Google Employees Are Angry Over Google’s Plans To Censor The Chinese People

Editors note: Google is secretly working with the communist government of China to develop a search platform that both censors thought and also integrates with the communist social engineering/social reward system. China already has a pretty good domestic search platform called Baido.  Google is developing a system with broader control capability, and doing it for money.  Ultimately, every turn of a human body in China will add to or subtract from one’s social standing/compliance with model citizen behavior.  Over time, this behavior modification technology will produce a nation of complete droids, molded and directed into absolute mindless obedience.
The project has global ambitions.  Do you think China only wants to govern China?  Do you think the globalists within Google are ignorant of the opportunity to develop control and tracking software for “China”, and not use the paid opportunity to develop the software for use by the planned world government? 
Pay attention: Google took on this project to make good Chinese Yuan and to lay the groundwork for controlling the world population. Well, controlling wherever the Internet is ubiquitous.   This is a global governance advancement, plain and simple. – Indomitous

Google’s ambitions for China could trigger a crisis inside the company

Casey Newton

“On Thursday afternoon, a critical meeting at Google was derailed by a handful of tweets. Employees who had been pressing top executives for answers about the company’s plans to build a censored search engine and news app for the Chinese market appeared to have finally gotten their wish. Google cofounder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai had taken the stage to address employees’ concerns. “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record,” Pichai said, according to a report from The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher.

Then employees noticed that executives’ words were being transcribed in real time by the New York Times’ Kate Conger, who had a source inside. Upon which an unidentified employee at the meeting went up to a microphone and did this, according to Business Insider’s Greg Sandoval:

”Fuck you,” said the male Google employee standing at the microphone during a pivotal moment at the company all-hands meeting on Thursday night.

According to three sources in attendance who spoke with Business Insider, the man was addressing whoever within Google was relaying what was said at the gathering in real time to a New York Times reporter. The reporter had posted statements to Twitter that had been made just minutes before by Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin and CEO, Sundar Pichai, and her tweets were displayed on a large screen before the gathering.

It was a dramatic turn of events, and it stopped the meeting in its tracks. Few details about theChinese projectwere shared, and as Sandoval notes, it gave Brin and Pichai a good excuse to continue working on the Chinese project in secrecy.

But what the executives did say has raised some uncomfortable questions. (Gallagher has 13 of them for Google, all worth reading; we’ll limit ourselves to just a few.)

One, Pichai apparently characterized the nature of Google’s work in China as exploratory. Gallagher has previously reported that Google had plans to get the censored search engine — codenamed Dragonfly — into a “launch-ready state.” Maybe those things aren’t at odds — maybe something can be both launch-ready and exploratory — but Google appears to be much further down the road to relaunch in China than anyone acknowledged on Thursday.

Two, Brin said he had only recently become aware of Dragonfly. On one level, this would seem to strain credulity: Brin’s upbringing in the Soviet Union shaped his views on censorship and informed the company’s decision to exit the Chinese market in 2010. Launching an initiative to re-enter China without Brin’s express approval would seem to be a firing offense, even if Google is now a subsidiary of Alphabet and operating with less direct oversight. (Counterpoint: this is Sergey Brin we’re talking about! One of the world’s most eccentric billionaires. Yesterday he described Dragonfly as a “kerfuffle.” If you told me Brin had recently delegated all of his decision-making authority to a stack of pancakes, I would believe it.)

But while Google may have dodged a bullet on Thursday, I’m less certain than ever that the company can avoid a crisis without abandoning the project. China considers censorship a state secret, vastly restricting what Google can tell even its own employees about what its plans are. Meanwhile, a group of at least 1,400 employees is leading a charge to stop Dragonfly in its tracks.

Employees succeeded earlier this year in getting Google to stop working on a controversial project for the Pentagon. It’s hard to imagine employees successfully derailing a project to aid the American military and then failing to derail a project to aid the Chinese military. (The data generated by any Google service not being of at least some use to intelligence agencies.)

