Vice President Mike Pence urged Google on Thursday to end its notorious project Dragonfly, The Hill reports.
Google’s plan to develop a censored search engine in an effort to aid the communist government of China, code-named Dragonfly, was first revealed on August 1 by the Intercept.
Google’s willingness to aid the Chinese government was characterized as a maneuver that raises “urgent moral and ethical issues” by company employees, according to the New York Times.
Internal activism is merely part of a broader effort. Google’s project Dragonfly was criticized by Amnesty International, Access Now, Centre for Democracy and Technology, Article 19, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and other similar organizations.
In late September, as CNN reported, Google was questioned over reports to develop Dragonfly by members of the U.S. Senate.
Joining a bipartisan group of Senators, Vice President Mike Pence urged Google to end the project during a speech highly critical of China.
“Google should immediately end development of the Dragonfly app that will strengthen the Communist Party’s censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”
Pence’s comments come amid a rapidly escalating U.S.-China trade war, which seems to have transcended economy and trade, metamorphosing into a cold war of sorts, according to Asia Times, reminiscent of 20th-century geopolitical tensions between powers in the Western Block and powers in the Eastern Block.
Before singling out Google, Pence pointed out that some U.S. companies “think twice” before diving into the Chinese market, since the Chinese request they turn over their intellectual property, while others unhesitantly abet the communist government’s oppression.
“More business leaders are thinking beyond the next quarter, and thinking twice before diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing’s oppression. But more must follow suit,” Pence said.
VP Mike Pence: "Google should immediately end development of the Dragonfly app that will strengthen the Communist Party's censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers." pic.twitter.com/ZIAuaGzY4v— The Hill (@thehill) October 4, 2018
Responding to Pence’s comments, Google’s spokesperson told The Hill that the company has been “investing for many years to help Chinese users,” but added that their work on search has been “exploratory,” concluding that Google is “not close to launching a search product in China.”
While Google may not be “close” to launching a search product in China, the Chinese are penetrating the U.S. market; not Chinese companies, however, but the Chinese government.
As the Inquisitr reported late August, William Evanina, the U.S. counter-intelligence chief, said that that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials had discovered an elaborate Chinese LinkedIn operation. These social media operations are, however, considered to be merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Chinese government’s industrial espionage efforts.