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Google CEO Tells Staff China Plans Are ‘Exploratory’ After Backlash

19 August 2018

"I genuinely do believe we have a positive impact when we engage around the world and I don't see any reason why that would be different in China", Pichai said.

But the project is shrouded in secrecy, and employees are demanding transparency. But plans to engineer a censored version of its services for China have got Google staff up in arms, with employees questioning the morality of the endeavour.

"Dragonfly and Google's return to China raise urgent moral and ethical issues".

Amnesty International called it "a dark day for the internet" if Google chose to push through its plans. And so far, there's no indication that they have - the company declined the Times' request to comment on the letter.

As expected, Google's own employees aren't happy with the company's decision.

The Intercept's report stated that Google had diverted resources to create custom apps for China, which had been demonstrated to the members of the Chinese government.

CNN reports that during a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai assured many anxious employees that the company is "not close" to launching a censored search product in China. It has said in the past that it will not comment on Dragonfly or "speculation about future plans". Google management and employees have long shared ideas and information without it showing up in news publications, which makes the Thursday incident unusual. At the time, Chinese internet users marked the loss of Google's search engine by laying flowers at the company's Beijing offices in what became known as an "illegal flower tribute".

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 United States military, which was not renewed. Google now has more than 700 employees in China.

TAKING A STAND. Apparently, Google employees were not happy to hear about Dragonfly. The government would have to approve its return and it has kept USA technology firms like Facebook at arm's length, opting instead to work closely with homegrown internet behemoths. Google pulled its servers from mainland China in 2010 over concerns with government censorship, a decision Brin primarily drove. If the censored search engine were to come to fruition, it would mark a u-turn for Google, which severed ties with China eight years ago in opposition to the country's stringent censorship laws.

The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google.

Google CEO Tells Staff China Plans Are ‘Exploratory’ After Backlash