Pence calls on Google to end censored search engine for China

Pence calls on Google to end censored search engine for China
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Vice President Pence on Thursday called on Google to end its project to develop a censored search engine in order to comply with Chinese speech restrictions and tap into the country’s market.

In a speech blasting China’s ambitions before the right-wing Hudson Institute, Pence singled out Google over its “Project Dragonfly.”

“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. “For example, Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”

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The Intercept revealed the project’s existence in August, reporting that Google was vetting a censored service in order to get back into Chinese market, after having pulled its operations in 2010 over concerns about the Communist Party’s restrictions on free speech.

 

When asked by The Hill to respond to the vice president’s comments, a spokesperson for Google said it had nothing to add beyond an earlier statement about its China ambitions.

“We've been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools,” the statement reads. “But our work on search has been exploratory, and we are not close to launching a search product in China.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is expected to be grilled about the project from lawmakers of both parties when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee next month.