Politics

Plea to Google engineers to oppose Russian censorship

Apple aRussian
Feb 11

https://medium.com/@rev.sam.doe/plea-to-google-engineers-to-oppose-russian-censorship-e8dd56179867

Google has started scrubbing its search engine to comply with Russian censorship laws. Under these laws, information that the Russian government arbitrarily considers “undesirable” may be censored. I implore Google engineers to oppose this decision.

I’m a software engineer at Apple in Cupertino. I was born in a provincial city in Russia, where people have no hope, and die of alcoholism in their 50s. Putin has been President since I’ve been old enough to know what the word means, and I’m 30 now. I can’t ever return to my homeland — I’ll explain why in a moment.
In Russia, all of the media is either owned or harshly controlled by the government: TV networks, radio stations, newsletters, advertisement agencies, etc. They all impose a relentless stream of Putin regime propaganda upon my poor, oppressed, degraded nation. My people are told that “Russia is endangered by its enemies,” and “enemies of Russia” include “the gays and the lesbians” who will “molest the children”, everyone who dislikes Putin, and the “dangerous cult”of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who should all be “locked up”.

There is only one medium with which my fellow Russians can raise themselves out of ignorance: the Internet.

It is the only way they can find out that gay people are humans, not monsters who deserve to be rounded up in Chechnya, tortured until they give up the phone numbers of all gay people they know, placed in concentration camp by the hundreds, then quietly executed with no trial.

It is the only way they can find out that there are political prisoners in Russia, boys and girls who spend their youths in prison — just like I did when I was 18 years old — for protesting on the streets with banners that say only, “Putin, resign!”, or only for reposting a picture (this is why I cannot return).

It is the only way they can find out that their country has been stolen from them by Putin and his fellow oligarchs, that all official “unions” are colluding with company owners against the workers, and that independent union organizers are routinely beaten up and imprisoned.

It is the only way they can know the extent to which Putin has transferred the wealth of my country to his corrupt friends, at the expense of ordinary Russians. How else can my people discover that Putin’s regime stole our present and our future; that the regime’s yachts, football clubs, and palaces in every corner of Europe and the United States are balanced by the poverty and the misery of Russians doomed to live in grayness, to die without proper medical care?

The Internet is the only way for Russians to learn about the assassinations  —  oh, so many assassinations, the way too many assassinations  —  of the best sons and daughters of Russia: her journalists, political, human rights, and environmental activists, whistleblowers, human rights lawyers, and businessmen, all of them guilty of opposing Putin. Assassination, torture, and imprisonment left my poor nation humiliated, blind, deaf, stripped and beheaded, and left each of my old friends with holes in our hearts.

I plea to my fellow engineers at Google to oppose Google’s complacency with Russian Federation political censorship, just like they successfully opposed Project Dragonfly and Project Maven — for the freedom and the very lives of my people.

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  • Google / Engomaewamou
    I support the Russian government, unlike the US government and propaganda machine, they're not waging more than 7 wars all over the world.

    They're also not supplying ISIS with training and weapons, ISIS the organization that sells women in auctions and brutally murders anything that is against their belief like gays.
    Feb 1121
  • Facebook Zuccy
    I fully support you, but I'm afraid this will fall on deaf ears.
    ПТН ПНХ
    Feb 1124
    • Bloomberg D&ISlayer
      Negro is still acceptable. Not used that much, but it’s not considered derogatory.
      Feb 11
    • Facebook Zuccy
      Yeah ok kindly go call some black co-workers that word and revert back to us on how it goes 😂
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      I'd understand your position on this if you weren't calling opponents "vatnik" at the same time. So get off your horse.
      You trolled a bit, had your fun, now move on.
      Feb 11
    • Facebook Zuccy
      False equivalence. Vatnik indicates political views and mindset, not national origin. Btw I don't think it was even created by Ukrainians
      http://lurkmore.to/Ватник
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      And khohol used to indicate people living in Malorossia, not only Ukrainians.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      hey Vatnik, I consider you Vatnik, and myself - proud Russian. How about that usage?
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      And I consider you a motherfucker but who cares as long as I politely keep my opinion to myself and not jump around with "mothefucka to gilyaka" etc.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      I’m Russian, tell about your “gilyaka” fantasies to any of your Ukrainian coworkers.
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      Dude, liking your own replies is lame.
      Feb 11
    • Facebook Zuccy
      1) "Malorosia" doesn't exist anymore
      2) So Berdichev Jews would also be considered "hohols"? Come on, be honest, that word is merely a condescending way to address Ukrainians, even the ones who live in Russia or elsewhere
      Feb 11
  • Microsoft Thidhtefhd
    OP, you mentioned, that you’re 30 now and spent time in prison when you were 18. So, you were in prison in 2007. Can you please elaborate, which political movement you were associated with at that time? It was hard to become prisoner for political reasons in 2007. What exactly did you do?
    Feb 1121
    • Flagged by the community.

