Amnesty International is reportedly organizing mass protests against Google over the company’s development of a censored Chinese search app, code-named” Project Dragonfly.”
According to the Intercept, Amnesty International “will stage demonstrations outside Google offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Spain.”
In a blog post this week, Amnesty International called for a “global day of action” against Google over its partnership with the Chinese government, and claimed it “is reaching out to the company’s staff through protests outside Google offices and targeted messages on LinkedIn calling on them to sign the petition.”
“This is a watershed moment for Google. As the world’s number one search engine, it should be fighting for an internet where information is freely accessible to everyone, not backing the Chinese government’s dystopian alternative,” declared Amnesty International researcher Joe Westby. “Many of Google’s own staff have spoken out against these plans, unwilling to play a role in the Chinese government’s manipulation of information and persecution of dissidents. Their courageous and principled stance puts Google’s leadership to shame.”
“Today we are standing with Google staff and asking them to join us in calling on Sundar Pichai to drop Project Dragonfly and reaffirm Google’s commitment to human rights,” Westby continued. “Google needs to stop equivocating and make a decision. Will it defend a free and open internet for people globally? Or will it help create a world where some people in some countries are shut out from the benefits of the internet and routinely have their rights undermined online?”
“If Google is happy to capitulate to the Chinese government’s draconian rules on censorship, what’s to stop it cooperating with other repressive governments who control the flow of information and keep tabs on their citizens?” he concluded. ” As a market leader, Google knows its actions will set a precedent for other tech companies. Sundar Pichai must do the right thing and drop Project Dragonfly for good.”
In the open letter which has been signed by at least 60 Google insiders, the employees called upon Google to end Project Dragonfly.
“We are Google employees and we join Amnesty International in calling on Google to cancel project Dragonfly, Google’s effort to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market that enables state surveillance,” the letter declared. “We are among thousands of employees who have raised our voices for months. International human rights organizations and investigative reporters have also sounded the alarm, emphasizing serious human rights concerns and repeatedly calling on Google to cancel the project. So far, our leadership’s response has been unsatisfactory.”
Many of us accepted employment at Google with the company’s values in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and an understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits. After a year of disappointments including Project Maven, Dragonfly, and Google’s support for abusers, we no longer believe this is the case. This is why we’re taking a stand.
We join with Amnesty International in demanding that Google cancel Dragonfly. We also demand that leadership commit to transparency, clear communication, and real accountability. Google is too powerful not to be held accountable. We deserve to know what we’re building and we deserve a say in these significant decisions.
Google management has not commented on the protest.