Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

U.S. lawmakers ask Google if it will rejoin Chinese market

U.S. lawmakers ask Google if it will rejoin Chinese market

Over 1,700 Google employees have now signed onto a letter circulating internally calling on leadership to provide more information to employees to make "ethically informed decisions" about what they do at the company.

Last month, Google was pressured by a consortium of human rights groups to abandon the search engine, which would be app-based and censored at the behest of the Chinese government.

Google has been under intense scrutiny in the U.S. ever since the report suggesting that the company was working on a censored version of its search engine in China-Project Dragonfly- hit the headlines.

"I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe", Poulson told Google bosses in his resignation letter.

"Unfortunately, the virtually unanimous response over the course of three very vocal weeks of escalation was: 'I don't know either, '" Poulson reportedly said.

In a statement to Fox News at the time of the letter, Google said it has "been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go and our developer tools".

The search engine giant had launched a search engine in China in 2006 but pulled the service out of the country in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech and block websites.

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The letter reportedly asked if Google would "ensure that individual Chinese citizens or foreigners living in China, including Americans, will not be surveilled or targeted through Google applications".

"The search system, code-named Dragonfly, was created to remove content that China's authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest".

Other signers include Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. It also comes ahead of Google's appearance at a September 26 US Senate panel, where it will face questioning over privacy issues.

Per NBC, "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said on Tuesday that Google would be invited to testify on a number of issues".

However, Pichai has said he wants Google to be in China serving its internet users.

The reported plans, which has been criticized by human rights advocates, come as China has stepped up scrutiny of business dealings involving US tech firms including Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O), amid intensifying trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

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