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Detailed look at Google's secret, censored, spying Chinese search tool

Published: September 27, 2018
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Source: Boing Boing

Jack Poulson is one of several googlers to quit the company over Project Dragonfly, the company's secret plan to launch a Chinese search tool that will incorporate state surveillance and censorship on behalf of China's authoritarian government.

Now, Poulson has sent a letter to the US Senate detailing the internal workings of Project Dragonfly, confirming that the tool is designed to block such queries as "student protest" and "Nobel prize," and to facilitate tracking users whose search history reveals an interest in politically sensitive topics.

Google confirmed that this product has been developed, but insisted that the product is "not close to launch."

The letter alleges Google is working on:

* A prototype interface designed to allow a Chinese joint venture company to search for a given user's search queries based on their phone number

* An extensive censorship blacklist developed in accordance with Chinese government demands. Among others, it contained the English term "human rights", the Mandarin terms for 'student protest' and 'Nobel prize', and very large numbers of phrases involving 'Xi Jinping' and other members of the CCP

* Explicit code to ensure only Chinese government-approved air quality data would be returned in response to Chinese users' search

Ex-Google employee warns of ‘disturbing’ China plans [Dave Lee/BBC]

Related Articles:

GOOGLE BOSSES HAVE forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned. The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, code-named Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data.

Google's Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company's return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like "human rights," "student protest" and "Nobel prize." Leaked details of Dragonfly, reported in The Intercept, paint a picture of a search tool that doesn't merely limit access to information, but also assists Chinese state agents in retaliating against people who sought access to banned information.

Two days ago, a source leaked the existence of "Project Dragonfly", a super-secret Google plan to create a censored search-tool for use in China. The Intercept's blockbuster scoop on the project caught Google's management flatfooted, with many of the key people involved off on summer holidays.

Google A.I. to write news articles: Technology will “auto-generate” graphics and video for stories. In a little noticed story in July of 2017, it was revealed that a Google grant of €706,000 was given to the United Kingdom’s Press Association to use artificial intelligence to write news articles.

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