Google’s security team as well as the company’s human resources department are trying to stop the company’s staff from sharing a memo containing secret information regarding the company’s plans for China, The Intercept reported Friday.
An engineer who was asked to work on Project Dragonfly, the codename for a search product designed for the China market, was the person who wrote the memo, according to the news report. The information within the memo appears to contradicts statements made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai that the company’s efforts on a Chinese search engine were exploratory.
Google’s China efforts mark a major reversal of its 2010 decision to pull its search operations out of China rather than censor information. The project to re-enter China has been hugely controversial inside the company, and several Google employees have resigned in protest.
As part of Dragonfly, Google has allegedly created a search engine that would censor information that the Chinese government finds objectionable. The memo shows that Google planned to require users to log in to perform searches and the software would then track their location. The memo also said that Google would share Chinese users’ search information with a third-party Chinese company, which could then be available to government authorities, the Intercept report.
Google representatives were not immediately available for comment.
The Intercept reported that Google’s leaders learned of the memo and then made attempts to force workers who accessed or saved the memo to delete the information. The emails from HR contained special ‘pixel trackers’ to let HR know employees had read the note, The Intercept reported.