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Google Employees Revolt Against 'Project Dragonfly' for China

November 27, 2018 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated September 02, 2020 11:39 AM UTC

“Dragonfly would enable censorship and government-directed disinformation.”

Transcript
Welcome to Fortune's tech debate, where we debate the issues of the day in two minutes. Today we're talking about Google's latest controversy involving China. Lisa Marie what's the fuss all about? So the fuss is all about this thing called Project Dragonfly. And essentially, that is Google's new censored search engine for use in China. And right now up to hundreds of Google employees have signed a medium post coming out against this. Censored search engine. That sounds bad. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt for a sec. Isn't that how they roll in China? And if Google wants to be there, don't you kind of have to play by the rules where you operate? Yeah, there is a little bit of play by the rules mentality in China. But they're not just doing that. They're kind of bending over backwards to work with China. And a lot of people have concerns about that. You know, this is a really moral crossroads for them. And they need to decide if it's worth it. But hang on. Let's give Google the benefit of the doubt again. Google's got a pretty good track record on free speech. And isn't it better to have some Google, even a possibly slightly corrupted Google version in China, than not at all? No. Definitely not I mean, they haven't been in China for the past few years. I don't see why they can't keep doing that. And especially since they do have a good free speech track record. Why tarnish that? Well, this little fact that China is like the second biggest market in the world. Can we-- can you really say no, we're not going to play that. Let the competitors have it. Well, that's what Google is wrestling with right now. You know, their employees have not been pleased due to other workplace issues. And in this petition that they signed they noted that China has some human rights violations, to put it mildly, under their belt. And so Google has to decide, do we leave this market and let others deal with it and not partake? Or do they take part in it? But you know, there are other markets out there. And Google-- Not big ones like that. But you know-- and also, certain risk would maybe the employees are jumping the gun. Shouldn't they maybe just sort of test out, see how bad it is, before refusing? Maybe. But at that point then you're in the position to roll it back. And it might be a lot harder than to just not protect it all. We'll see. I guess time will tell. Speaking of time, we're out of it. For more Fortune tech debate please join us at fortune.com