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Yahoo! Allegedly Helps Beijing Arrest a Third Reporter 219

reporter writes "According to a damning press release from Reporters without Borders, Yahoo has helped Beijing to locate, arrest, and imprison a 3rd reporter. This latest incident occurs about 2 months after Yahoo testified, under oath in front of Congress, that the company regrets being 'forced' to help Beijing." From the article: "'We hope this Internet giant will not, as it has each time it has been challenged previously, hide behind its local partner, Alibaba, to justify its behaviour. Whatever contract it has with this partner, the email service is marketed as Yahoo !' the organisation said. According to the verdict, Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) confirmed that the email account ZYMZd2002 had been used jointly by Jiang Lijun and another pro-democracy activist, Li Yibing."
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Yahoo! Allegedly Helps Beijing Arrest a Third Reporter

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:51AM (#15164364) Journal
    I read over Yahoo's Privacy Policy [yahoo.com] as these arrests are starting to interest me. If you translated the above url into Chinese, I'm sure that the entry below wouldn't come out in your favor:
    We have physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with federal regulations to protect personal information about you.
    Indeed, I see plenty of copyright but no privacy policy on Yahoo! China [yahoo.com.cn]. Yahoo! will leave that to Alibaba.

    Because these 'safeguards' will work both ways. They protect you but they also identify you by your access information (and worse) machine IP address stored in server logs. "Federal Regulations" here in the states means your identity should be protected (but we've all seen that start to ebb) while in China it probably means just the opposite. There, the government is a government 'of the people' which means it has a right to all information and property of the people. Without arguing against too much Marx & Engels here, I'm just going to say that it's not aligned too closely with my beliefs of a government's limitations.

    As Reporters without Borders states, the solution is obvious: move your servers to a country where "federal regulations" protects rather than ousts the end user. Yes, it's going to be slightly more expensive for Yahoo to host it out of the United States and there will be more network load for the internet. This would most certainly be a slap in the face to the Chinese government, however. Not as bad as moving the servers to Taiwan but still bad. I think that we should all watch this quite closely. If Yahoo moves the servers, then they are concerned about the Chinese citizens who want better human rights. If they leave them there and continue to allow the Chinese government to mine their servers ... well, perhaps they should change this page [yahoo.com] from "Consumer Protection" to "Mao's Red Server of the People's Republic."

    Honestly, the Yahoo! logo is colored red. It's missing a star or maybe a hammer and sickle ... but they're almost there.

    Have search engines become government whipping boys? Will Google kneel before the Bush administration while Yahoo! raises the population of the gulags?
    • Yahoo is not very likely to move their servers though. If they were to move the servers out of china to prevent this sort of thing, then the Chinese Government will just block all business from Yahoo.
      The and I am sure the Chinese Government is willing to use that as a threat to prevent Yahoo from doing such a thing.

      Money is always the deciding factor, lives are usually the last thing on the mind of executives. Just look at Ford and the Pinto fiasco.
    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:08AM (#15164508) Homepage
      Hammer? Sickle? Yahoo is doing this thanks to a love for money. Me things you have your signals crossed, it's not the hammer and sickle that are creeping into their logo, but rather its opposite, the almighty dollar.
      • Me things you have your signals crossed, it's not the hammer and sickle that are creeping into their logo, but rather its opposite, the almighty dollar.

        A little of both. Desire for money justifies (not really but for Yahoo!) compliance with the hammer and sickle rule of law.

        What's a shame is that people in opressive countries see these companies - Yahoo!, Google, etc. as bearers of the American brand of freedom - as idealistically as they may see it. So Yahoo! and Google and the like make their money

        • Ouch. Typical American ignorant arrogance.

          I have a considerable amount of exposure to people in the PRC, and here is some good news for you: nobody there is seeing American companies as bearers of freedom. Nobody is expecting American companies to do that. People are expecting American companies to give them the worldly conveniences that people in America are enjoying right now.

          But whatever is the case, you're definitely right on one point: Anything for that next dollar. And believe me, the people in China
    • Here in Beijing expat reporters have their knickers in a twist about Yahoo (HK), Jiang Lijun and Li Yibing. I have some sympathy for their position but, really, you have to apply a bit of common-sense and objectivity to this. The underlying sentiment, if not argument, is that what Yahoo (HK) and China did together would not happen in the US. Lets all move servers. Huh? Come on. The only difference between China and the US is that China for some reason is allowing Yahoo (HK) to speak to the press about
    • the solution is obvious: move your servers to a country where "federal regulations" protects rather than ousts the end user.

