidarity with the staff members at Google who have protested the project and tell CEO Sundar Pichai to #DropDragonfly before it can be launched."
Amnesty is organizing demonstrations took place outside Google offices located in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Spain.
The latest rumblings among staff are not unusual within Google, which urges its employees to "bring your whole self to work" and share opinions.
In August, hundreds of Google workers demanded the Silicon Valley giant be more transparent in its plans to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, criticizing their employer for making decisions "in secret".
The internet censorship in china is among the most extensive in the world due to wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. More than sixty internet restriction have been created by the government of china, which have been implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, companies and organizations.
If Google launched search engine in China, Chinese government would be able to spy on Google’s user, people using Google in China would be blocked from accessing banned websites like Wikipedia and Facebook, content from search terms like “Human Rights” would be banned.
Due to this reasons, Disgruntled Google employees have published an open letter calling on the firm to cancel plans to build a censored search engine for China.