Google plans to build a censored search engine for China, and condemnation is coming swift and hard from politicians, Google users, and even some Google employees. The country's entire internet is effectively "surrounded" by its Great Firewall of China, a joint effort by the state and tech and telecommunications companies to censor the web in accordance with Chinese law.
The Google project, codenamed Dragonfly, has been in development since Spring of 2017, and was accelerated in December 2017, following a meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and top Chinese government officials. For example, it insisted past year that it wasn't blocking VPNs, which are now one of the few options for Chinese citizens who want to bypass the Great Firewall. However, it looks as though Google is now willing to accept censorship in return for access.More news: 8 states sue Trump administration over 3D-printed gun instructions
"Google is waking up to smell the coffee", said Andy Mok, founder and president of Beijing-based consultancy Red Pagoda Resources LLC. "I'm committed to engaging more in China", he said.
China already has well-developed Google alternatives, most notably Baidu, a company that has thrived without having to worry about the Silicon Valley giant as a competitor.
According to internal documents, acquired by The Intercept, the final version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from the Chinese government.
Separately, a Chinese official with knowledge of the plans said that Google has been in contact with authorities at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) about a modified search program. A few years later, Google corrected that error and stopped censoring results in China, leading to the site mostly being blocked by China's Great Firewall.More news: Only 1 Military Dog Tag Included in North Korea Remains
In 2010, the company announced it would cease all operations in China, explaining it could not be involved in censorship.
China has also seen increased affluence among its consumers, which are quick to embrace innovative new technologies and services.
Wang told HKFP: "Google has also not explained how it plans to protect users from surveillance given China's Cybersecurity Law passed in 2016, which requires companies to restrict online anonymity..."
Google had previously operated in China with a censored version of a search engine in 2006 to 2010, but pulled out of the country after facing political backlash in the US.More news: North part of Mendocino Complex of Fires was very active Wednesday
According to a report in The Intercept, Google is going to formally re-enter the Chinese search market. Google has been making a series of strategic investments into Chinese businesses as a way to indirectly gain access to one of the world's largest markets, but now may be taking a more direct approach. In a congressional hearing that year on the activities of USA technology companies in China, Google was called a "functionary of the Chinese government".
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