GOOGLE TO HELP STATE TRACKING
In the proposed Chinese version, anyway
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.