In a report coming in from The Intercept, Google has allegedly shut down the data analysis system that it was using to develop a censored search engine for China, after facing constant backlash and receiving complaints from the privacy team which stated that the project had been kept a secret from them.
We first heard about Dragonfly back in August. The censored search engine was supposed to blacklist websites and content that dealt with issues which were deemed as ‘sensitive‘ by the Chinese government, issues that ranged from human rights to historical facts and religion.
It was only in October that the project was officially acknowledged by Google CEO Sundar Pichai who insisted that the search engine was actually a way “to provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 percent of the world’s population”. Even so, Dragonfly instantly prompted responses and protests not only from human rights groups but also from Google’s own employees.
Sundar Pichai appeared before the Congress last week and stated that, at the moment, Google has no plans to launch the search engine but, at the same time, he did not state that the project had been shelved for good – if anything, this is a short term solution to the backlash the company has had to deal with in the last few months.
According to the report, the engineers that have been working on Dragonfly have currently been moved to other projects.