Project Dragonfly: Is it Limited to China, or is it a Test Run?

Or……………………….
is censorship by Google already happening all over the globe?

It was Wednesday, July 18, and Gomes was addressing a team of Google employees who were working on a secretive project to develop a censored search engine for China, which would blacklist phrases like “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize.”

theintercept.com

The project is named ‘Project Dragonfly’. It was strictly secretive and guarded at Google and according to whistleblower Yonatan Zunger. Project Dragonfly bypassed the standard inspection by the security and privacy teams. When the privacy team completed its review, the findings revealed important concerns:

Zunger and his colleagues produced a privacy report that highlighted problematic scenarios that could arise once the censored search engine launched in China. The report, which contained more than a dozen pages, concluded that Google would be expected to function in China as part of the ruling Communist Party’s authoritarian system of policing and surveillance. It added that, unlike in Europe or North America, in China it would be difficult, if not impossible, for Google to legally push back against government requests, refuse to build systems specifically for surveillance, or even notify people of how their data may be used.

theintercept.com

This privacy report by Zunger and his colleagues makes two assumptions that may be untrue.

Assumptions

  1. The Chinese government accumulates evidence for prosecutions.
  2. Google is a company that shields it’s users from abuses of governments

Starting with number one: Does the Chinese government think it needs ‘evidence’ of actions against the Chinese state before it will take actions against its citizens or are accusations treated as evidence? To answer that, inspect the reaction to a letter published criticizing the Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese government kidnapped relatives of a Chinese blogger after he tweeted a link to the letter:

On Friday, New York-based blogger Wen Yunchao, also known as Bei Feng, said his brother and parents were also taken away in southern Guangdong province, after he tweeted a link to the letter.

Washington Post (sometimes fake news)

Now, is Google a company that will protect its users from overreaching governments? Well, Google previously pulled out of China due to censorship, however, Google headed back to China with a censorship engine and government approved apps. This indicates that the pull out may have been more of a technological setback/limitation than a moral stance.

Google is a corporation made of people of course, and some bravely blew the whistle on the search engine’s unethical practices. However, the project goes forward because a critical mass of managers and employees at Google do not care about the destiny of Chinese citizens.

For me, this is a good enough reason to stop using Google. The company is secretive and unrepentant in its compliance with Chinese authoritarian laws.

There are other reasons to abandon Google and all of its’ services.

  1. Google (and other social media companies) silence American blogger critical of China’s government.
  2. Google complies with demands for user data in 94% of cases.
  3. Did the CIA create Google?

Although most of Google’s services work great and are super convenient, Google is not a passive actor and filters its’ search results in a manipulative way:

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said Pro-Trump articles or content about immigration laws gets flagged as hate speech, and not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of the search results. He called for an independent third-party group to look into the matter.

upi.com

This behavior is unrequested by the user and therefore reduces the utility of the search engine (this is an intentional bug). In a similar way, Google may introduce a ‘bug’ into gmail that flags some users emails as ‘spam’. Because Google has outed themselves as being open to censorship, this next step should be expected from the company.https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Because of the revelations discussed in this post, this authors of this website no longer use Google services.

Instead farawaystars.com authors and contributors use:

  1. Brave Browser
  2. Protomail
  3. Duck Duck Go
  4. iOS mobile devices
  5. Other organic means including social media and forums to drive traffic to farawaystars.com

Because of #5, please bookmark farawaystars.com.

😀