UK attacks Google over China censorship and failure to remove child abuse content

  • British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt slammed Google for not cooperating with Western governments to remove child abuse content.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has previously called on tech companies to respond more quickly to terrorist material and child abuse content.
Google has expanded its Google for Jobs initiative, launched last summer, to feature a job search tool that uses AI technology. The company believes it will radically change the online job-seeking experience.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google has expanded its Google for Jobs initiative, launched last summer, to feature a job search tool that uses AI technology. The company believes it will radically change the online job-seeking experience.

Google has been criticized by a prominent U.K. lawmaker for not cooperating with Western governments to remove child abuse content, while reportedly planning to launch a censored search engine in China.

"Seems extraordinary that Google is considering censoring its content to get into China but won't cooperate with U.K., U.S. and other 5 eyes countries (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) in removing child abuse content," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter Thursday.

"They used to be so proud of being values-driven..."

It was not immediately clear what the minister meant by Google's lack of cooperation on pulling child abuse content.

Google and the U.K.'s foreign office were not immediately available for comment.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has previously called on tech companies to respond more quickly to terrorist material and child abuse content distributed on their platforms. Several U.K. lawmakers have issued similar calls to large tech firms, arguing they aren't doing enough to tackle such content.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks to the media in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks to the media in Berlin, Germany.

At the start of the month, Google was shrouded in controversy after a report by The Intercept claimed it was planning to introduce a censored version of its search engine in China. The effort has been dubbed "Project Dragonfly," according to the report.

The company withdrew its search product from China in 2010, citing heavy censorship and an escalation of cyberattacks originating from China.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has said the firm wants to expand its services in China but that it is "not close" to launching a search service there.

Meanwhile, Google is under political pressure in the U.S. after President Donald Trump came down on the tech giant for what he claims is "bias" against conservatives. Trump on Tuesday accused the firm of altering search results to prioritize negative coverage and left-leaning outlets. He warned that the issue "will be addressed." Google denies the allegations.

And on Wednesday, Trump claimed Google twice snubbed his State of the Union speeches, while promoting Barack Obama's during each year of the latter's presidency. Google later responded to this claim, saying it did promote Trump's State of the Union address this year, but not in 2017.