Jack Poulson, a senior research scientist at Google, has quit the company in protest over the tech titan’s development of a censored search engine for China, claiming it represents a “forfeiture of our values.”
According to the Intercept, Poulson “raised concerns with his managers at Google after the Intercept revealed that the Internet giant was secretly developing a Chinese search app for Android devices.”
“After entering into discussions with his bosses, Poulson decided in mid-August that he could no longer work for Google. He tendered his resignation and his last day at the company was August 31,” they reported, adding that he is possibly one of five employees to leave the company in protest.
In his resignation letter, Poulson claimed he was leaving to “avoid contributing to” the “erosion of protection for dissidents.”
“Due to my conviction that dissent is fundamental to functioning democracies, I am forced to resign in order to avoid contributing to, or profiting from, the erosion of protection for dissidents,” he declared. “I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe… There is an all-too-real possibility that other nations will attempt to leverage our actions in China in order to demand our compliance with their security demands.”
Poulson also claimed he was shocked that few Google employees had chosen to resign in protest, expressing, “It’s incredible how little solidarity there is on this… It is my understanding that when you have a serious ethical disagreement with an issue, your proper course of action is to resign.”
According to reports, Google’s censored Chinese search engine, which has been in development since Spring 2017, “will blacklist access to certain websites and restrict search terms related to human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest.”