Google’s censored Chinese search engine links every search to the user’s phone number


#1

Google’s Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company’s return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like “human rights,” “student protest” and “Nobel prize.”

Leaked details of Dragonfly, reported in The Intercept, paint a picture of a search tool that doesn’t merely limit access to information, but also assists Chinese state agents in retaliating against people who sought access to banned information.

In particular, Dragonfly logged each search and associated it with the user’s phone number.

Dragonfly was also reportedly built to help the Chinese authorities falsify pollution data by substituting official numbers for observations made by disinterested parties. Pollution is a fraught political topic in China, with citizens frequently upset over the state’s failure to keep their air breathable. The Chinese government has a history of falsifying pollution data and suppressing independent figures.

Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number. This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.

“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” said Cynthia Wong, senior internet researcher with Human Rights Watch. “Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China.”

Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers [Ryan Gallagher/The Intercept]


#2

Why is it Google can literally weep when their candidate loses an election as if democracy were lost, THEN turnaround and HELP a real totalitarian regime suppress information?


#3

What Google is doing is despicable, but clarity of thought here: Everyone knows that searches are tied to your PC, IP, and your SIM card and have been for the last 20 years or so.

The real danger here is that Google is actively helping the Chinese communist party to develop A.I to be used against citizens to suppress their speech, better track their movements, and ultimately make them completely obedient to whatever the government demands.


#4

Authoritarian google is helping authoritarian China crush dissent. Sounds like they were made for each other.


#5

But … I thought Trump was literally Hitler and the enemy of the Press aka the people? Wasnt that why the good Samaritans at Google was crying about?