JOHANNESBURG – Google stands accused of collaborating with the Chinese over internet censorship with Amnesty International warning that the move will set a dangerous precedent for tech companies enabling rights abuses by governments.
In a Tuesday press release Amnesty said Google’s plans to launch a censored search app in China could irreparably damage internet users’ trust in the tech company.
“The prototype app would also make it easier for authorities to track individual users’ searches, which means there is a real danger that Google would be helping the Chinese government to arrest or imprison people. Chinese laws and regulations force tech companies to cooperate fully with inspections by public security officials,” said Amnesty.
To counter the move the rights group has launched a global petition calling on Google CEO Sundar Pichai to drop the app, which is codenamed Project Dragonfly and would blacklist search terms like “human rights” and “Tiananmen Crackdown”.
Following a public outcry from Google’s own workforce, Amnesty is reaching out to the company’s staff through protests outside Google offices and targeted messages on LinkedIn calling on them to sign the petition.