      Foreign governments can and do request information from each other for criminal investigations. In most countries there are no privacy laws that will protect you from a search warrant.

      There was a US law (I don't know if it passed) to attempt to permit the US government to force American companies to disclose any information to the US government irrespective of where the information is
    • Have search engines become government whipping boys?

      It is a known phenomenon that when companies become large and influential enough in an important sphere, they essentially become branches of government.

      Look at Boeing, AT&T, MicroSoft, ExxonMobil, Lockheed-Martin. All claim to be private entities, yet there's not a single honest man who could stand up and say out loud that they are not as intimately connected, if not more, with the US Government as a state body such as the IRS or the department of heal
  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:52AM (#15164369)

    Companies exist to make money. Period. Reporters Without Borders can plead with Yahoo! to end their collaboration with the PRC all they like, but as long as China has that big juicy carrot of marketshare dangling in front of Yahoo!'s nose, Yahoo! will do whatever the PRC wants.

    One cannot expect Yahoo! to turn away from such a lucrative market any more than one can expect a scorpion not to sting. It's what they do.
    • That's where Congress and the President have to step in. They have the authority to set foreign policy. Currently, the policy is to encourage trade with China. They can shut down China quickly by threatening to remove the favored trading status. "Do not force foreign companies to aid you in your opression, or the status will be pulled."

      Not that hard to do. It just takes balls on the part of the President.
      • by AndersOSU ( 873247 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:31AM (#15164701)
        Yeah, only China has us by the economic balls. If push comes to shove China will start to cash in some of the trillions of US debt that it is sitting on, the dollar will plummet and the economy will generally do some very bad things.

        The only possible responses are to sit there and take it, or launch a military counter strike, Does anyone really think there is an invasion plan for China that doesn't involve nuclear wepons?

        The US is in no position to push China around, in spite of the massive superiority complex we've been cultivating for the past 175 years.
        • Stop modding things like this flamebait. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
        • China could also flex its muscle by slowing down shipments, or blockading Taiwan. The entire US high-tech hardware sector would be unable to sell anything. Even those who don't manufacture their goods in China/Taiwan rely on just-in-time manufacturing and Chinese components.

          Apple would be unable to sell a single Mac, for example.

          This would be an adequate demonstration of power, without destroying the entire US economy.
          • Slowing down shipments might happen, but blockading Taiwan would be a military action, and it would be more effective and less risky to attack us economically, and let us flex the military muscle first.

            A slowly escalating conflict would be in China's favor, slowing shipments, increasing price of goods, liquidizing US holdings a little bit (billions) at a time. Moving on Taiwan throws us into immediate heated conflict which keeps China from milking us for years.

            Besides blockading Taiwan might crush the elec
        • if push comes to shove, the US will default on any debt that China holds, the Chinese economy will colapse.
          • Yes, I think that the relationship between China and the U.S. is more one of codependence than anything else; it's two countries 69-ing each other, if we must continue the sex analogy. Both of us have the other by the balls. China has a whole lot of paper that's only worth anything because the U.S. Treasury says it is, and the U.S. basically doesn't manufacture enough stuff anymore to supply our own needs for pretty much anything (except perhaps basic food staples).
        • Yeah, only China has us by the economic balls.

          We have each other by the balls... they need us just as much as we need them.

          Them slowing/shutting off shipments will hurt them as much as it hurts us because as everyone on /. likes to remind us of, America is a massive consumer of the worlds products.
          • If they can't sell to the US they will just use the goods themselves. The consumer will always suffer more than the producer when trade is cut off, since the producer atleast can consume his own goods while the consumer is left completly empty handed.

