Google has created a prototype of a censored search engine for China, which links users ‘ search queries with their personal phone numbers, thereby facilitating the Chinese government to track people’s requests and to intercept information about them.
Search engine codenamed Dragonfly was developed for Android devices, it will remove the content deemed sensitive to the regime of the ruling Communist party of China. For example, there will not be able to find information on political dissidents, freedom of speech, democracy, human rights and peaceful protests. According to The Intercept, Google made the black list, which included terms such as “human rights”, “student protest” and “Nobel prize”.
Leading human rights groups criticized the Dragonfly, stating that it could lead to the fact that the company “contributes directly or [becoming] complicit in human rights violations”. The main concern expressed by groups, is that in addition to censorship, user data stored by Google on the Chinese mainland can be made available to the Chinese authorities, which are aimed at political activists and journalists.
Sources familiar with the project said that the prototype search system associated search app on Android smartphone user with my phone number. This means that searches of individuals can be easily performed, and any user who is seeking information prohibited by the government could potentially be under the threat of interrogation or detention.
One of the sources in Google also noted that the company is working closely with the government of China, and even built a system integrated in the Dragonfly, which was “hard-coded to show the Chinese data is real. For example the level of pollution in Beijing.”
Google still refused to publicly Express concerns about China’s plans to censor the service and did not respond to a request for comment. The company also refused to cooperate with human rights groups against the Dragonfly, ignoring journalists ‘ questions and giving back the United States Senate.