Google’s rumoured prototype version of a censored search engine for China codenamed ‘Dragonfly’ links users’ search queries to their personal phone numbers, reveals The Intercept report. According to the report, this is likely to make things easier for the Chinese government to keep an eye on what users are searching.
Google’s Chinese search engine was reportedly designed for Android devices and it would pull the plug on content considered sensitive by China’s ruling party. For example, information pertaining to free speech, democracy, human rights etc.
According to the report citing sources familiar with the project, this search engine will supposedly be operated in collaboration with a company based in mainland China. People working for this joint venture might update the search term blacklists, further raising questions about Google’s control over the whole operation in China.
Sources told The Intercept that ‘Dragonfly’ has seemingly been tailored in order to replace certain information such as weather and air pollution data with “the data provided directly by an unnamed source in Beijing.”
The report further cited a source who raised concerns that Dragonfly is likely to provide users with false pollution data. Google has so far declined come out publicly to address concerns about the Chinese censorship plans.
Previously, Google chief Sundar Pichai was reportedly questioned by six US senators on the company’s rumoured plan to release censored search engine in China. In 2010, Google had refused to yield to Chinese censorship on ethical grounds.