U.S. lawmakers ask Google if it will rejoin Chinese market

Google boss quits in China crisis

In the letter, the lawmakers said they had "serious concerns" over possible concessions to local internet regulations, and asked whether Google could ensure that Chinese citizens and resident foreigners alike "will not be surveilled or targeted through Google applications".

Google has worked on plans to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, among other businesses, which would require a product that complied with strict censorship laws and oversight.

Poulson told The Intercept that he believes he is one of five employees who have quit. According to the research scientist, a new search platform, code-named Dragonfly is being built for China which flouts a lot of company policies.

"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", Google said previously.

"The search system, code-named Dragonfly, was created to remove content that China's authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest". "But our work on search has been exploratory, and we are not close to launching a search product in China".

More than 1,000 Google employees, six United States senators and at least fourteen human rights groups have written to the company expressing concern about its China ambitions.

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The letter was signed by groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.

The censored search engine project is said to have begun after a meeting between Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and Wang Huning, a senior figure in the Chinese Communist Party, last December. The lawmakers said they were concerned about the alleged plan and are still waiting for a response from the Mountain View, California-based technology giant. And now, almost a month after the Googlers expressed their concerns via an internal letter, Google staffers have started resigning from the company to express their dissent over the issue.

Rumors of the China-based search engine have circulated over the past several weeks after The Intercept reported that it had seen leaked documents, suggesting Google was planning to re-enter China, almost eight years after leaving the country.

The app will also identify topics and websites that are blocked by China's Great Firewall, according to the documents.

In 2010, Google famously announced it was leaving China, specifically mentioning China's censorship tactics as a reason for pulling out of the country.

Google responded by issuing a set of principles that Pichai said would guide the company's use of AI.

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