Google Staff demand more oversight of search engine plan in China

Vastavam web: Google’s plan to launch a censored search engine in China requires more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” hundreds of employees at the Alphabet Inc unit said in an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing two people familiar with the matter.After employees petitioned this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the U.S. military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.

The latest petition says employees are concerned the China project, codenamed Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Company executives have declined to comment publicly on Dragonfly. They are expected to face questions about the project during a weekly employee town hall discussion on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said. It will be the first such meeting since details about Dragonfly were leaked.Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.

The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating row with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large U.S. firms.