More than 60 human rights groups are now taking aim at Google over its development of a censored search engine custom made for China.

The groups say that Google has downplayed concerns over Dragonfly, the search engine project designed to restrict information on human rights and other subjects forbidden by the Chinese government.

According to The Intercept:

A prototype for the censored search engine was designed to blacklist broad categories of information about human rights, democracy, and peaceful protest. It would link Chinese users’ searches to their personal cellphone number and store people’s search records inside the data centers of a Chinese company in Beijing or Shanghai, which would be accessible to China’s authoritarian Communist Party government.

If the plan proceeds, “there is a real risk that Google would directly assist the Chinese government in arresting or imprisoning people simply for expressing their views online, making the company complicit in human rights violations,” the human rights groups wrote in a letter that will be sent to Google’s leadership on Tuesday.

The letter, written by groups from all over the world, doesn’t mince words:

New details leaked to the media strongly suggest that if Google launches such a product it would facilitate repressive state censorship, surveillance, and other violations affecting nearly a billion people in China. Media reports state that Google has built a prototype that censors “blacklisted” search terms including “human rights,” “student protest” and “Nobel Prize,” including in journalistic concerns, and links users’ search queries to personal phone numbers. The app would also force users to sign in to use the service, track and store location information and search histories, and provide “unilateral access” to such data to an unnamed Chinese joint venture company, in line with China’s data localization law – allowing the government virtually unfettered access to this information.

China represents over 18% of the world population.

Also, keep in mind that numerous tech sites already demand phone numbers from users worldwide in exchange for setting up accounts under the guise of “fighting spam,” which is fueling concerns that, in the future, certain aspects of Dragonfly won’t be limited to just China.

Alex Jones, who has also raised the alarm on Project Dragonfly, is at Tuesday’s Google hearing in Washington, DC, to protest this mass censorship:

The Alex Jones Show:

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