FORMER GOOGLE CEO Eric Schmidt has defended the company’s plan to build a censored version of its search engine in China.
In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Schmidt said that he wasn’t involved in decisions to build the censored search platform, code-named Dragonfly. But he insisted that there were “many benefits” to working with China and said he was an advocate of operating in the country because he believed that it could “help change China to be more open.”
As The Intercept first revealed in August, Google developed a prototype of the censored search engine that was designed to remove content that China’s ruling Communist Party regime deems sensitive. The search engine would have blacklisted thousands of words and phrases, including terms such as “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin.
The revelations prompted a wave of protests inside and outside of Google, with employees, activists, and prominent lawmakers demanding an end to the project. Google subsequently stated that it had ceased work on Dragonfly and moved employees to new projects.
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