The thing I find myself wondering about the most here is what Sundar Pichai is thinking. Of the big tech-company CEOs, he is easily the kindest and most approachable. Taking Google to China — a China that is vastly more authoritarian than it was even when Google abandoned it the first time around — would require him to make compromises that will define his legacy.

The stock price would surely surge, but at the likely expense of any moral capital he hoped to spend for the rest of his career. It could also come at the expense of at least 1,400 employees, working on projects across the company.

On one hand, look at how naive we are — acting all surprised when we find out a giant corporation is in it for the money. But what happens when this new brute-capitalist version of Google finds out it’s not the company some of its most talented people signed up to work for?

Democracy

U.S. government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger: sources

The U.S. government wants to force Facebook to break the encryption in Messenger authorities can listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in a criminal probe, report Dan Levine and Joseph Menn:

The potential impact of the judge’s coming ruling is unclear. If the government prevails in the Facebook Messenger case, it could make similar arguments to force companies to rewrite other popular encrypted services such as Signal and Facebook’s billion-user WhatsApp, which include both voice and text functions, some legal experts said.

Law enforcement agencies forcing technology providers to rewrite software to capture and hand over data that is no longer encrypted would have major implications for the companies which see themselves as defenders of individual privacy while under pressure from police and lawmakers.

Facebook could be responsible for how advertisers use its platform, Justice Department says

Fair housing groups have sued Facebook, saying its ad tools let landlords discriminate against women with children and other protected categories of people. Facebook sought to have the suit dismissed, saying that under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act it could not be held liable for landlords’ ads. But in a surprise move, the Justice Department argued that it potentially could be. The argument is essentially that its ad-targeting tools are so good they explicitly enable this kind of behavior:

Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, sided with the plaintiffs, noting Facebook “creates and harvests user data to develop profiles for each user, categorizing them into groups based on demographics, interests, behaviors and other criteria.”

Berman wrote, “The Complaint sufficiently alleges that, for purposes of housing advertisements, the categorizing of Facebook users based on protected characteristics, and the mechanism that Facebook offers advertisers to target those segments of the potential audience, violated the FHA.“

‘Weaponized Ad Technology’: Facebook’s Moneymaker Gets a Critical Eye

And speaking of microtargeting, Natasha Singer reports on regulators’ mounting concerns over Facebook’s impressive advertising tools:

Facebook is just one player among tech giants like Google and Twitter that also offer data-mining services to try to influence consumer and voter behavior. But Facebook’s gargantuan reach, vast holdings of user data and easy-to-use self-service advertising system have made it a lightning rod for political microtargeting.

Much of the new attention being paid to microtargeted advertising has emerged from investigations into how Russian groups interfered in elections and how the voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of Facebook users. Microtargeting, they have found, was a central tool for foreign groups trying to interfere in elections.

Facebook has a plan to protect the US midterm elections. Is it enough?

Kurt Wagner examines Facebook’s battle readiness heading into the midterms. Here’s what Samidh Chakrabarti, product manager for all of Facebook’s election-related efforts, had to say:

“I feel like we have a good handle and a good plan for many of the problem types that we’re seeing. But whether we will get far enough, fast enough, is really the question,” he added. “It’s just a question of time. I would love if the U.S. midterms were in 2019.”

Elsewhere

Alex Jones of Infowars Destroyed Evidence Related to Sandy Hook Suits, Motion Says

Alex Jones you absolute rascal! Elizabeth Williamson reports that the tweets Jones deleted to keep his Twitter account alive were part of the public record and not supposed to be tampered with. A real rock-and-a-hard-place situation for Jones:

At least some of the deleted content was considered evidence in the Sandy Hook cases, and Mr. Jones had been informed in writing in April that he was obligated by law to preserve all relevant material, according to the court filing in District Court in Travis County in Austin.

“As pressure mounted from pending defamation lawsuits and growing public indignation, Mr. Jones chose to destroy evidence of his actual malice and defamatory conduct,” the motion filed on Friday said. “Infowars deleted critical evidence at the precise moment plaintiff and his experts were attempting to marshal that evidence.”

