The outcry from employees related to reports that Google has plans to launch a censored search engine in China that will blacklist access to certain websites and restrict search terms related to human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, according to leaked documents.
When tweets from a New York Times reporter indicated that someone was providing her with the internal discussion, many within the company appeared to react with anger, according to sources.
The Intercept's report stated that Google had diverted resources to create custom apps for China, which had been demonstrated to the members of the Chinese government. Google can ply its staff with all the free food and ping-pong tables it wants, but it looks like its employees' vigilance and righteousness aren't going anywhere any time soon.
In the email through which the letter was being circulated, two employees said that individuals "organizing against the latest dubious project can not be our only safeguard against unethical decisions", according to BuzzFeed News.
The former employees said they doubt the government will welcome back Google.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin also spoke to the staff Thursday at the company's all-hands meeting, saying that Google isn't compromising its principles. Google has so far refused to comment on the matter.
With the secret project, Google employees are reportedly anxious that they might unknowingly be working on technology that could help China hide information from its people.
The project, known internally as Dragonfly, was developed largely in secret, prompting outrage among employees who anxious they had been unwittingly working on technology that would help China withhold information from its citizens.
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Google later said in June that it will not allow its artificial-intelligence products to be used in military weapons.
But the project is shrouded in secrecy, and employees are demanding transparency.
Web users in China can't access Google's service because the government there blocks it as part of its sweeping censorship infrastructure, known as the "Great Firewall".
Google has since ended its AI contract with the Pentagon.
It's worth noting that Google's top management hasn't yet spoken on the Dragonfly project.
He also said that development is still in the early stages, and that sharing information too early could quote "cause issues".
Google now has no presence in China after it removed itself in 2010 over censorship concerns.