Protests at Google HQs in Toronto, Montreal Demand Google Scrap Censorship Effort In China

On Friday, January 18th, a coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uyghur, and human rights groups will protest outside Google offices and headquarters in Toronto and Montreal demanding that the internet giant scrap the controversial censorship collaboration with the government of China: “Project Dragonfly.”  The protests in Canada are part of a larger global effort calling on Google to protect free speech and human rights on Internet Freedom Day – commemorated on January 18th.

On Friday, January 18th activists will gather outside Google HQs with messages highlighting the risks Dragonfly poses to freedom of speech and internet security and calling on the tech company to end the project. They will also hand out leaflets to Google employees and the public. The organisers have stated that this will be the first of a series of protests that will continue until Google executives confirm that Project Dragonfly has been canceled.

At Google’s HQ in Montreal, Quebec:
WHEN: Friday, January 18th. 12:00pm LOCAL TIME
WHERE: 1253 McGill College Avenue, Montreal, QC H3B 2Y5
LOCAL CONTACT: Sherap Therchin | ctcnationaloffice@gmail.com

At Google’s offices in Toronto, Ontario:
WHEN: Friday, January 18th. 3:00pm LOCAL TIME
WHERE: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2G4
LOCAL CONTACT: Sonam Chokey | sonam@studentsforafreetibet.org

Project Dragonfly is a search app targeted at the Chinese market that has been under development by Google since at least 2017. The app would comply with the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s tight internet censorship laws and would restrict searches for forbidden or sensitive topics, including ‘human rights’, ‘democracy’, ‘Tiananmen’ and ‘Tibet’. The app would also facilitate state surveillance in China by linking users’ search history with their telephone numbers.

Since the launch of the campaign, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the United States House Judiciary Committee on December 11th. In response to questioning about Project Dragonfly , Pichai dismissed concerns on the grounds the project is a ‘limited internal effort’ with ‘no plans right now to launch’ the service ‘right now’. While the status of project Dragonfly has become more complicated over the past month, former and current Google employees doubt that the work on Dragonfly — which has always been shrouded in secrecy — has come to end.

Since the launch of the campaign in December 2018, over 50,000 people have already signed petitions or written to Google, calling on the company to halt its development of Project Dragonfly and commit to an open and free Internet.

Protests will also take place in Australia, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Argentina, Chile, and the US.

The coalition of groups launching the global day of action on Internet Freedom Day includes the World Uyghur Congress, Free Tibet, International Tibet Network, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute, Tibet Society, SumOfUs and other activists from Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur communities.

 

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