Google launched an application in November allowing citizens to report what they consider instances of blasphemy to the Indonesian government. People found guilty of such laws face a maximum of five years in prison.
The so-called Smart Pakem app was created through the Google Play platform and allows users to report “deviant” religious ideas directly to Indonesian authorities. The country’s anti-blasphemy laws target “those who disgrace a religion” or who otherwise express “hostility” to religion.
Indonesia recognizes only six religions, including Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, among others – atheism is not represented. More than 125 people were convicted of blasphemy in Indonesia between 2004 and 2014, according to Human Rights Watch.
“Google has greatly benefited from the freedom to share information globally,” Stephen Evans, chief executive of Britain’s National Security Society, wrote in a Dec. 6 letter to Google. Evans’ group works to repeal blasphemy laws around the world.
“We ask it and other multinational companies to consider whether they can in good conscience profit from the repression caused by governments’ crackdowns on free speech,” he added. Google received negative reports recently after reports showed that the company sought to block Breitbart from ads.
Breitbart obtained the emails and published them Monday night, one day before Google CEO Sundar Pichai was set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. A Google spokeswoman confirmed the email’s authenticity to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Google employees discussed ways to manipulate search results after President Donald Trump announced in January 2017 his initial travel ban.
A group of employees brainstormed ways to counter “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam,’ ‘Muslim,’ ‘Iran,’ etc,” as well as “prejudiced, algorithmically biased search results from search terms ‘Mexico,’ ‘Hispanic,’ ‘Latino,’ etc.”
Google has not yet responded to The DCNF’s request for comment about what the company intends on doing about the app.