Washington : Hundreds of Google employees have signed a protest letter over the company’s reported work on a censor-friendly search engine to get back into China, The New York Times said.

The employees are demanding more transparency so they can understand the moral implications of their work, said the Times, which obtained a copy of the letter.

It has been signed by 1,400 employees and is circulating on the company’s internal communications system, the newspaper said, quoting three people who are familiar with the document.

The letter argues that the search engine project and Google’s apparent willingness to accept China’s censorship requirements “raise urgent moral and ethical issues”. “Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment,” they say in the letter, the Times said.

Employee anger flared with a report earlier this month in The Intercept that Google is secretly building a search engine that will filter content banned in China and thus meet Beijing’s tough censorship rules.

Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and hacking. The new project is said to be code named “Dragonfly”.

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