Google leak reveals secret China plans for censored search …

Google is secretly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China within the next year, a leaked transcript seems to reveal.

According to The Intercept, Google’s search engine chief Ben Gomes held a meeting in July to discuss the progress of a new search engine, dubbed Project Dragonfly.

The platform would blacklist words and phrases like “human rights,” “Nobel Prize,” and “student protest,” in order to conform with China’s strict censorship laws.

“You have taken on something extremely important to the company,” Mr Gomes told the Google employees, according to the transcript obtained by the publication.

“I have to admit it has been a difficult journey. But I do think a very important and worthwhile one. And I wish ourselves the best of luck in actually reaching our destination as soon as possible.”

The tech giant has not publicly admitted the existence of the project but hundreds of Google employees have signed a letter demanding more transparency surrounding Dragonfly.

Many of Google’s apps and services – including Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps – are blocked in China, as well as other popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

By complying with Google’s censorship rules in order have the block lifted, the letter signed by Google employees states that it raises “urgent moral and ethical issues.”

The US government is also weary of Google’s plans, with US Vice President Mike Pence recently calling on Google to stop working on a censored Chinese search engine.

“Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers,” Pence said in remarks on the Trump Administrations’ policy towards China.

According to the leaked transcript, the launch of the search engine is planned for early next year. 

“While we are saying it’s going to be six and nine months [to launch], the world is a very dynamic place,” Mr Gomes said.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

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