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Ryan Gallagher @rj_gallagher
, 18 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
NEW: Google built a prototype of a censored search engine for China that links users’ searches to their phone numbers, making it easier for Chinese authorities to monitor people’s queries:… #Dragonfly
Google compiled a censorship blacklist for the search engine that included terms such as “human rights,” “student protest,” & “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin, according to information newly obtained by @theintercept.
The search platform also appeared to have been tailored to replace weather & air pollution data with info provided by an unnamed source in Beijing. The Chinese government has a record of manipulating details about pollution in the country’s cities.
One source said that the company built a system, integrated as part of Dragonfly, that was “essentially hard-coded to force [Chinese-provided] data.” The source raised concerns Dragonfly would be providing false pollution data downplaying the amount of toxins in the air.
Updated w/ comment from @cynthiamw of @hrw. "This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking & profiling of people's behavior," she says:…
Another new detail I confirmed today, very significant: the "joint venture" Google has been planning to set up w/ a partner company in China to launch the search engine would have the ability to add to the blacklists from offices in Beijing. 1/2
This raises serious questions about whether Google would be able to maintain control & oversight over the censorship. The partner company could potentially add to the blacklist w/out Google approval or be pressured into doing so by the Chinese govt. 2/2…
Key context for this story: Google's data centers for the censored China search engine *would be on the Chinese mainland*, not in the US, meaning people's search queries in China would be processed there & thus accessible to Chinese authorities.…
I've heard in the last 24 hrs that Google execs have tried to play down our reporting on Dragonfly by telling some journalists it's all just "exploratory." That's a lie & I've seen documents that prove it. Google should stop w/ the sophistry & take ownership of what it has done.
If Google wants to stop leaks it should start telling the truth. There are people inside the company who know what really went on w/ Dragonfly & they will continue exposing details about it until Google 'fesses up & stops lying to the public.
Reporters should be asking, if Dragonfly was just "exploratory":

1) Why did Google CEO @SundarPichai meet privately w/ several Communist Party officials in the last year, including President Xi Jinping's top advisor Wang Huning, in an effort to get approval to launch Dragonfly?
2) Why did Google demonstrate several prototypes of Dragonfly to Chinese officials, & solicit their feedback, in an effort to gain Chinese government approval to launch it?
3) Why did Google set up a "joint venture" w/ a partner company in China for Dragonfly & get about 300 staff to spend in excess of 14 months building the infrastructure & writing the code for the system?
4) Why did Google's China president Scott Beaumont repeatedly tell staff working on Dragonfly, as recently as late July, days before it was publicly exposed, to get it into a "launch-ready state" to roll out within weeks pending approval from Beijing?
5) Why did Google search chief Ben Gomes in late July tell people working on Dragonfly to get it ready to be "brought off the shelf & quickly deployed"?
Let's see Google answer these questions & address the many specific details in my reporting over the last six weeks. Enough of the false statements & slimy off-record press briefings.
Here's a single page w/ links to all my reporting on Dragonfly so far, just updated w/ the most recent stories:…
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