            Yes, China would also suffer some, especially since they are importing lots of raw materials. The west is however a lot more dependent on asia than vice versa.
        • No, we really have each other by the balls. China can induce inflation in our economy by dumping our cash. The US on the other hand takes in a huge amount of Chinese exports. If the US was to suddenly refuse to buy from China, China would be severely economically crippled. The US can just move their imports to some other country that pays their workers shitty practically over night. China on the other hand can't induce another nation to suddenly start consuming 1/5 of the worlds GDP over night so tha
      • It is hard to do when the Chinese are buying your debt and financing your war in Iraq. It's really hard when they have said president by the balls you don't think he has.
    • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:00AM (#15164441) Journal
      From TFA:

      In a paragraph headed "physical and written evidence", it says that a "declaration" dated 25 September 2002 had been found in the email draft folder, without specifying if this information had been provided by the California-based company. The access code could also have been provided by Li Yibing, who is suspected of having been a police informer in the case.


      Has anyone stopped to think that Reporters without Borders might be blowing this out of proportion? I'm definitely against the previous Yahoo shenanigans, however, it's extremely likely that the informant just handed over his password to the Chinese government, who logged in on their own without any Yahoo knowledge. Of course, the way the chinese legal system works, we will probably never know if it was Yahoo that provided the information or the informant.
    • One cannot expect Yahoo! to turn away from such a lucrative market any more than one can expect a scorpion not to sting. It's what they do.

      You're quite right (and using a scorpion as an example is a great one - as neither a scorpion nor a company are capable of understanding morality)

      You seem to be implying however, that a company should not be criticised for its actions within China anymore then a scorpion should be criticised for stinging. Am I correct in thinking this?
      • 'Criticised' is a rather ambiguous term...to clarify the issue, I believe some clearer terms are required.

        A company, like a scorpion, is by design incapable of understanding morality, and so cannot be held responsible for conducting business in an amoral matter.

        However, that is not to say that the company cannot be held accountable for its actions, if they are judged by moral beings to be immoral. If a dog mauls a child, we destroy it. Why? Is this a punishment to the dog? Revenge for the child and his/

    • One cannot expect Yahoo! to turn away from such a lucrative market any more than one can expect a scorpion not to sting.

      As business you're right, Yahoo! cannot be expected to turn away from such a lucrative market. However, as a group of human beings who make up the staff of Yahoo! they can be expected to conduct themselves in an ethical, moral, and responsible manner .. simply because they're people with brains. They *can* be expected to put life and liberty ahead of the mighty dollar.

      Sadly though, in capi
      • I was just going to say the same thing.

        Corporations are obligated to make money, though not through any means possible. They also have a moral and ethical standard to which they are obliged, yet a lot choose to ignore them whenever the mighty dollar is on the line.

        I can guarantee that if this ever hits the mainstream press, it will definitely chill Yahoo!'s business in the US, and that could be far more damaging than their 'potential' lucrative Chinese market... after all, they're probably making a nam
      • Sadly though, in capitialist* society is seems that money overrules everything else. That is a crying shame.

        Yeah, because in communist countries human rights are so well respected. Give me a break.

      • As a culture the West generally likes to anthropomorphize anything that involves more than three people, which fits in beutifally with our refusal to accept responsibility.

        Saying the buisness has to do it is to throw up our hands and declare it inevitable, the buisness can't be reasoned with, and surely there isn't some being with moral responsibilities dierecting its behavor.

        Sometimes our over-zealous anthropomiphization can be useful, as in, "Lets see what the economy is doing today." But more often it i
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe for unrestrained capitalism, but we certainly don't have to adhere to that. Frankly it turns my stomach that people would be so complicit just for the sake of dollars. I was just about as "touched" by the search engine companies' testimonies in front of congress as I was with the steroid using baseball players. It was a really hard decision to turn their backs on the ideals of this country for the sake of their stock price!

      One of my friend's dads made a profound statement about this when confronted wi
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That is the worst sort of fallacy ever proposed and on slashdot it seems to always appear whenever corporations do anything. People exist to procreate but I don't have license to go kill everyone else who might take a potential mate of mine. Corporations should be bound by the same ethical rules as people are, or, to put it more simply, corporate officers should be bound just as ordinary people are. Corporations are, after all, fictitious entities.

      Believe me, collaborating with repressive governments whethe
    • Indeed, and customers have a right to choose which companies they do business with. When Yahoo! operates in China, it should comply with Chinese law, no matter how evil it is. It is clear to us that Yahoo!'s Chinese customers prefer their service to no service at all (no-one made them sign up, probably, even if it's China).

      If Yahoo!'s pulling out of China would put pressure on the government to allow more dissidence, it would be good, but I doubt it: if Yahoo! pulled out the Chinese government would for

      • When Yahoo! operates in China, it should comply with Chinese law, no matter how evil it is.

