Yesterday, Google employees have signed a petition protesting Google’s infamous Project Dragonfly. “We are Google employees and we join Amnesty International in calling on Google to cancel project Dragonfly”, they wrote on a post on Medium. This petition also marks the first time over 300 Google employees (at the time of writing this post) have used their actual names in a public document.
Project Dragonfly is the secretive search engine that Google is allegedly developing which will comply with the Chinese rules of censorship. It has been on the receiving end of constant backlash from various human rights organizations and investigative reporters, since it was revealed earlier this year. On Monday, it also faced critique from human rights organization Amnesty International. Amnesty launched a petition opposing the project, and coordinated protests outside Google offices around the world including San Francisco, Berlin, Toronto and London.
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) November 27, 2018
Yesterday, Google employees joined Amnesty and wrote an open letter to the firm.
“We are protesting against Google’s effort to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market that enables state surveillance. Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be. 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. Dragonfly would also enable censorship and government-directed disinformation, and destabilize the ground truth on which popular deliberation and dissent rely.”
Employees have expressed their disdain over Google’s decision by calling it a money-minting business. They have also highlighted Google’s previous disappointments including Project Maven, Dragonfly, and Google’s support for abusers, and believe that “Google is no longer willing to place its values above its profits. This is why we’re taking a stand.”
Google spokesperson has redirected to their previous response on the topic: “We’ve been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools. But our work on search has been exploratory, and we are not close to launching a search product in China.”
Twitterati have openly sided with Google employees in this matter.
At last count, 299 (and climbing) Google employees have signed a petition calling on their employer to stop working on censored search engines for China. No matter their rank or role, it’s a gutsy move of conviction that must be respected. @DropDragonfly https://t.co/MjPGjMCAg8
— David Ramli (@Davidramli) November 28, 2018
— Shabir Gilkar (@shabirgilkar) November 28, 2018
Kudos to the Google employees taking a stand against Google's plans roll out a censored search engine to China. Helping communist regimes oppress their people is not a valid way to generate profits. https://t.co/yOdgmI5OS2
— Nathan Rambeck (@nrambeck) November 27, 2018
Thank you to all you @Google employees bravely supporting @amnesty‘s campaign for Google to drop its plans for a censored search engine in China. We really value your support and stand with you! #DropDragonfly https://t.co/wtmodbsH1c
— Kumi Naidoo (@kuminaidoo) November 27, 2018