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Google is developing a censored search engine for China

Google is said to be working on project Dragonfly which aims to bring the search back in China. The company is developing an engine that will blacklist websites and terms about human rights, democracy, religion and protests – all of them really sensitive topics in China. The project has been underway since the fall of 2017 and has been demonstrated to Chinese officials at CES in January.

According to internal documents, acquired by The Intercept, the final version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from the Chinese government. If the project goes through, the Mountain View company will bring its search back to China for the first time. Since more than 95% of people accessing internet in China use mobile devices, Google will launch the new product as an app before it arrives as a desktop platform.

The platform will work in quite a simple way, the documents say. Once the platform detects controversial keywords, it will filter and block websites that are currently prohibited from visiting in China, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and effectively all adult entertainment content. There will be a disclaimer stating some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements.

An inside source said only a few hundred members of the 88,000 employees know about this project and they are not authorized to contact the media. They revealed the reason for reaching out is moral and ethical concerns about Googles role in censorship, which is being planned with no public scrutiny.

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