Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Google Is Reportedly Working On A Censored Search Engine For China

Google Is Reportedly Working On A Censored Search Engine For China Google Is Reportedly Working On A Censored Search Engine For China
Pete Mitchell | 04 August, 2018, 17:49

Google, which in 2010 left the search engine business in China, has recently been seeking ways of re-entering China where several products it has are blocked by Beijing regulators.

The move could mark Google's return to a market that it abandoned more than eight years ago because of concerns over censorship.

Google pulled out of China in 2010 after criticism from civil rights groups and the U.S. government for censoring results leaving the market to Baidu.

Based on fears that it could be eventually approved, the stock of Baidu, the company that filled Google's search engine void when it left China in 2010, plunged 7.7 percent, according to TechNode.

The Intercept reported that the work has been ongoing since the spring of 2017 and was accelerated in December following a meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a top government official in China. In essence, it will be blacklisting certain websites and search terms regarding democracy, human rights, religion, and more.

A Google spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the company "does not comment on speculation about future plans". "In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory".

The initiative would represent the first time in nearly a decade that Google has operated its search engine in the country, whose Great Firewall now blocks its service.

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The company made a decision to quicken the development of a censored search service after Pichai met with top government official Wang Huning in December 2017, the Intercept reported. The Intercept says that a finalized mobile search app "could be launched in the next six to nine months".

We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement...

The Chinese version had already been demonstrated to Chinese government officials, who keep a tight lid on a wide variety of information, especially if it's critical of the government.

The company finally agreed to remove some content from serving up in the search results on google.cn to adhere to local law and continue operating in China.

"Yet the existence of the project does not mean that Google's return to China is imminent, the [two people with knowledge of the plans] cautioned".

Google did operate in the country from 2006 to 2010, when it also agreed to the local censorship laws, facing harsh criticism from USA officials. Knowing the personal effects that censorship can leave behind, Brin hoped to see a "more open internet", instead of allowing information to be withheld. The tech giant has reportedly created an Android app catering to the country's censorship laws, different versions of which are called "Maotai" and "Longfei". "They won't help ⁦Department of Defense⁩ keep us safe but they will help China suppress the truth?"

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