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China’s Great Firewall For Google Kills Internet freedom

04 August, 2018, 22:26 | Author: Arnold Gilbert
  • Report: Google's Plan to Launch Censored Search Engine in China Revealed

Alphabet Inc's Google is planning a censored version of its search engine for China that will block websites and certain search terms, The Intercept reported on Wednesday citing internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

The news outlet says Google has been working on a project called Dragonfly since a year ago and has demonstrated a version of the censored search engine to Chinese officials. Separately, a Chinese official with knowledge of the plans said that Google has been in contact with authorities at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) about a modified search program.

China is known for imposing censorship on internet related content.

Also, blacklisted words and phrases used in queries with the Chinese Google version won't return any results.

As mentioned earlier the censorship will be applicable on all the extensions of Google search which will include images, keyword recommendations, spell check along with suggested searches.

Only a few hundred Google employees know about the modified search engine, according to The Intercept's sources.

The project is a code named "Dragonfly" and has been underway since the spring of 2017, the news website said.

In December, Google announced it would open a new artificial intelligence research centre in Beijing. Google did operate in China briefly but in 2010 it pulled out citing surveillance and hacking from the Chinese government.

Google had been criticised for complying with the censorship regime in 2006 when a congressional hearing was told the company was a functionary of the Chinese government and accused of abhorrent actions.

In 2016, after taking over as Google's new CEO the previous October, Pinchai said at a conference in California, "I care about servicing users globally in every corner". Reports of its possible re-entry spurred a strong reaction on Chinese social media outlets on Wednesday evening, including debates over the merits of a censored search engine versus accessing the U.S. version through illegal virtual private networks.

The Intercept has internal documents from a whistleblower that show Google has developed the censored version, codenamed Dragonfly, since early previous year.

"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".

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