Tags: lajeunesse | google | china | censorship

Ex-Google Executive Ross LaJeunesse: Company Caved to China

a google booth at the smart china expo in 2019
A Google booth at the Smart China Expo in 2019. (FeatureChina via AP)

By    |   Friday, 03 January 2020 07:53 AM

Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse is ripping the company and claiming it put profits over human rights in business dealings with China.

He made his comments in a Thursday post on Medium. LaJeunesse is the ex-head of international relations for Google. He is now a Democratic candidate for Senate in Maine.

LaJeunesse said he joined Google in 2008 — two years after the tech giant entered the Chinese market.

"Over the years, the list of items that the Chinese government demanded we censor grew significantly," he said.

As a result, LaJeunesse noted Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to cease cooperating with the China's censorship requirements.

"We knew this would cause a very public confrontation with the government, although we were never sure how bad it would get," he said.

"Our 2010 decision to stop cooperating with Chinese government censorship on search results was the first time a non-Chinese corporation stood up to the Chinese government."

He acknowledged he was "intensely proud of the principled approach the company took."

But in 2017, he learned of the company's development of a censored search product for China.

In turn, he recommended the adoption of a company human rights program that would publicly commit Google to "adhere to human rights principles found in the UN Declaration of Human Rights."

He said each time he advocated for the program, he was turned down.

LaJeunesse maintained he was eventually pushed out of his job and offered a smaller role if he kept silent.

"But for me, the choice was as clear as the situation," he said. "I left."

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Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse is ripping the company and claiming it put profits over human rights in business dealings with China.
lajeunesse, google, china, censorship
Friday, 03 January 2020 07:53 AM
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