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Google employees are eventually denied China efforts



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Google employees protest their efforts to enter the Chinese market.


Claudia Cruz / CNET

Google employees are pleased with the search giant's efforts to enter China, and they protest, according to news sites published Thursday.

The company has been heavily investigated since The Intercept reported last month on Google's plans to build a censored search engine for China eight years after returning home from the country. At the time of departure, Google founder Sergey Brin, who grew up in the Soviet Union, sees "totalitarianism" of Chinese politics.

The new search project, allegedly named Dragonfly, has also drawn criticism from Google's workforce. About 1

,000 employees signed an open letter asking the company to be transparent about the project and to create an ethical review process for what includes rank and file employees, not just senior executives.

Now, some employees seem to go to the next level by leaving the company completely. This includes Jack Poulson, senior researcher who worked on Google for more than two years, according to articles from The Intercept and BuzzFeed. He was previously an assistant math professor at Stanford, according to his LinkedIn profile, and resigned from Google on 31 August.

At least six other employees have also resigned over Dragonfly, according to BuzzFeed. A list of the employee's name has been circulating through the company's internal communication systems, "said the report.

Poulson did not immediately return a request for comment. A Google spokeswoman refused to comment, said in the statement: "It is our policy not to comment on some employees."

She also pointed to a previous statement about the company's efforts in China, stressing that a launch is not imminent. "We have invested for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps like Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools," said spokeswoman. "But our search has been exploring, and we are not close to launching a search product in China."

The reported redundancies illustrate a changing cultural environment at Google, where employees have been more prominent, publicly challenging strategy set by the company's leadership.

It's the second time in recent months that Google employees have resigned in protest over one of the Company's projects. Earlier this year, thousands of Project Maven protested, a drone initiative for the US government that could force their AI research. About a dozen employees stopped saying over the initiative.

According to The Intercept, Poulson said in his letter of departure that he was not only worried about censorship, but China's prospects were with consumer data, where it could be reached to go for political activists and journalists.

"Because of my conviction that disagreement is crucial for functioning democracies, I have to withdraw to avoid contributing to or taking advantage of the erosion of protection for dissidents," he wrote.

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