GOOGLE TO HELP STATE TRACK­ING

In the pro­posed Chi­nese ver­sion, any­way

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GOOGLE’S DRAG­ON­FLY PROJECT, its cus­tom­ized search en­gine for the Chi­nese mar­ket, con­tin­ues to at­tract con­tro­versy. The lat­est rev­e­la­tion is that the pro­to­type search en­gine links all en­quiries to user’s phone num­bers, so all searches are eas­ily linked to in­di­vid­u­als. It has also emerged that there are black­lists for cen­sor­ship (in­clud­ing knowl­edge on hu­man rights, and even “No­bel Prize”), as well as pro­vi­sion for fal­si­fied air pol­lu­tion re­sults.

The Chi­nese mar­ket is huge, and there­fore lu­cra­tive, but the cost of par­tic­i­pa­tion in­cludes an eth­i­cal el­e­ment that some find hard to swal­low, in­clud­ing many of Google’s own em­ploy­ees, hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions, and the White House (it has called for the project to be dropped). China is build­ing a sys­tem of cit­i­zen sur­veil­lance se­cond to none, and Google’s par­tic­i­pa­tion is start­ing to look less like a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity, and more like com­plic­ity in state con­trol. Google has been re­luc­tant to com­ment on Drag­on­fly, even to the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

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