Google, China create search engine that tracks, censors sea…
A prototype of a censored search engine that links users’ queries to their personal phone numbers is the result of a collaboration between Google and China.
This technology would make it easier for the Communist Party of China to monitor people and what they are searching, the Intercept reported Friday.
Dragonfly, the code name for the new search engine, was designed for Android devices.
The search engine would remove information that the Chinese government deems sensitive, like content regarding political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and protests, in something called a censorship blacklist.
The blacklist includes the terms “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize,” among other terms in Mandarin, the language the majority of Chinese people speak.
Sources familiar with the Google project told Intercept that by linking searches to phone numbers, people seeking information banned by the Chinese government could be at risk for interrogation or detention.
“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” Cynthia Wong, a senior internet researcher with Human Rights Watch, said. “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.”