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Google’s Censored China Search Engine Project Triggers Protests

Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google’s offices in the US, UK, Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark witnessed renewed protests by human rights groups over its plan to re-enter China through a censored search application code-named “Project Dragonfly”.

The demonstrations were organised by coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups outside the tech giant’s offices. The Tibetan advocacy groups that were protesting included Free Tibet and the International Tibet Network.

“They fear that a censored search engine would lead to further oppression of the Tibetans, as filtered searches would erase terms such as ‘Tibet’ and ‘Tiananmen Square’ in line with the official narrative of the Chinese Communist Party,” the Business Insider reported late on Friday.

The same concerns apply to the Chinese citizens, including other oppressed minorities such as Uighur Muslims and Southern Mongolian people, the report added.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The Internet giant designed a censored version for China search engine to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, peaceful protest, and religion in accordance with strict rules on censorship in the country that are enforced by its Communist Party government.

The dispute began in August 2018 when reports surfaced that Google staffers working on “Project Dragonfly” had been using a Beijing-based website to help develop blacklists for the censored search engine, which was designed to block out broad categories of information related to democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest, according to The Intercept.

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Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project.

In December, Google was forced to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine and the teams working on “Project Dragonfly” stopped gathering search queries from mainland China. (IANS)

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Many Security Flaws in Apple Safari Browser: Google

Google discovers security flaws in Apple Safari browser

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Google security researchers discovered several security flaws in a privacy software in Apple web browser Safari. Pixabay

Google security researchers discovered several security flaws in a privacy software in Apple web browser Safari that could have helped third-party vendors track users’ browsing habits.

According to a report in the Financial Times which cited a soon-to-be published paper from Google’s ‘Project Zero’ team, the vulnerabilities were found in an anti-tracking feature known as ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention’.

Once disclosed by Google researchers to Apple in August last year, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker immediately patched the flaws.

Apple launched the ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention’ tool in 2017 to, in fact, protect Safari users from being tracked around the web by advertisers and other third-party cookies.

According to Google researchers, the vulnerabilities left personal data of Safari users exposed. They also found a flaw that allowed hackers to “create a persistent fingerprint that will follow the user around the web”.

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This is the third time Google researchers have found flaws in the Apple ecosystem. Pixabay

Apple confirmed it patched the issues.

This is the third time Google researchers have found flaws in the Apple ecosystem.

In September, Apple slammed Google for creating a false impression about its iPhones being at hacking risk owing to security flaws that allegedly let several malicious websites break into its iOS operating system.

Researchers at ‘Project Zero’ team had discovered several hacked websites that allegedly used security flaws in iPhones to attack users who visited these websites — compromising their personal files, messages, and real-time location data.

In a statement, Apple said the so-called sophisticated attack was narrowly focused, not a broad-based exploit of iPhones “en masse” as described.

According to Google, the websites delivered their malware indiscriminately and were operational for years.

Apple said that it fixed the vulnerabilities in question — working extremely quickly to resolve the issue just 10 days after it learnt about it.

In July last year, the ‘Project Zero’ team found six critical flaws in Apple iMessage that can compromise the user’s phone without even interacting with them. These security vulnerabilities fell into the ‘interactionless’ category.

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Two members of ‘Project Zero’, Google’s elite bug-hunting team, published details and demo proof-of-concept code for five of six ‘interactionless’ security bugs that impact the iOS operating system and can be exploited via the iMessage client. All the six security bugs were patched with the iPhone maker’s iOS 12.4 release. (IANS)