The Listening Post

Bowing to Beijing? Google’s Project Dragonfly

Google’s planned Chinese search app comes under fire. Plus, censorship in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

On The Listening Post this week: Google‘s planned Chinese search app comes under fire – not least from its own staff. Plus, surveillance and censorship in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Bowing to Beijing? Google’s Project Dragonfly

A few weeks back, we learned Google was working on something called Project Dragonfly, a new search engine for the Chinese market – one that would function in compliance with Beijing’s strict rules on censorship. In an organisation that talks up transparency – it is ironic that only a handful of the company’s employees knew about the project. When some of them caught wind of it – they leaked the details to an online news site, The Intercept.

Google has ventured into China before, in 2010. But back then it decided it couldn’t live with the censorship rules. So it pulled out. This potential re-entry into China signals a major policy U-turn, involving one of the biggest tech companies on the planet and the world’s largest market.


Ryan Gallagher – Investigative Journalist, The Intercept
Yuan Yang – Beijing Economy and Tech Correspondent, Financial Times
Siva Vaidhyanathan – Professor of Modern Media Studies, University of Virginia
Ann Lee – Economist, New York University

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about an informative CNN report covering aspects of the war in Yemen that don’t usually get much attention from the media.

Censored and Surveilled: The Digital Occupation of Palestinians

Palestinian journalists and activists are faced with two inescapable realities: surveillance and censorship. Since 2015, the authorities in Israel have arrested an estimated one thousand Palestinians for content published or shared online and the state has also taken down hundreds of Palestinian social media accounts – developing algorithms and a “predictive policing” program that monitors Palestinians in anticipation of them committing a “crime”.

But Palestinians also have to contend with their own authorities, the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, neither of which is known for tolerating dissent or criticism online.

The Listening Post‘s Tariq Nafi reports from the Occupied West Bank.


Nadim Nashif – Executive Director of 7amleh, The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement
Naela Khalil – West Bank Bureau Chief, Al Araby Al Jadeed
Rania Muhareb – Legal Researcher, Al Haq
Elia Zureik – Professor Emeritus in Sociology, Queen’s University, Canada