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Google plans to launch censored search engine in China

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, The Intercept reported, prompting pushback from some of its employees.

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Published with permission by Knowhere News

Google is reportedly creating an application that “will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable,” according to a report from The Intercept published Wednesday.

Google’s search services have been blocked in China since 2010 after the company refused to accept the government’s censorship demands and after suffering from hacks that attempted to reveal the identity of Chinese dissidents. Google’s website is now blocked by China’s country-wide internet censors.

The company took a strong stand at the time against the Chinese government’s surveillance tactics, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who was born in the Soviet Union, criticized the “forces of authoritarianism” present in China.

Brin has since turned over day-to-day control of the company to CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai said in 2016 that “Google is for everyone,” and “We want to be in China serving Chinese users.”

Pichai previously appeared to give in to pressure from Google employees who objected to a separate project regarding the use of artificial intelligence for weapons. Meredith Whittaker, a high-profile Google researcher, said on Twitter the search giant’s move in China could violate an aspect of that agreement by “enabling mass politically-directed censorship of (AI-enabled) search.”

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