'Staffers sign protest letter over Google's search project for China'

Facebook among those affected

The search engine, which would be app-based, would remove items that contain certain words or phrases and would apply to image search, suggested search features and automatic spell check.

China restricts internet users by blocking websites, censoring words and clamping down on free speech.

The news of Google's efforts to create a censored search engine for the Chinese has elicited denunciations from sections the of USA press, which have scolded the company for collaborating with a "totalitarian" government.

This would be Google's second entry into China since it exited the country in.

"Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment", the letter said.

It has been signed by 1,400 employees and is circulating on the company's internal communications system, the newspaper said, quoting three people who are familiar with the document.

Rumors of the Chinese-based search engine have circulated over the past few weeks after The Intercept reported that it had seen leaked documents, suggesting the Sundar Pichai-led Google was planning to re-enter China, almost 8 years after leaving the country.

Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more "transparency, oversight and accountability", according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.


It also mentioned that Google should allow its employees to take part in reviewing such products and to have complete transparency.

Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world's most populous country fits with Google's global mission.

Human rights organisations and activists expressed their worry over Google's plans when they were shared earlier this month in U.S. media reports. "I think if we were to do our mission well, I think we have to think seriously about how we do more in China", he added, according to Bloomberg.

"We'll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here".

Some of these statements were posted on Twitter, and since then, both the CEO and the Co-founder Sergey Brin stopped responding to questions regarding the Dragonfly project.

This one is not a sole example of Google employees have spoken against the decisions of the company.

Earlier this year, Google dropped "Don't be evil" from its official code of conduct.

According to media reports, Google will not seek another contract when the current Project Maven contract expires in 2019. It goes against its principals as it would stop Chinese citizens from gaining access to rightful information.

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