Yesterday, Googlers opposed to Project Dragonfly and bringing censored Search to China published an open letter. It now has 407 signatories, but a leaked letter from another group of employees today makes the argument that Google should follow through with Dragonfly.
The opposing pro-Dragonfly letter was acquired by TechCrunch today and repeats one argument made by Sundar Pichai. Namely, that organizing the “world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” — the company’s mission statement — requires reaching the over 1 billion users in China.
Dragonfly is well aligned with Google’s mission. China has the largest number of Internet users of all countries in the world, and yet, most of Google’s services are unavailable in China. This situation heavily contradicts our mission…
This letter has been circling for several weeks and is titled “Dragonfly is Google’s Mission, Too.” Featuring 500 signatories according to TechCrunch, there was always some internal support to bring Google’s major services back into China when the original news broke in August.
The Pro-Dragonfly letter does recognize the opposition to the project and fear or censorship and surveillance; points all echoed in yesterday’s letter, which grew from nearly 100 public signatures.
However, it argues that solving these challenges can “only be resolved by continuing effort,” but noting how carefully the implementation must be handled.
If we are not careful enough, the project can end up doing more harm than good. In any case, only with continuing efforts on Dragonfly can we learn how different approaches may work out in China, and find out if there is a way that is good for both the Chinese users and Google. Even if we fail, the findings can still be useful for bringing other services to China.
Sundar Pichai last spoke publicly about Dragonfly during an interview in mid-October. The Google CEO called it a project to see what Google looks like in China after eight years. He and other executives have noted that it is still early days for the project and that nothing has been set.