A group of 36 of the tech giant’s workers, including some senior software engineers, attached their name to a Medium post Tuesday expressing grave concerns about the project, which internally is called Project Dragonfly.
“Many of us accepted employment at Google with the … understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits,” the post reads. “After a year of disappointments … we no longer believe this is the case. This is why we’re taking a stand.”
Project Dragonfly has been a contentious point for Google employees for months, with several employees claiming it’s a violation of the company’s unofficial “Don’t be evil” credo. In their Medium post, the recent Google dissenters note Amnesty International’s opposition to the project.
In their post, the Google employees said Dragonfly would establish a dangerous precedent, allowing other countries to repress freedom of expression and quiet dissent.
“Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be,” they wrote. “Providing the Chinese government with ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses.”
While Google officials have acknowledged the controversy over Project Dragonfly, they haven’t directly addressed employee dissent. Last month, speaking at an event hosted by Wired, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said: “I take a long-term view of this. And I think it’s important for us—given how important the market is, and how many users there are—we feel obliged to think hard about this problem and take a long-term view.”