Google is crafting a search engine that would meet China’s draconian censorship rules, a company employee told AFP on Thursday, in a move decried by human rights activists.
Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and hacking but it is now working on a project for the country codenamed “Dragonfly”, the employee said on condition of anonymity.
The search project — which works like a filter that sorts out certain topics — can be tested within the company’s internal networks, the source said.
The news has caused anxiety within the company since it first emerged in US media reports on Wednesday, the employee said.
The tech giant had already come under fire this year from thousands of employees who signed a petition against a $10-million contract with the US military, which was not renewed.
“There’s a lot of angst internally. Some people are very mad we’re doing it,” the source said.
A Google spokesman declined to confirm or deny the existence of the project.
“We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com,” spokesman Taj Meadows told AFP.
“But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans.”
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