I Quit Google Over Its Censored Chinese Search Engine. The Company Needs to Clarify Its Position on Human Rights. ( theintercept.com )

A woman and her child play on a Google sign at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Sept. 26, 2018.

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

John Hennessy, the chair of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., was recently asked whether Google providing a search engine in China that censored results would provide a net benefit for Chinese users. “I don’t know the answer to that. I think it’s — I think it’s a legitimate question,” he responded. “Anybody who does business in China compromises some of their core values. Every single company, because the laws in China are quite a bit different than they are in our own country.”

Hennessy’s remarks were in relation to Project Dragonfly, a once-secret project within Google to build a version of its search engine that meets the demands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party — namely, that Google proactively censor “sensitive” speech and comply with China’s data provenance and surveillance laws.

I worked as a research scientist at Google when Dragonfly was revealed — including to most Google employees — and resigned in protest after a month of internally fighting for clarification.

I worked as a research scientist at Google when Dragonfly was revealed — including to most Google employees — and resigned in protest after a month of internally fighting for clarification. That’s part of why I object to this constant drift of conversations about Dragonfly from concrete, indefensible details toward the vague language of difficult compromise.

When news of Dragonfly first broke on August 1, a Google staff member who had secretly worked on Dragonfly took to the company-only Google Plus forum. The language was clear: “In my opinion it is just as bad

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