Google employees speak out against Project Dragonfly

Widespread concern that Google is putting profit before values by helping China censor the net

By Becky Cunningham, last updated Nov 28, 2018.


  1. Becky
    A group of Google employees have published an open letter calling on their employer to cancel Project Dragonfly, a censored search engine developed with help from the Chinese government.

    Together with Amnesty International, hundreds of employees have raised the issue of human rights concerns and condemned the project for helping a government monitor each citizen. They state that they have repeatedly called on Google's leadership to cancel the project but have been unsatisfied with the response.


    Google famously had "Don't be evil" in a prominent position within its code of conduct, however the motto was relegated to the end of the document earlier this year indicating that perhaps there had been a change of focus.

    There are concerns that Google would be helping the Chinese government to use internet surveillance as a tool to "stifle freedom of expression" and "repress dissent", according to the letter. "Providing the Chinese government with ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses."

    They continue, "Dragonfly would also enable censorship and government-directed disinformation, and destabilize the ground truth on which popular deliberation and dissent rely. Given the Chinese government’s reported suppression of dissident voices, such controls would likely be used to silence marginalized people, and favor information that promotes government interests."

    They conclude that by working on projects such as Dragonfly, Google is putting profits above its values but that the company is "too powerful not to be held accountable".

    Google has yet to issue a response to the letter.