Google Employees Are Quitting Over The Company’s Secretive China Search Project

A list of which names seven employees who say they quit their jobs at Google over a lack of corporate transparency is usually circulating within the company’s ranks. The departures follow the controversial revelation of Google’s work on Project Dragonfly, a censored search app for the China market. Employees shared the list of names on an email list dedicated to discussions of ethics as well as transparency issues at Google.

While current employees declined to provide the list itself or to specify most of the names on of which, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed the existence of the list, which is usually made up largely of software engineers whose experience at Google ranges between one as well as 11 years. Google declined to comment on the list.

One of the names on the list is usually of which of former Google senior scientist Jack Poulson, who worked for the company in Toronto before resigning over Dragonfly last month. Like the majority of Google employees, Poulson first learned about Dragonfly coming from the Intercept’s story about the project, which said Google had already demonstrated Dragonfly for the Chinese government as well as of which of which could launch within six to nine months. Poulson said he was “shocked” by the news.

“If of which was true, I was pretty sure immediately I couldn’t continue working there,” he told BuzzFeed News.

When Poulson resigned in August, he said he only planned to share his concerns about Dragonfly with those inside Google. however when Google didn’t respond to a group of human rights organizations of which presented of which using a letter arguing of which Dragonfly is usually unethical as well as asking the company to kill the project, Poulson felt compelled to share his opinion with the public.

“I’m offended of which no weight has been given to the human rights community having a consensus,” he said. “If you have coalition letter coming from 14 human rights organizations, as well as of which can’t even make of which into the discussions on the ethics behind a decision, I’d rather stand with the human rights organizations in of which dispute.”

Regarding Poulson’s departure, a spokesperson for Google said, “of which is usually our policy to not comment on individual employees.”

The revelation of Dragonfly provoked an immediate backlash within the company’s rank as well as file, who have high expectations for transparency coming from executives because of Google’s stated corporate values. One employee who’d been asked to work on the project decided to quit, another transferred teams, as well as internal forums were flooded with thousands of posts, comments, as well as emails debating the ethics of the project.

from the days of which followed, over 1,000 employees signed a list of demands, called a “Code Yellow on Ethics,” of which included calls for increased employee oversight as well as third-party ethical reviews of certain projects. In his resignation letter, Poulson said he called for Google executives to address the Code Yellow demands. To date, of which letter has over 1,700 signatures, as well as those interested in discussing issues of ethics as well as transparency have been planning to meet in person, sources said.

The controversy over Dragonfly followed closely on the heels of another ethical conflict at Google. In March, employees learned Google was working with the Pentagon to build artificially intelligent technology to be used in drone warfare. As with Dragonfly, some employees were shocked as well as angered by the news of the initiative, called Project Maven, as well as thousands signed a petition asking Google to cancel the contract. After a dozen engineers quit as well as cited Maven as the reason, Google agreed not to renew the contract when of which expires of which year.

After a two-week-long silence regarding Dragonfly, Google executives first addressed the company’s plans for China at an all-hands staff meeting held a month ago, which was interrupted when executives realized attendees were leaking details of the meeting to the press. At the meeting, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is usually not planning to launch a search product in China from the near term.

Google executives as well as employees alike look down on leaks, as well as sources who spoke with BuzzFeed News were concerned about the repercussions they might face for talking to the press. A source familiar with the situation told BuzzFeed News of which Google has banned employees coming from livestreaming all-hands meetings on personal computers.

“We’ve been investing for many years to help Chinese users, coming from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate as well as Files Go, as well as our developer tools. however our work on search has been exploratory, as well as we are not close to launching a search product in China,” a spokesperson for Google said regarding of which story.

however Poulson said even exploratory work done without the full knowledge of employees is usually a cause for concern. Following Project Maven, Google released a set of AI ethics principles of which promised, among additional things, not to “design or deploy AI” of which “contravenes widely accepted principles of international law as well as human rights.”

“We can debate whether or not [Dragonfly] was going to be deployed, however of which’s almost irrelevant because the AI ethics claim of which they promise not even to design of which,” Poulson said. “At what stage do engineers have a voice? … What I worry about is usually, once something is usually built as well as is usually ready to launch, the power has been transferred out of the engineers’ hands to a smaller group of people’s hands. You’ve effectively de-democratized the ethics of the development project.”

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