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Google's scientist resigns over tech giant's censored search engine project for China

Google's senior artificial intelligence scientist, Jack Poulson resigned over the company's involvement in building a special censored version of the search engine for China.

Danny D'Cruze        Last Updated: September 14, 2018  | 20:12 IST
Google's scientist resigns over tech giant's censored search engine project for China

Google's senior artificial intelligence scientist, Jack Poulson resigned over the company's involvement in building a special censored version of the search engine for China. A report by The Intercept discusses how a lot of employees have been dissenting against Google's uncharacteristic new move and the reason why Poulson left Google.

Jack Poulson worked on the company's search system by implementing machine intelligence. According to the research scientist, a new search platform, code-named Dragonfly is being built for China which flouts a lot of company policies.  He felt it was his "ethical responsibility to resign in protest of the forfeiture of our public human rights commitments."

He claimed that the new search engine stands in direct conflict with Google's artificial intelligence principles. These principles state that the search giant will not design or implement any kind of technology that "contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights."

He also goes on to explain why the existence of a special version of Google search will introduce loopholes in consumer's data protection in China. These access doors can then be used by Chinese security agencies to target political activists and journalists.

His resignation letter read, "Due to my conviction that dissent is fundamental to functioning democracies, I am forced to resign in order to avoid contributing to, or profiting from, the erosion of protection for dissidents."

"I view our intent to capitulate to censorship and surveillance demands in exchange for access to the Chinese market as a forfeiture of our values and governmental negotiating position across the globe. There is an all-too-real possibility that other nations will attempt to leverage our actions in China in order to demand our compliance with their security demands," he added.

Google's unresponsiveness has triggered a greater unrest within the ranks of employees as well as journalists questioning the entire project.

The company has some precedence when it comes to building a custom search engine for China. In 2006, Google had developed a censored version of the search engine. However, that was taken down by the company claiming that the Chinese government was trying to limit free speech.

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