Elon Musk Confronts a Fateful Tweet and an ‘Excruciating’ Year

I’ve mostly avoided sharing news about Elon Musk in this space, but as a case study in Never Tweet, the Tesla CEO has rapidly cleared a space for him in the Hall of Fame. I don’t want to make too much light of this — Musk appears to be struggling with serious health issues here — and yet it’s worth pointing out in column about social media just how much trouble his Twitter account is causing him. From the story by David Gelles, James B. Stewart, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, and Kate Kell:

In the interview, Mr. Musk added that he did not regret his Twitter post — “Why would I?” — and said he had no plans to stop using the social media platform. Some board members, however, have recently told Mr. Musk that he should lay off Twitter and focus on making cars and launching rockets, according to people familiar with the matter.

Facebook’s Inconsistent Ad Policy Hurts Bra and Underwear Sellers

Smaller bra and underwear companies say Facebook unfairly bans their ads, saying they don’t comply with policies about “nudity and sexualization.” (Personally I have always found that bras help prevent nudity.)

Jeff White, co-founder and owner of Andrew Christian, a company that markets underwear to LGBTQ+ men, said via email that he sees the same inconsistencies in the ads his company submits to Facebook and Instagram. “Even using very specific targeting and very conservative images and language we probably only get 50% of our ads approved,” he says. Of those approved, around half are discontinued in the middle of the ad campaign, added White. The company has also had one of their ad accounts terminated entirely.

Fake numbers? Facebook misled advertisers with inflated ‘potential reach,’ lawsuit says

A group of advertisers are suing Facebook for misleading them about an ad’s “potential reach.” I am not a lawyer but I expect they will have a hard time that their ads could not “potentially” reach however many people Facebook said they could. It’s an ad! On the internet! Anyone could see it. Potentially.

Takes

Google complicity in Chinese censorship could endanger press freedom elsewhere

The Committee to Protect Journalists asks Google not to pursue Dragonfly:

Still, by integrating its services with the Chinese model, Google risks enabling serious violations beyond censorship. According to Bloomberg, Google is also working to launch cloud services in China, including products like Google Drive and Google Docs. Cynthia Wong, a senior researcher on the internet and human rights at Human Rights Watch, said she is concerned the government could employ such products, which are commonly used by journalists, as a “honey pot” to surveil and even jail reporters and their sources. The state already combs through digital records to find citizens who challenge it: a 2017 investigation by The Wall Street Journal found Chinese authorities routinely use posts from the social media platform WeChat as evidence to prosecute dissent.

And finally …

Elon Musk Is Working Too Hard

Just how bad can a single tweet be? Matt Levine, in a string of commentaries about Elon Musk that ought to win him a Pulitzer next year, has my new favorite answer to this question:

Last week Musk infamously tweeted that he had “funding secured” for a buyout of Tesla at $420 per share; it has since come out that that was not, in the ordinary usage of those words, true. “In the interview, Mr. Musk added that he did not regret his Twitter post — ‘Why would I?’ — and said he had no plans to stop using the social media platform.” Why would he regret the tweet about going private? Because he is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is being sued by investors, and may well end up costing the company (or himself) hundreds of millions of dollars in damages? Tesla made about $588 million last quarter from selling cars; my rough estimate of the damages caused by Musk’s going-private tweet is at least $606 million. If the shareholder lawsuits settle for anything like that amount, then Musk’s tweet was as bad as shutting down the assembly line for three months. Sabotage!

There are bad tweets, there are worse tweets, and then there are tweets that cost your company $606 million. Personally I’m feeling much better about my own tweets lately!

Have a nice weekend.

Talk to me

Send me tips, comments, questions, weekend plans: casey@theverge.com.

