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Google ‘working on new censored search engine’ for China, Report

Google is working on a new mobile search app to block search of terms under China’s state censorship in order to re-enter the Chinese market.

The search giant company designing a search software that would censor blacklisted content by the Chinese government, according to a New York Times report citing people familiar with the matter. The blacklisting content would allow Google to move it out of the country eight years ago.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

First reported by The Intercept, the story saying the new Chinese app was being tailored for Google’s Android operating system for smartphones.

The app was said to have been shown to Chinese officials. State-owned China Securities Daily, citing information from “relevant departments”, denied the report.

Google is also reportedly building a second app called Dragonfly focused on news aggregation, special for China market, under the country’s censorship laws, according to tech news site the Information.

In 2010, after four years of co-operating with the authorities, Google pulled its censorship from Chinese search. Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder has told the Guardian, regarding his birth in the Soviet Union, explaining his opposition to enabling censorship. He said: “It touches me more than other people having been born in a country that was totalitarian and having seen that for the first few years of my life.”

The Chinese human rights community said Google acquiescing to China’s censorship would be a “dark day for internet freedom”.

Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International said: “It is impossible to see how such a move is compatible with Google’s ‘Do the right thing’ motto, and we are calling on the company to change course.”

“For the world’s biggest search engine to adopt such extreme measures would be a gross attack on freedom of information and internet freedom. In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory.”

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