U.S. senators are being urged to question Google over its plan to launch a censored search engine in China by a former scientist for the company.
Jack Poulson, who quit his job with Google last month after he says his concerns over the project were ignored, called on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to investigate the issue in a letter Monday.
The letter, provided to The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher, who first publicly revealed the secret plan’s existence last month, was sent ahead of the committee’s meeting Wednesday with Google chief privacy officer Keith Enright.
Codenamed Dragonfly, the project would allow Google to reenter the Chinese market by supplying the country with a search engine designed to censor “sensitive” content while tracking its users.
Poulson accuses Google leadership in the letter of “unethical and unacceptable decision making” while pointing out Dragonfly’s dangers.
“I am part of a growing movement in the tech industry advocating for more transparency, oversight, and accountability for the systems we build,” Poulson writes.
The ex-employee goes on to urge members of the committee to ask Enright to respond to concerns outlined in a recent open letter written by 14 human rights organizations.
More than 1,400 Google employees also wrote a similar letter to the company CEO Sundar Pichai last month seeking information on “what we’re building.”
According to The Intercept, a confidential memo on Dragonfly circulating among Google employees states that a prototype of the search engine had already blacklisted terms including “human rights,” “Nobel Prize” and “student protest.”
After learning of the memo’s existence, Google reportedly ordered its employees to purge any copies from all devices.