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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaking at the Google I/O 2018 Conference. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

About 1,000 Google employees have signed a letter asking for more transparency from Google about the expected rollout of Dragonfly, a censored search engine designed for the Chinese market, per The New York Times.

Why it matters: Google withdrew from China eight years ago in protest of government hacking. Employees now want to know if the company’s willingness to acquiesce to Chinese demands to limit access to information online could violate Google's famous unofficial motto: "Don't Be Evil."

  • An excerpt from the letter: "Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment."
  • A Google employee told BuzzFeed News: "Google’s mission statement literally says, 'Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.' Censorship directly contradicts making information accessible. ... It’s like Google capitulating to an oppressive organization. … First it was the military industrial complex, now it’s China."
  • Worth noting: Even with the work on the revamped search engine, the Chinese government hasn’t approved Google’s return to the country — yet.

The other side: Some Google employees think a return to China is worthwhile, arguing it could bring better — even if limited — access to information to the world's largest base of internet users, especially since the company's exit years ago failed to spur the Chinese government to take any action.

Go deeper: How U.S. tech gets entangled in China's surveillance state.

Go deeper

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Education: More schools are reopening in the U.S.
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines.
Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Latin America turns to China and Russia for COVID-19 vaccines

Several countries in the Americas have received their first vaccine shipments over the past few weeks — not from the regional superpower or from Western pharmaceutical giants, but from China, Russia, and in some cases India.

Why it matters: North and South America have been battered by the pandemic and recorded several of the world’s highest death tolls. Few countries other than the U.S. have the capacity to manufacture vaccines at scale, and most lack the resources to buy their way to the front of the line for imports. That’s led to a scramble for whatever supply is available.

More schools are reopening in the U.S.

Students settle into a classroom in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

More than 72% of K-12 students are now attending schools that offer in-person or hybrid models of learning.

The big picture: The U.S. is seeing an almost-universal return of schools that were in-person as of November, as well as a gradual return in parts of the country that had been virtual for almost a year.