    • Salesforce op
      @microsoft probably not overstating, just cannot differentiate between "jail", "prison", and "being detained for couple of hours".
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      I spent a year in jail. I know the difference between those things.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      (I don’t really know difference between american usage of words “jail”/“prison” so I do use them interchangeably. Год в СИЗО)
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      Was it hard to simply answer the question without calling people "swines" etc?

      I am genuinely interested in hearing the details and your experiences in jail/dealing with police and the judicial system.
      Feb 11
    • Flagged by the community.

    • Salesforce op
      голову в СИЗО отбили.
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft Thidhtefhd
      OP, you’re not capable of having normal discussion without offending people who can have different opinion or just ask questions. Regardless of what happened to you in the past, regardless of discussion topic or political agenda.
      Feb 12
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Salesforces translation “they beat your head in prison until you became an idiot”
      Feb 12
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Microsoft, thank you for your assessment of my discussion capabilities. I’m not your congressman.
      Feb 12
  • Flagged by the community.

    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      “Shut up, traitor”
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      I’m sorry that you have fallen the victim of propaganda. please read the plea
      Feb 11
    • Bloomberg D&ISlayer
      We know about your pleas. There are Russian people - and they are in the majority in Russia - who don’t agree with you.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      you want say that Russian people, majority of Russian people, want to block access to the information about corruption of Russian officials on the internet from Russian people? If they don't like this information, no one forces them to read it.
      Feb 11
    • Bloomberg D&ISlayer
      No, Russian people don’t want information about corruption to be blocked from them. They do want however want the state to have the authority to block some information on the internet.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Have you read roscomnadzor list? Its mostly politics.
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft iiieeegemm
      Russian people actually want parts of the internet censored?

      There really is no hope for Russia is there
      Feb 11
  • Apple woodo
    As if Google cares about it. They care about money only. Their motto "don't be evil" is total BS
    Feb 115
    • Morgan Stanley jumpornot
      With the new CEO
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Google company and it’s CEO may not care, I don’t care if they do or not; I plea to Google engineers - I believe there are kind people amongst them.
      Feb 11
    • Google / OpsHuhf13
      I love hearing Apple folks accusing others of greed.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      We are engineers. We work for wages, we got no greed. What is paid to us is ours. CEOs and boards of directors are greedy.
      Feb 11
    • Apple woodo
      @Huhf13 1st I didn't say Apple is not greedy. 2nd - don't recall Apple helping Russian/Chinese/US government in suppression of free speech.
      Feb 11
  • Microsoft sup?sup!
    This is total BS if you think the media etc is not controlled by the government anywhere else. Besides , I don't believe any president is forcing alcohol into your throat just to kill u. Grow up.
    Feb 115
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Perhaps it’s controlled everywhere. I plea for Russian people.
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      Situation with alcoholism has significantly improved since Putin took power. And I remember Brezhnev's, Gorbachev's, and Yeltsin's times.

