Google's China search project reportedly spurs concern from US lawmakers

This comes after protests from some Google employees.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
Google logo is seen on a mobile phone
Getty Images

Google's effort to re-enter China is getting attention from Congress.

A bipartisan group of 16 lawmakers sent a letter to Google on Thursday asking if the effort meant the search giant would comply with China's internet censorship and surveillance policies, according to Reuters.

Google is reportedly working on a censored version of its search engine for China, which would grant it entry back into the country eight years after initially retreating.

The project, reportedly dubbed "Dragonfly," spurred a protest by 1,000 Google employees last month. Some employees, including Senior Research Scientist Jack Poulson, have also now reportedly resigned in protest.

The lawmakers said they had serious concerns regarding the potential search project and asked if Google would "ensure that individual Chinese citizens or foreigners living in China, including Americans, will not be surveilled or targeted through Google applications." They also asked how the search giant would notify users in China about restrictions Google is adhering to.

To assuage employee concerns, Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly said last month that the search giant is "not close to launching a search product in China" but that it's thinking about how to do more in the country.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.  Neither did Rep. David Cicilline, who signed the letter to the company. Co-signer Rep. Michael McCaul declined to comment beyond the letter.