Over 30 Google employees have joined together to protest the company’s plan to establish a search engine that meets the terms of China’s censorship system. Before the petition made its way to the public for the first time, the employee-led repercussion objecting to the project has been already stirring up for several months.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, confirmed the existence of the project code-named Dragonfly. Pichai said that the huge corporation could help Chinese internet users search more information on the internet such as health treatments or how to steer away from scams. This is even though China has long blocked search queries because it was considered politically sensitive material.
However, project Dragonfly has drawn a lot of critics that question Google’s corporate ethics and standards and have also lifted up some concerns about the consequences of tech companies that cooperate with oppressive or dictatorial governments.
The petition says, “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.”
“Many of us accepted employment with the company’s values in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and an understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits.”
“After a year of disappointments including Project Maven, Dragonfly, and Google’s support for abusers, we no longer believe this is the case.”
A spokesperson from the search engine states that the company’s work on search tool has been explanatory and that launching a product from the project Dragonfly is not close to reality as of now.
Two among the original signers of the public letter belongs to a core group of organizers that is directly linked with the international walkout of the company’s employees. Many noticed that in the past year, the tech industry specifically the Google employees have shown an extraordinary level of labor organizing. This includes employees protesting about workplace issues along with diversity and divisive company business contracts.
After the massive walkouts of employees, Google made some changes particularly to its misconduct and sexual harassment policies.