      Not to attribute this to Putin personally, but that's what a few years of predictable economic situation and opportunities do.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      The plea is not about alcoholism, it’s about censorship. Please read it.
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      I did. Too much klyukva mixed in.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      klyukva there to put links at. read version on medium and click through links
      Feb 11
  • LinkedIn / Engbored🐷
    Why would a profit-seeking enterprise care about your ideology? Why would any Google engineers risk their career for your thinking?

    You should create your own uncensored search engine and try to operate it in Russia or anywhere YOU think has too much censorship.

    You could also plead your case with Google’s CEO. Or you could just mind your own business.
    Feb 114
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      I can't care less about Google's CEO. Who he is? Some asshole who need profit and will collaborate with Hitler to get it. I plea to my colleagues - Google engineers, some of them won't be deaf to my plea.
      Feb 11
    • LinkedIn / Engbored🐷
      If you go ahead and plead your case directly to the CEO then you are admirable. Calling for Google employees to revolt against their company while remaining anonymous yourself is manipulative.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      LinkedIn, I don't work at Google. If id be working at google id be writing the same plea but in internal message board.
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft shagamosgu
      So you run from the country who literally implemented the slogans : "Workers of the world, unite", yet now you are raising the same slogan in a country that has been doing quite well for a while. 😂
      Feb 14
  • Amazon 1nsider
    So you are asking Google engineers to put their careers on the line to fight Russian censorship, but at the same time you are too afraid to use your own name, because Apple might censor you? Am I getting this right?
    Feb 118
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Well yes, that's correct. But its Google engineers - they post shit like that in their internal communications, remember James Damore?
      Feb 11
    • Amazon 1nsider
      Vaguely, whatever happened to that guy?
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Besides, why would I use my name if I don't have to? It's not about me, it could have been written by any Russian. It's about brutality of Putin's regime and about censorship that Google helps it to implement.
      Feb 11
    • Amazon 1nsider
      Anyways I’m sure that we will see a new wave of resignations from Google now that you demonstrated such strong leadership.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      what do you mean? What "leadership", and what "resignations" are you talking about? What parts of phrase "plea to oppose" are unclear?
      I "plea" to google engineers to "oppose". I don't lead to nothing, I don't tell them to resign (what a liberal bullshit - "I don't like what my company is doing so I resign"). I can't really ask them anything - im nobody from russia, so I "plea".
      Feb 11
    • Amazon 1nsider
      Historically that’s how Google engineers have opposed management: by resigning from the company(see project Maven). What other real actions do they have?
      Feb 11
    • Amazon 1nsider
      With regards to real name it gives a post much more credibility. Any random person on the internet can say: “I’m oppressed Russian engineer at Apple in my 30s”, but it doesn’t make it so. If you put your real name, then all of this becomes verifiable. People will be a lot less skeptical about your personal background and potential bias.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      I have tons of bias, it’s completely disclosed in the text. I spent time in prison for protesting Putin.
      Feb 11
  • Microsoft Thidhtefhd
    Do most Russians want Google to follow Russian laws or follow “no censorship” policy. I bet, first. Admit it. Russians want it. Google has to be a commercial company, following laws in every country they operate. It’s not Google’s job to fight against Russian government, if Russians don’t want to.
    Feb 116
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      "most of Russians want to censor internet, so they wouldn't see info they don't like, for example info about mass torture and executions of gays in Russia. Also, most of Russians don't like gays."
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      Russians don't have to like gays. Most Russians tolerate or ignore them unless someone overly flamboyant decides to get into one's face. Also note how many openly gay artists area on Russian TV and nobody cares.

      Fwiw I lived in two blocks from gay club in Russia. It peacefully existed for two years until owner was busted with few kilos of cocaine and ecstasy. all the flamboyant gays in local trams had no troubles commuting there.

      Chechen wildlings are another story but alternative is the 3rd Chechen war and I doubt that OP will volunteer to fight for the gay rights other than by shitposting from the couch in Cupertino.

