Database in Taiwan may support Google's Chinese 'censorship engine'

A suppressed Google memo reportedly claims 'Dragonfly' will provide a 'Chinese partner' with 'unilateral access' to all user data via database located in Taiwan


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – New information has emerged concerning the proposed Google search engine and suite of applications being designed to meet the censorship standards of the Chinese Communist Party.

The “Dragonfly” search engine project also potentially involves a server located in Taiwan, according to the most recent Intercept report.

According to the report, the application suite will require users to log-in to an account linked to their phone number before they can perform searches or utilize other services. User accounts will also be tracked by location via smart devices and log-in IP information.

Most disconcerting of all, according to a memo that Google executives have reportedly ordered destroyed, the suite of applications is being designed to provide a “Chinese partner” with “unilateral access” to all of the data collected by Dragonfly.

Information about the suppressed memo has been provided to the Intercept by unnamed sources familiar with the project, who also report that there has been internal protests at Google since information about the Dragonfly program was leaked in August.

The memo was reportedly drafted by a discontent engineer who had been working on the project. The internal memo accuses Google developers of developing “spying tools” to help the communist party maintain and reinforce its rapidly expanding surveillance state.

The Intercept reports that:

“People’s search histories, location information, and other private data would be sent out of China to a database in Taiwan, the memo states. But the data would also be provided to employees of a Chinese company who would be granted 'unilateral access' to the system.”

The new developments are striking enough for the degree of willingness that Google displays in furthering the communist party's surveillance system, but there are also potentially serious implications for Taiwan if Google or a third party based in the country were also involved in supporting Google’s CCP approved censorship engine project.

The Taiwanese government should inquire with Google to find out which company in Taiwan is intending to maintain the database that will supply the “Chinese partner" with Dragonfly user data.

NGOs, Google employees, and U.S. government officials have condemned the Dragonfly project, claiming that it will directly assist the Chinese government in their active and ongoing violation of the human rights of their citizens.