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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.

Also Read- In the Name of Kabaddi, Punjab Youth Stay Back in Canada

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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No Proof our Images showed Pakistan Flag For ‘Toilet Paper’, Says Tech Giant Google

Google algorithms have displayed inappropriate search results on certain topics in the past

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google on Tuesday said that it has found no evidence that its Search algorithms were showing the Pakistani flag when looked for the “best toilet paper in the world”, the “best China-made toilet paper” or just “toilet paper”.

“While we continue to investigate the matter, we have not found any evidence that Google Images was ranking the Pakistani flag in response to this particular search,” a company spokesperson told IANS.

“Many news outlets wrote about an old screenshot from a meme website that is inconsistent with our UI (user interface) and dates back to 2017, and we have not seen any independent verification that these results ever appeared as depicted,” the spokesperson added.

Earlier, media reports said a glitch on Google Search results was noticed after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers dead.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

Screenshots of the search results went viral as memes, posts and status updates on several social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“Since these news stories published, images from those articles are now ranking for this query, as the pages contain words relevant to the search,” said the Google spokesperson.

Also Read- Scientist Who Coined the Term ‘Global Warming’ Dies at 87

Google algorithms have displayed inappropriate search results on certain topics in the past.

Earlier, searching words like “Feku”, “Pappu” and “Idiot” led users to the images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and US President Donald Trump, respectively. (IANS)