      The law is the law. I leave it up to Russian citizens who (unlike myself) reside in Russia to deal with it. Google's job is to either follow it or GTFO. The latter won't be a tragedy as there is vaible (arguably better) alternative to it already.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      so you would support inmprisoment of gays in Hitler's Germany, just like you support inmprisoment of gays in Putin's Russia, because "law is a law?". And you would be ok with American company complying with this law?
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      Please quote me the law which requires imprisonment of gays in Russia just for being gays. And since there is no such law just quit your bullshit.
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Well, Kadyrov did that without any law in Chechnya. Do you deny that?
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      Chechnya is mostly lawless (except for tribal rules) territory that is paid ransom to in hope that it will reach at least level of mid 19th century and can be reasoned with later.

      I, personally, support giving (forcing) them independence under conditions of getting all chechens from Russia there and building the wall around. Surprisingly currently chechens are the ones who most aggressively support being a part of Russian Federation, I think majority of other ethnicities will be ok with not having to deal with them.

      Again, quite me the law that requires imprisonment of gays.
      Feb 11
  • Salesforce op
    Yandex supports this message.
    It will grab even more market.
    Feb 112
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Yandex implemented censorship back in 2010 or so. Google is the search engine in Russia if you want to find non government sponsored material.
      Feb 11
    • Salesforce op
      And Yandex will get even more market when Google gets blocked in Russia. That's why Google will implement filters, dance lezginka, etc.
      There is already viable (even having more market share) alternative to Google in Russia.
      Feb 11
  • Uber / EngnYf6sJ
    So this "my censor is good your censor is bad"
    "google is not gov so it can censor whatever it wants"
    "you don't have to use google no one forces you to"
    game doesn't play well to the liberals?
    Feb 112
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Read the plea, google is not choosing what to censor, Russian government makes a list and forces google to censor it.
      Feb 11
    • Uber / EngnYf6sJ
      Ahhhhh, exactly.
      Russian's censor is evil but Google's censor is good???
      BS!

      btw it's not the Russian gov "forces" Google to censor. No one forces Google to stay in Russian market.
      Feb 11
  • Google / OpsHuhf13
    So, we don't censor in Russia and our entire operation gets kicked out of the country. OP, what then?

    You present a false dichotomy. We aren't doing this shit because we have a choice
    Feb 111
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Google, please share my plead in internal Google forums - its just a plea, I can't decide for Google engineers what to do, but I'd like them to read it!
      Feb 11
  • Google iv3a8k
    Sad fact: Google and other tech companies do not give a singular fuck over matters of ethics, just the bottom line.

    Short of Congress grilling Sundar and threatening business sanctions this will continue.
    Feb 111
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Google, could you please share my plea in internal google forums?
      Feb 11
  • Amazon 1nsider
    Still does not answer my question: why do you post under an alias, if you want to be taken seriously? Is it because you are making stuff up?
    Feb 112
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Because my company may not take lightly posting cross companies calls to action publicly
      Feb 11
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Well, open the medium post. Every stuff that I “make up” linked to the verifiable news sources in English
      Feb 11
  • Amazon 1nsider
    OP is govnistyi khohol looking to gall Russians at every opportunity. Prove me wrong.
    Feb 111
    • Apple woodo
      You just proved that you are govnistiy kremlebot, so there is no need to prove you wrong. Your grandfather probably worked for NKVD, right?
      Feb 11
  • Google / Engstatusz
    As if eng has this kind of power. This place is totally run by MBAs now
    Feb 111
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Please share my plea in the internal google forums - I’d like google engineers to read it. Fuck MBAs.
      Feb 11
  • Amazon 1nsider
    Why do you post under Sam Doe and not your real name? It doesn’t seem very credible to me. Anyways you got your responses about how people feel.
    Feb 111
    • Apple aRussian
      OP
      Some people obviously feel butt heart because they are victims of Kremlin propaganda.
      Feb 11
  • Uber / EngnYf6sJ
    Google has no moral ground to reject Russian censorship.
    Cuz they do censorship themselves and for US gov already.
    Feb 130
  • Amazon tier1
    Cool story bro
    Feb 110

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