        And when IBM operated in Germany, it should have given all possible assistance to the government in the vital work of efficiently rounding up Jews and sending them to death camps, right?

        • Nope -- my point was that if Yahoo! is to operate in China, they should follow Chinese law. I'd say that IBM should not have operated in Germany. Similarly I don't think Yahoo! should operate in China under the current conditions (one reason why I don't have a Yahoo! account). I still think Yahoo! pulling out won't help the people of China any, but it's a small step.

      • Indeed, and customers have a right to choose which companies they do business with. When Yahoo! operates in China, it should comply with Chinese law, no matter how evil it is.

        No.

        It is morally wrong to obey a bad law. It would be wrong of me to turn in an escaping slave back in 1810. It would be wrong of me to point out unregistered jews back in 1940. It would be morally wrong of me to turn over my Japanese-descendant friends back at the same time, and it would be wrong of me to cooperate with the poli

      • > So why do the people of the US care so much about lack of rights for the people
        > of China -- what about the Freedom of the Press and Due Process rights of Chinese
        > people in the US?

        Actually, you could s/Chinese//. I'm sure the Chinese people in the USA aren't particularly ill-treated. At least I haven't heard of any stories to that conclusion.

        I'm not an American, and I don't know enough of them to understand their thinking, but I'm always under the impression that they find it necessary to point
      • I considered modding you up, but I wanted to make a few other comments.

        I think you're exactly right that Chinese people can choose whether or not to use Yahoo and Google services. They can decide whether it is worth the risk to gain the benefits. One caveat is the fact that when Chinese citizens choose to use Yahoo, they may not be aware of the fact that they may be subject to disclosure to the government. Remember, a lot of what the Chinese government does against dissidents is not widely known in China. T
        • Regarding the Supreme Court decision on rights for non-citizens, I thought that it granted non-citizens rights from the Constitution, but not privileges. Except for things like the 14th Amendment, which explicitly says that it applies to citizens.

          Since when has the Supreme Court been bound by the Constitution?
    • Indeed. It's a huge pity that US companies were never more willing to put their shareholders' interests above the country's narrow national interest to assist the Soviet Union in improving its controls over its citizens freedom of thought and expression. There was a lot money to be made there and, perhaps, the communist system could have lasted a little longer.

      Seriously, the US recognises China as a major potential threat (banning all arms sales and getting very irritated with the EU when we were talking

  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Donniedarkness ( 895066 ) <[Donniedarkness] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:53AM (#15164381) Homepage
    And we give Google shit for being in China? Although, after they've set their stuff up in China, can we expect them to argue when the government demands something?
    • Re:And... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 )
      Funny thing is, that MSN and Yahoo cooperate fully with the chinese and all govs. Google does not. They appear to not send info the chinese gov. any more than they do to the american gov. OTH, both MSN and Yahoo fully "cooperate" with the gov. in the same way that IBM cooperated with 1942 germany.

      I do have to agree with Google that they are not being evil for flagging that data has been censored. If that is truely the worse that that they do, then they are not evil.

      I do have to wonder how much MS and Yaho
  • Blind eyes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:56AM (#15164400)
    The blind eyes being turned here are the eyes of Congress and the American government. So willing are we to have our cheap plastic home appliances that we refuse to stand up to government-sponsored persecution of freedom. The Chinese market is huge and the opportunities are boundless, but theirs is a government which does not value what we claim to value. In fact, it is questionable that we even value what we claim to value anymore.

    This bright shining city on the hill is now as bad as any Chamberlain or Frog. Unwilling to stand up to evil when it arises, and quick to appease enemies in the name of free trade.

    Free trade without political freedom is not free.
    • In fact, it is questionable that we even value what we claim to value anymore.

      Americans don't. Everyone complains about the Chinese communist government in a story like this, when a) China isn't even close to communist, and b) the capitalists are fully complicit, happily doing anything, no matter how distasteful, to keep the dollars flowing.

      "When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope." I'm sure the Chinese have heard this one. You cannot give absolute loyalty to both freedom and capitalism at t
      • Re:Blind eyes (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RexRhino ( 769423 )
        You counter-revolutionary capitalist running-dog! How dare you try to undermine the people's revolution in China by accusing them of being Capitalist!? You are obviously a capitalist agent, trying to create an insurgency to destroy the work of the great chairman Mao and the people of China! All those who oppose capitalism must oppose people like you! And we owe it to the people, and to the revolution, to stop your capitalist lies!

