A whistleblower within Google recently revealed project “Dragonfly” – a censored version of Google for China created to meet the demands of the government. It would block certain websites, including Wikipedia and BBC – and it’s dangerous news for free speech across the globe.

As the world’s largest single Internet market, China’s actions could influence digital decision-making worldwide for the foreseeable future. An informer spoke out on the issue:

The whistleblower who spoke to The Intercept said they did so because they were “against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people.” They also suggested that “what is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”

Patrick Poon, a researcher with Amnesty International, agreed with this assessment. Poon told The Intercept that if Google launches a censored version of its search engine in China it will “set a terrible precedent” for other companies. “The biggest search engine in the world obeying the censorship in China is a victory for the Chinese government — it sends a signal that nobody will bother to challenge the censorship any more,” said Poon.

Google pulled the development of this same web app in the past, citing concerns that government censorship limits overall free speech on the web.

Read more about this risk to global free speech on The Verge.

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