Google Employees Are Organizing to Protest ‘Dragonfly’

One last piece in today’s Dragonfly trifecta, this one from Carolin O’Donovan for BuzzFeed:

Google employees are demanding greater transparency from their employer and confronting management with their ethical concerns about a project named Dragonfly, a controversial censored search app for the Chinese market.

Employees are circulating a list of demands for the company in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News (posted in full, below), calling for an ethics review structure with rank-and-file employee representatives, the appointment of ombudspeople, and an ethical assessment of Google projects including Dragonfly and Maven, Google’s contract with the Pentagon to build AI-assisted drone technology.

“Many of us believe that Dragonfly poses a threat to freedom of expression and political dissent globally, and violates our AI principles,” two employees wrote in an email distributing the demand list.

I do see their point: Google’s current stance on China does give the company a certain moral high ground which they would cede if they go forward with Dragonfly. But as with Apple and the App Store in China, I ask this: if you lived in China, would you rather have access to a censored Google web search, or no access to Google search at all? I would prefer to have the censored Google search.

Friday, 17 August 2018