        The only way we can defeat capitalism is to confront and suppress the capitali
    • The USA government's responsibility is the USA. There are no obligations laid out in our constitution to "spread freedom" to the rest of the world; no matter what increasingly megolamanic rhetoric you have heard from Bush lately. Many people came to America precisely to escape non-free parts of the world and to make money. Your implications that we need to somehow force other countries to act the same way we do dims the brightness of that shining city on the hill, as well.
  • Boycot Yahoo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:56AM (#15164401) Homepage Journal
    Maybe its time we started boycotting Yahoo? This would mean amongst other things replacing people replacing own their Geocities pages with a boycot message.
    • Maybe its time we started boycotting Yahoo? This would mean amongst other things replacing people replacing own their Geocities pages with a boycot message.

      I hate to say it, but Yahoo is asking for a lot more than a boycot. When you start imprisioning and threatening the livlyhood of people over free speech - it takes things to a whole different level. I wouldn't be supprised at all if people started calling in death threats to Yahoo execs and bomb threats to Yahoo offices. People know darn well that th

  • Just weeks ago I commented on a slashdot story about Google censoring Chinnese search results. My opinion then was that Google was just "complying with local laws".

    Someone replied asking if it did not mattered if the country laws where broken to what I answered that no, it did not mattered.

    Last weekend I saw a movie called "The Corporation", I recommend it a lot. After watching it I changed my point of view. I hated corporations before watching it (I was 100% against Sony in the rootkit thing and started a
    • "changed my point of view." Kids! Quickly! Into the basement! Stay calm, its only the apocalypse.
    • ... and get rid of everything that you own that was created by a corporation. Your car, your computer, your iPod. Yes, your house or apartment was even was built by people working for a corporation. So go live on the street, naked, under a cardboard box - oh wait, that too, corporation. Dammit.

      The world is not black and white, you need to grow up and see the world as it is.
  • It isn't Yahoo's job to change the political climate in China, no more than it is Googles. Change in China will occur once the people demand it and other nations (not companies) apply pressure and lend support.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • True (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RedHatLinux ( 453603 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:08AM (#15164505) Homepage
      but Yahoo should try and avoid whoring itself out to one of the worse regime on the planet. Just as a common courtesy.
      • Re:True (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JPriest ( 547211 )
        Those reporters broke the law in China, if Yahoo is to do business there they must also play by the local laws. The only other option is to stop doing business in China. If you are going to demand they boycott the Chinese market over human rights why stop at Yahoo? What about all the other US companies doing business there?

        You sure have a strong opinion but I bet the cloths you are wearing and half the stuff in your house was made in China you hypocrite.

        • Actually, my clothes aren't Chinese made and I boycott Wal-Mart because of their Chinese made crap and adblock Google's because I am too lazy to change blogging companies.
    • I agree, it's not Yahoo's job to change how the Chinese government operates. However, it's definitely not Yahoo's job to assist the Chinese government in persecuting people. Your comment is essentially irrelevant. Likewise, it's not Yahoo's job to clean up crime, but that doesn't mean they can go around killing people.
  • by gregarican ( 694358 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:01AM (#15164452) Homepage
    If I was living in China and was promoting something that the strict, heavy-handed government there had declared illegal (even something as basic to most Western cultures as democracy and free speech) I certainly wouldn't be using Yahoo! Mail to communicate.

    Trafficing marijuana is likewise illegal here in the U.S. Sure some folks claim its a naturally growing plant that is one of God's creations. Nevertheless if I was corresponding back and forth with all of my contacts in Mexico I sure as hell wouldn't be doing it through GMail.

  • Simply for the fact that in order for China to change they must be brought into the world arena. The more you are in the world arena, the harder it is to get away with this kind of behavior.

    Remember that it was not that many years ago that you would have heard ZERO about this kind of stuff. Will China change? Ultimately yes, and they will change when they realize that suppressing human rights will not ultimately serve them to make $$$

    And besides gravitational physics, it's indeed money that makes the
    • Simply for the fact that in order for China to change they must be brought into the world arena. The more you are in the world arena, the harder it is to get away with this kind of behavior.

