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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 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
1 hour ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.