DHARAMSALA, August 4: US senators from both sides of the aisle have heavily criticised Google over reports it is developing a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese market.
Condemning Google over its planned censored search engine in China, Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Bob Menendez of New Jersey have written a letter a to the Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai demanded details on Google’s push into China.
“If true, this reported plan is deeply troubling and risks making Google complicit in human rights abuses related to China’s rigorous censorship regime,” read the letter written by six US senators from both sides of the aisle.
“We appreciate your prompt reply to this inquiry, including any views that you are prepared to share as to how this reported development can be reconciled with Google’s unofficial motto, ‘Don’t be evil,” the letter concludes.
According to the report, in response to the letter from the senators, Google has said that it declines to comment on speculation about its future plans.
Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google is secretly planning a relaunch in China with a censored version of its search engine, the Intercept reported on Aug 1, citing internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.
The project –code-named Dragonfly will censor websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, the report noted.
Google’s plan to relaunch in China with a censored search engine has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, the report said citing its sources.
Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago in 2010, due to censorship, hacking and in protest of China’s human rights violations.