      But they ARE in the world arena, and they ARE getting away with it. That 1.5 billion person marketplace has businesses and governments falling over each other to keep China happy.

      Remember that it was not that many years ago that you would have heard ZERO about this kind of stuff. Will China change? Ultimately yes, and th
    • Will China change? Ultimately yes, and they will change when they realize that suppressing human rights will not ultimately serve them to make $$$

      I'm not sure why China should stop suppressing human rights when the greedy, brown-nosing behaviour of some corporate potentates effectively tells the Chinese government that it's OK to suppress human rights. Indeed, when pressure is applied, as in this Yahoo case, the potentates will actually help the Chinese authorities to suppress human rights. Historically,
  • Yahoo is operating a business in China so it is bound to act in accordance with Chinese laws. You cannot simply decide you do not agree with a countries law and you are going to ignore them.

    Obviously there is an ethical argument that maybe Yahoo should not be doing business in China but in the absence of any US laws prohibiting them from operating Chinese search engines and given the fact China represents a huge market its easy to see why Yahoo has decided to do business there.

    If Yahoo did pull out of China
    • Obviously there is an ethical argument that maybe Yahoo should not be doing business in China but in the absence of any US laws prohibiting them from operating Chinese search engines and given the fact China represents a huge market its easy to see why Yahoo has decided to do business there.

      So, it's okay to help a totalitarian regime wrongly imprision people, as long as you do it for money?

      I'm not sure you really understand what an "ethical argument" means.

      • The fact that China routinely imprisons, tortures and executes people is an ethical argument against doing business there the question is should Yahoo! be operating in China at all and if they are should they obey Chinese law.

        Since the Yahoo! shareholders have allowed them to operate in China and since the US government is happy to allow US companies such as Yahoo! operate in China, both of whom we could consider are aware of the ethical argument against doing so, then by all rational judgement Yahoo! is do
        • This is not a simple black and white issue and its totally pointless to point fingers at Yahoo! for supporting a state which everyone from the government down to the shareholders is obviously doing far more to support.

          I agree to some extent, but at the same time, Yahoo! is directly complicit and is, in this case, part of the problem. Your statement is correct that other people are also part of the problem, but I really don't think that it excuses Yahoo's behavior in any way.
        • Since the Yahoo! shareholders have allowed them to operate in China and since the US government is happy to allow US companies such as Yahoo! operate in China, both of whom we could consider are aware of the ethical argument against doing so, then by all rational judgement Yahoo! is doing nothing wrong here since both its government and its shareholders have given it a mandate to act as it has.

          Maybe you set your personal ethics to match whatever the majority decides, but I don't.

      • So, it's okay to help a totalitarian regime wrongly imprision people, as long as you do it for money?

        Let me translate the first part into a less biased statement.

        So, it's ethically and legally justifiable to provide legally compelled evidence to the appropriate government bodies, under the appropriate legislation when that information is used as evidence to try and potentially convict or imprison those found guilty of an offense.

        There are other governments which are wrongly imprisoning people. In some cases
  • by JeanBaptiste ( 537955 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:05AM (#15164486)
    I had no idea people still use Yahoo

  • "Hmmm...Yahoo has previously turned over information about my fellow dissidents. I wonder what service I should use for e-mail, or if I should encrypt the content of the e-mails I send. Nahhhh...too much trouble. Hey, Li, someone's knocking really hard on the door...go see who it is."

    Attention any dissidents that may be reading this. There are more secure ways to communicate than Yahoo Mail. Nothing against Yahoo Mail - I've used it for years, but I'm not a dissident.

    Hey, what's that knocking at m
  • by Internet Ronin ( 919897 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ninor.tenretni)> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:08AM (#15164515)
    Why is it that every time this issue comes up someone pops up with a supposed 'realistic worldview' defense of these companies?

    Everytime I read through another instance of China putting the kibosh on freedom and liberty, people here start picking up the "businesses make money, China has money, therefore businesses will screw anyone and everyone to make money" line of reasoning? Businesses aren't some unnatural entity that sprang forth, they are a collection of man-power, and resources, working towards a common goal. There is a *person* somewhere, saying "Toss the guy to the Chinese authority."

