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Google & # 39; s China plan encourages research from US legislators, departure of staff

Google & # 39; s China plan encourages research from US legislators, departure of staff

(Reuters) – A twofold group of 16 US lawmakers asked Alphabet Inc & # 39; s Google (GOOGL.O) on Thursday if it would comply with China's Internet censorship and surveillance policy if it were to enter the Chinese search engine market again.

FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is shown during the start and technology summit Viva Tech in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS / Charles Platiau

The questioning has contributed to the pressure on Google to disclose the precautions it would take to protect the security of its users if Chinese regulators allow the operation of the search engine.

More than 1,000 Google employees, six US senators and at least fourteen human rights groups have written to the company that expresses concern about its Chinese ambitions.

On Thursday, Jack Poulson, a researcher who had worked for Google for more than two years, said he resigned because he felt the company was not adhering to human rights standards when designing the search app.

Poulson told Reuters that executives would not tell him where the company would draw the line to agree with Chinese requirements.

"Unfortunately, the almost unanimous response in the course of three very vocal weeks of escalation was:" I do not know either, "Poulson said.

He was one of the few who resigned, he told the online publication Intercept, which first reported on his action.

Google refused to comment directly on the legislators' letter or the resignations, but said in a statement that it had "invested many years to help Chinese users" and described the "work to seek" for China as "exploratory" and "not near launch."

Reuters reported last month that Google was planning permission from the government to provide a version of its search engine in China that blocks some websites and search terms.

Members of the US House of Representatives, including Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans, said in their Thursday letter that they were "serious worries" about the possible step.

The letter asked whether Google would ensure that individual Chinese citizens or foreigners living in China, including Americans, are not monitored or targeted by Google applications. & # 39;

Representative David Cicilline, a democrat and signer of the letter, wrote on Twitter that "Google should not help China to talk loudly about freedom of expression and political differences."

Other signatories include Michael McCaul, a republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.

The company could ask questions about China if it testifies about privacy issues for a Senate panel on 26 September.

House magnate leader Kevin McCarthy, a republican, said Tuesday that Google would be invited to testify on a number of issues. He wrote on Twitter that Google had collaborated with China and Russia on censorship, but no longer wanted to do a technology deal with the US Department of Defense.

Google's main search platform has been blocked in China since 2010, but it has attempted to open new avenues to the world's largest smartphone market by users.

Google's re-entry is not guaranteed because China has conducted more research into business transactions with US technology companies, including Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Edited by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney

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