“There is a Project Dragonfly”, Google’s chief privacy officer Keith Enright told a US Senate hearing, but he is “not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of the scope for that project”. The search engine destined to the Chinese market would be able to censure items deemed sensitive by Beijing. With 802 million internet users, China is the largest online community in the world.
Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) - For the first time, a senior Google official has admitted to the existence of Project Dragonfly, a search engine destined to the Chinese market and able to censure items deemed sensitive by Beijing.
“There is a Project Dragonfly”, Google’s chief privacy officer Keith Enright told a US Senate hearing, noting that he was “not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of the scope for that project”.
Project Dragonfly reportedly began in 2017 after a meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a senior Chinese government official.
Pichai himself had talked about the Chinese market in 2016 saying, “Google is for everyone. We want to be in China serving Chinese users.”
For now, the Big G has three offices in China with about 700 employees, even thought its greatest product - search engine - is not available in the country.
The search engine, for both computers and mobile devices, can block any online research of items such as human rights and religion.
Other issues sensitive for the Communist Party like Tibet, Xinjiang, Liu Xiaobo or Dalai Lama may also be automatically censored.
"“My understanding is that we’re not close to launching a search product in China, and whether we eventually could, or would, remains unclear,” Enright told US lawmakers.
With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is home to 802 million internet users, the biggest online community in the world.
Yet, the mainland Chinese market has been off-limits to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which are blocked in China.
Google exited the Chinese mainland in 2010 after clashing with Beijing over censorship of search results.