Google is reportedly planning to re-launch its search engine in China, complete with censored results to meet the demands of the Chinese government. The company originally shut down its Chinese search engine in 2010, citing government attempts to “limit free speech on the web.” But, according to a report from The Intercept, the US tech giant now wants to return to the world’s biggest single market for internet users. According to internal documents provided to The Intercept by a whistleblower, Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename Dragonfly since the beginning of 2017. The search engine is being built as an Android mobile app, and will reportedly filter out all websites blocked by China’s web censors (including Wikipedia and BBC News) as well as “blacklist sensitive queries.” The internet in China is heavily censored, with the country’s so-called Great Firewall stopping citizens from accessing many foreign websites. Information on topics including religion, police brutality, freedom of speech and democracy are censored, as are specific search topics like the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and Taiwanese independence. Advocacy groups report that censorship in the country has increased under President Xi Jinping, extended far beyond the web to social media and chat apps. The whistleblower who spoke to The Intercept said that they were “against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people,” and suggested that “what is done in China will become a template for many other nations.” Patrick Poon, a… [Read full story]
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