Google rejects employee challenge to China search engine
What happened: At an annual shareholder meeting for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, a Google employee proposed a resolution to publish an assessment of the human rights impact of Project Dragonfly, Google’s secret project to launch a censored search engine in China. Tyler Holsclaw, representing a “coalition concerned about the impact of government censorship and surveillance on human rights,” told his employers that “Google’s powerful technology could give China data that it wouldn’t otherwise get.” Alphabet rejected this proposal along with all others presented at the meeting. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were not in attendance to hear their employees’ concerns.
Why it’s important: Googlers are known for speaking up against their bosses. When Project Dragonfly was revealed by news site The Intercept, Google employees pushed the tech giant to abandon its plans. After Google claimed to have ended the project, they brought evidence to the press that showed otherwise. The management’s defiance of its employees is souring internal relations. Another concern expressed at the meeting is that several leading figures have resigned, citing a “betrayal of its stated values,” including diversity and sexual harassment policies.