GOOGLE CEO Sundar Pichai refused to answer a list of questions from U.S. lawmakers about company’s secretive plan for a censored search engine in China.
In a letter that is now published on Intercept (link below) the CEO refused to share specifics but would only claim broad benefits inside and outside of China, he stated he could not be more specific because it “remains unclear” whether the company “would or could release a search service” in the country.
Pichai’s letter contradicts company’s search engine chief, Ben Gomes, who informed staff during a private meeting that the company was aiming to release the platform in China between January and April 2019. Gomes told employees working on the Chinese search engine that they should get it ready to be “brought off the shelf and quickly deployed.”
According to sources and confidential Google documents, the search engine for China, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed to comply with the strict censorship regime imposed by China’s ruling Communist Party. It would restrict people’s access to broad categories of information, blacklisting phrases like “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize.”
The Chinese platform was designed to link people’s searches to their phone number, track their location, and then share that data with a Chinese partner company. This would make it easy to track individual users’ searches, raising concerns that any person in China using Google to seek out information banned by the government could be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain copies of their search records.
In his letter to the senators, dated August 31, Pichai did not mention the word “censorship”
Google now plans to take to the next level their experience and expertise with manipulating data, search and even the internet in the United States. This is just another example of their desire to feign transparency whilst being opaque and inveigling as only Google can be.