Aug. 16 (UPI) -- At least 1,400 Google employees signed a letter to company leaders demanding more transparency over a project the tech giant is working on that could be accepted by the Chinese government.
The project is for a search engine designed to comply with the Chinese government's censorship laws. Google's employees said they need more information to determine whether it raises "urgent moral and ethical issues."
"Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment," the letter said.
In 2010, Google removed its search engine from the Chinese web over censorship. In 2016, the company began developing a new search engine -- code-named Dragonfly -- to be more compliant with Chinese government restrictions.
"That the decision to build Dragonfly was made in secret, and progressed even with the [Artificial Intelligence] Principles in place makes clear that the Principles alone are not enough," the Google employees stated in their letter. "We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we're building."
Although Google may be working on a Chinese search engine, it's not yet clear if officials in Beijing would accept it.
In audio recording of a meeting with employees obtained by The New York Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company was "not close to launching a search product in China."