The chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has
said that anybody who does business in China “compromises some
of their core values.”
Google is working on plans to return to the Chinese
market with a censored search engine after an eight-year
John Hennessy said Google needs to balance ethical
compromises with the possibility that a better search engine
could improve quality of life for Chinese citizens.
The chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has admitted
that by returning to the Chinese market, Google will have to
compromise its “core values.”
an interview with Bloomberg, Alphabet Chairman John Hennessy
discussed the news that Google is exploring the possibility of
launching a censored search engine in China.
Google’s plans to return to China after an eight-year hiatus —
Dragonfly” — were
revealed by The Intercept in August. It has been heavily
criticised on ethical grounds from both
within the company and
externally by human rights groups.
“Anybody who does business in China compromises some of their
core values,” Hennessy said.
“The question that comes to my mind and that I struggle with is:
Are we better off giving Chinese citizens a decent search engine,
a capable search engine, even if it is restricted and censored in
some cases, than a search engine that’s not very good? And does
that improve the quality of their lives?”
He appears to be on the same page as Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
“There are many, many areas where we would provide information
better than what’s available,”
Pichai said at a WIRED event in October. “You’re always
balancing a set of values.”
The Intercept also reported that a
Google memo showed plans to extensively track users of the
prototype search tool, and would share the amassed data with a
Hennessy addressed the danger of state surveillance. “If you
store data in the country it can be gotten at by the Chinese
authorities… I think you should worry about it, at a minimum
you’d better make sure your users understand that,” he said.
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