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posted by martyb on Sunday September 23 2018, @06:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the Quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes? dept.

Google has been aggressively suppressing an internal memo that shared details of Dragonfly, a censored search engine for China that would also track users:

Google bosses have forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned. The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have "unilateral access" to the data.

The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China's authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained "pixel trackers" that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined.

[...] Google reportedly maintains an aggressive security and investigation team known as "stopleaks," which is dedicated to preventing unauthorized disclosures. The team is also said to monitor internal discussions. Internal security efforts at Google have ramped up this year as employees have raised ethical concerns around a range of new company projects. Following the revelation by Gizmodo and The Intercept that Google had quietly begun work on a contract with the military last year, known as Project Maven, to develop automated image recognition systems for drone warfare, the communications team moved swiftly to monitor employee activity. The "stopleaks" team, which coordinates with the internal Google communications department, even began monitoring an internal image board used to post messages based on internet memes, according to one former Google employee, for signs of employee sentiment around the Project Maven contract.

Eric Schmidt has predicted that there will be two distinct "Internets" within the decade, with one led by China:

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China. Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked about the possibility of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations and limited access between them in coming years. "What's the chance, say, 10 to 15 years, we have just three to four separate internets?"

Also at CNBC and The Washington Post.

Previously: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
Uproar at Google after News of Censored China Search App Breaks
"Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project

Related: In Snowden's Wake, Calls for Balkanized Internet Present More Harm than Good
China Begins Enforcing Internet Real-Name Policy

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  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by aristarchus on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:14AM (5 children)

    by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:14AM (#738796) Journal

    Soylentnews doesn't censor. That is what the moderation system is for.

    Yes, but you know what happens to those people whose job it is to filter such filth as this? It is like cops, who see people at their worst, and come to expect the worst, and so become the worst. Why traumatize Soylentils with the responsibility of deep-sixing mr. snuff woose? I think there is no "speech" being censored, just some sicko being denied a platform. Speaking of which, without censorship, could we not do the same with TMB? A limit on journals? Or, perhaps, TMB is our serial "True Detective" author? Of course, we would have to ask TMB to check this out for us.

    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:38PM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:38PM (#738822) Journal
    And you exhibit the key peril of censorship, the ever-expanding scope. There's always more targets that need the iron fist.
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @05:52PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @05:52PM (#738908)

      The first one is always the most difficult.

      There's always more targets

      Since SN has successfully silenced aristarchus, what would a few more be? For the sake of freedom, and being able to be on the new ChinaNet!

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by khallow on Monday September 24 2018, @01:28PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @01:28PM (#739158) Journal

        Since SN has successfully silenced aristarchus

        Premise isn't true.

  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @01:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @01:29PM (#738832)

    Presented without comment:

    Speaking of which, without censorship, could we not do the same with TMB? A limit on journals?


  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @11:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @11:35PM (#739000)

    Meh. This is nothing compared to my childhood.