A new report by The Intercept claims that Google is re-staffing its office in Cairo, Egypt, in the wake of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seizing power in 2014 and a string of abuses by his government aimed at dissidents and activists. The government reportedly fuels these abuses using both mass and targeted internet surveillance, as well as by blocking specific internet channels, such as news, blogging websites, and human rights.
As they were when it was revealed Google planned to create a censored search engine for China, human rights activists are concerned with the company’s presence in Egypt. They believe that this presence could expose Google to pressure from the Egyptian government, which is notoriously hostile to human rights activists and journalists.
“Re-opening an office in Egypt when the government is aggressively asking other internet companies to provide disproportionate access to their data sounds alarming,” said Katitza Rodriguez, the international rights director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Back when it was revealed that Google would be re-entering the Chinese market, The Verge reports that CEO Sundar Pichai said the move was simply to feel out the landscape and see how the company would fair in the East Asia country.
“We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China,” Pichai said. “It’s very early, we don’t know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt like it was important for us to explore. I think it’s important for us given how important the market is and how many users there are.”
Google is set to re-staff its Cairo office, which more or less went dormant in 2014, following the military coup that brought Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power. https://t.co/5d3u4HghT3
— The Intercept (@theintercept) August 18, 2019
Although Pichai’s intentions might be honest, they weren’t convincing enough to prevent employees from signing an open letter for the company to abandon its sights on China. Critics also panned the move as potentially fueling a suppression of free speech in China and providing a search engine that can be weaponized by the country’s communist state.
Per The Inquisitr, Google has been under fire for its purported political bias. Kevin Cernekee, a former Google engineer and big tech whistleblower, claims that the company doesn’t want Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, suggesting the company is “highly ideological” and “plagued with bias.”
“They have quite a bit of control over the political process,” he said on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, per Newsweek.
According to Cernekee, Google attempted to foil Trump’s election campaign in 2016 and claims that there was “liberal bias” in the company driving this movement. He says that Google’s election meddling is a threat to America’s elections.