32 Replies to “Google Employees Are Angry Over Google’s Plans To Censor The Chinese People”

  1. @biozzThey give you a few extra of the tiny parts as you may lose them. Its mentioned in the assembly guide that they may give you extras.I ended up with 5 extra screws of various sizes, 1 Nylock nut, a grub screw and an end cap.Excluding the extra bits above, you should only be left with the tool, extra AA battery and the USB cable. There shouldn’t be anything else.

  2. F***in’ first posters. XGM do you even own a WRT54g? or did you even look at the articles. What is with you people.Here is one. Im going to be the **first** to say something intelligent:I am seriously worried for my WRT. Everytime i read one of these posts I think. HECK YEA! lets trash that bad boy. Bricking it be Damned. OpenWRT w00t! Ill do that tomorrow.But then my mind gets the better of me. but im telling you one of these days im gonna snap and it will be a long drive to staples to buy a new one.

  3. This is really crazy, I can’t imagine how Google may spy on a user history to check if the review is legitimate. Imagine a NY citizen going to France on vacations. He comes back home then post several reviews of the good places he went to.What *could* be doing Google ? Check every Google request made by the user to check he did went to France, maybe even more… Nobody knows what Google is doing when investigating reviews.

  4. As soon as Google sees a real competitor on the horizon, they’re going to move to solve all those issues.Lack of real competitors for them is creating this childish thinking culture. They’ve been feeling invincible so far.Until someone else comes along to create a shadow on their profits. That will happen, sooner or later.

  5. The issue is the original review is written with a double negative. (your screenshot) If the reviewer spoke/wrote proper English, then I’m sure Google could parse a proper snippet.And users (customers) aren’t stupid, the human brain can parse sentiment fairly easily. Stop being a google hater.AL

  6. We’ll see how much their Nazi selves laugh when the 6-winged archangel arrives to take their souls to HELL and JESUS comes back to RULE the world! The first thing he will do is get rid of Bill Clinton and all the liberal websites that teach so-called accurate history (and it couldn’t be accurate if it doesn’t tell the TRUTH about BILL CLINTON!) Then, I’m pretty sure he’ll make sure all of us get free guns. I pray earnestly for that righteous day.

  7. I am in accord with your analysis of the realities so many people don’t see. Unfortunately, by the Time they do see it, it will be entrenched and perhaps too late?At the end 2011, Congress, with margins of 97 in both the Senate and House, passed the 2012 National Defence Authorization Act.As we know, Senators and Representatives pass Bills into Law they have not actually read, only because the Leadership minority has Party Whips to make them do it.Buried in the 2012 NDAA, was LEGAL AUTHORITY for the US Military to grab any American Citizen off the streets, or out of their homes, and DETAIN THEM INDEFINITELY in someGulag-Gitmo.There is no recourse in the Courts, based on some Bureaucratic determination, the targeted Individual is “suspected” to be vaguely associated with terrorism.There is no 1 call to a lawyer, and the “suspicions” do not have to be proved in a Court of Law. They would become in America, just 1 of the disappeared prevalent in so many US proxy Dictatorships.As a Canadian, I was so disappointed and could not understand how President Obama, a Constitutional Professor, didn’t VETO the Law, even in the face of such an overwhelming VETO overturning majority in Congress. He signed it into Law. I saw it as a violation of his Oath to defend the Constitution from external and internal enemies. If he did VETO it, at least Americans would be awakened to the internal Dangers to Democracy, realizing their Representatives are not representing them or standing up for Freedom, also violating their Oaths of Office.As much as the Republicans hated Obama, calling him a Dictator, they did not protest such a Dictatorial Law, believing a Time would come when they would be the Bureaucracy to determine who should be one of the Disappeared.It was the Republicans who put it in there. The Democrats were complicit.The Law has not been rescinded like Trump rescinded the few regulations Obama put in place to prevent another Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbour as happened in the last months of the Bush Administration in September 2008. It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN?In that period of Tribulation, I expect those provisions buried in the 2012 NDAA will be employed to make all troublemakers disappear.As a Canadian, I could only do what I could do, post the concerns to my Blog within a month of the Law being passed.https://ray032.com/2012/01/11/end-of-freedom-and-democracy/ .

