US Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that Google "should immediately end development" of Dragonfly, a censored version of its search engine reportedly in development for China.
Speaking at the conservative think tank the Hudson Institute, Pence said that "the Dragonfly app... will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers."
Last month, as VentureBeat reported, Google's chief privacy officer Keith Enright acknowledged the existence of a project called Dragonfly during a public congressional hearing, but he did not explain what the project was. "I am not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of scope for that project," Enright told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Washington has shown increasing skepticism about the US tech sector's ties to China. Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern about Google's re-entry to the Chinese market. Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Trump administration banned government employees from buying tech from Chinese tech firms, Huawei and ZTE.
Pence on Thursday said "there is a new consensus on China rising across America," where more business leaders are "thinking twice before diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing's oppression."