Google has to hit the brakes on censored Dragonfly project
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA — Google's lame idea to create a censored search engine for the Chinese authoritarian regime might have hit a bit of a snag after the company's privacy team raised internal complaints about being kept in the dark.
According to the Intercept, the spat began in mid-August when it was revealed that Google employees working on Dragonfly had been using a Beijing-based website to develop blacklists approved by the Chinese dictatorship.
Google bought Beijing-based website 265.com in 2008 and had been using it to study Chinese users' search habits.
Data pulled from 265.com was integral in the design of Dragonfly.
Members of Google privacy team, however, were not told about the use of 265.com, which was a serious breach of company protocol.
Normally, studying people's search habits is subject to tight constraints and should be reviewed by the company's privacy department, who are tasked with protecting user rights.
However, the privacy team only found out about the 265.com data usage from an Intercept report.
Following several meetings, Dragonfly engineers were told to stop using 265.com data, which has had severe consequences for the censored search engine.
For now it looks like Google will have to hit the brakes before it can start doing Beijing's bidding.
That's too bad for Google, because who wouldn't want to help the CCP throw innocent Chinese people in jail for using the damn internet—sorry, INTRANET!?