  8. @AlWhile it is understandable that this might occur, it is a machine after all, there are good reasons to critique Google in this situation.Critique is not hate. If you knew me you would know that I really do want Google to do better and be better. You may not like my tone but at my age I have earned the privilege of being cranky once in a while. While a user could dig deeper and ferret out the error, that is very unlikely to happen. The review snippet is showing on the front page of Google for a brand search. That would require a second click to analyze all of the reviews, read through them and find the one that this references.Google in presenting this information on the front page for a business is attempting to be accurate and has a responsibility to do so. They are not perfect so to their credit they have added support staff to fix these sorts of issues. The answer from support was from a human. And proves that humans can be even dumber than a machine. In this case, it should have been obvious to them that the machine had in fact not been able to parse this double negative well and should have taken the initiative to act.Dan is more persistent than most, he was lucky in that he had access to the contact form and was able after the above stupid response to get Google to reconsider. Most small businesses do not have that luxury. If Google is going to profit by using SMB data and the business is to develop ads and marketing around that effort, then Google should take the time to fix these sorts of errors in a timely fashion with no bull shit.

  9. It’s frustrating that I spend 20 of my time reporting backlink schemes (of which little seems to be getting dealt with lately) and GMB spam/fake reviews. C’mon Google…. you can do so much better. Please read Mike’s words and these comments – we are folks that care about a level playing field for all. It really is in your best interests.

  10. > My job as a reviewer does not involve assessing vague things like “interest for the journal’s audience”.I could not agree more. I am always trying to not assess the relevance for the journal (or please tell me how I am supposed to know the audience well enough to decide what would be of interest).These days I am even trying to avoid making any recommendation at all. I believe I have structured my report well enough so that an editor can decide by himself/herself. At least, he/she should know the objectives/standards/audience of the journal better than me (that is for editors who actually read the reports, and do not simply base their decision on the most common recommendation).

  11. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the reason that GMail comes up first for a search on mail is because a lot of people who are Google users get to their mail by typing the word mail into a Google search box and then selecting GMail as the result they wanted.

  12. Should have been more clear! The Google location near my town has a massive security fence and is in the middle of the country with basically no way to get close to the building unless you break in to the property. But I guess that’s why there isn’t a March on the Council Bluffs, IA location!

  13. @DaveIt is an outcome of how they roll…. not of nefarious intentions (other than to be a monopoly)It will likely be attached to the GMB in the coming weeks but with the release early and iterate often tactic it was viewed as not essential for testing of the feature. Now that the feature has been vetted it will be in the iteration. From where I sit it SHOULD have been part of the minimum viable product spec but wasn’t.

  14. In referencing the money google makes and alluding to just how much of it might be attributable to local and maps (although Mike the percentage of clicks on our ads that show in maps is fairly small)…but the mere fact that there is so much local advertising and it must have a HUGE impact on their bottom line–that might have some impact on their decision(s) to simply not fix things in local.Our sites decided to advertise long ago. We simply wanted more shots at more visitors. That was the thinking.It has worked to date. But getting back to never fixing “anything” easily or quickly in google local/maps/GMB : well they might have found that the more mistakes, errors, problems in GMB/local–the more smb’s decide to advertise.We don’t really know. We have ZERO insights into the volumes of searches google gets and how and where those searchers click (if at all).Adwords REPS are much faster and more responsive than any reps google has ever had for GMB/LOCAL/Maps. ALWAYS.Possibly–just maybe google might have discovered that the more it makes life hard on the local/GMB/Crap side–the more businesses will advertise and/or competitors give up on getting crap cleaned and just advertise.Who knows?I think its plausible if only because after years of advertising–Google will stick it to you if you don’t pay close close close attention. They aren’t sweethearts.

  15. What a difference a few words make … that’s a bad scenario and I’m really glad Jade is going to take steps to correct it. Completely agree with you, Mike, that this is the only right thing for Google to do. Yikes!

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