    The more people blindly accept the justification that "that's just how it is, I can't change anything," the less you ACTUALLY can change things. Don't give your power away to multi-national corporations, don't give it away to the goverment.

    I guess I just don't see what your policy advocacy says. Do we let Yahoo! off the hook for hosing people? Are you saying this just isn't newsworthy? That too much of your valuable time has been wasted or learning that Yahoo! is pulling some shady deals in China? Just let them get away with it, and stop talking about it because we're wasting our breath?

    Can't people speak out against a perceived injustice and have it mean more than a wasted breath? Sheesh, usually I'm considered the cynically one, but next to the average Slashdotter, I'm dancing in the land of fairies and make-believe and butterflies and rainbows.

    Quit shrugging your shoulders about a problem as fundamentally restrictive as this. The more people speak, the more can be done.
    • Clearly what Yahoo! should have done is to hire a private army, sent in some hard hitting accountants and auditers to control them and direct operations and offered their customer all the protection he needs even if that means a main strike on Beijing.

      I don't understand your position, on the one hand you seem annoyed that Yahoo! have to adhere to Chinese law and on the other hand you tell us to refuse to give any 'power' to the either companies or the government and thus deprive them of their power to do an
    • Yes. You are right.
      Instead of whining on slashdot, maybe you should do something as well.

      Like. Abolish capitalism, because capitalism is all about corporations making money as fast and as efficient as possible. Here's why: the "common goal" in capitalism is to make money. Nothing else, unless some other goals eventually make you money too.

      I guess you need to learn some logic. Capitalism and "making people do the right things" are logically inconsistent.
    • Everytime I read through another instance of China putting the kibosh on freedom and liberty, people here start picking up the "businesses make money, China has money, therefore businesses will screw anyone and everyone to make money" line of reasoning?

      Now this is not a troll, but my understanding is that, this line of reasoning is very close to the one Americans, the denomination of most Slashdotters, had for slavery when it was legal in that country.

      The workers/slaves are given a "better life" by being ex
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Q: What's your favorite search engine, and why?

    I once had a prospective employee answer Yahoo! I should have known that she was a bad apple just from that answer, but she was otherwise qualified so I hired her. What a big mistake. Turns out that she wasn't nearly as good as her references suggested, and she left with one days notice.

    Now I know: never hire anybody who claims to use Yahoo! as a seach engine.
  • China has laws. They will enforce those laws in their own country. If a company does business there they expect that company to follow the regulations / laws.

    So what happens when the government requests information? It is given. Here we can appeal there I would imagine you can't. You could resist but you'd get in trouble and probably hauled off to jail.

    Hmm what would you do as a manager in China at Yahoo? Risk your life or give up the information? Sure Yahoo could just kicked out of China but I'd bet
  • Yahoo has 2 options here. Follow the local law (cooperate) or choose to leave the Chinese market entirely (essentially boycott).

    But I just have to ask, since we are so demanding of Yahoo why are we not asking the rest of the companies in the US to also boycott China in the name of human rights? Why single out Yahoo?

  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:27AM (#15164666) Homepage Journal
    I said this last time, China vs. Yahoo! (and Google) came up, I'll say it again.

    Just as the FCPA [wikipedia.org] currently prohibits US companies from certain behavior abroad (primarily -- bribing foreign officials) -- FCPA-2.0 should also prohibit the anti-human rights disclosures, like the ones Yahoo! was forced to make.

    It is not going to be easy to make this law, but something is needed to give these companies a backbone and help them weather a foreign government's hostile action. Something like a threat of sanctions against the country demanding an American company's cooperation in an unjust (in USA's view) prosecution. Such sanctions ought to be automatic only requiring a US federal judge's approval.

    I'll be very glad to see such a law condemned as "imperialist" and US accused of "twisting" the tyrants' arms with it.

    • While I would like it if the American companies had a good excuse like that to keep from revealing personal info about dissidents, I see a few serious (fatal) flaws.

      1. Who gets to determine if a suspect is having his human rights violated? What happens while they are deciding?

      2. It would put a company in jeopardy of having to decide which of 2 laws to violate -- the Chinese law or the US law. What makes us think they're more likely to violate the Chinese law, when they're operating in China? I think they're
      • We are not engaging in the actual law-making. This is what Senators are for :-) But let's try anyway.
        1. Who gets to determine if a suspect is having his human rights violated? What happens while they are deciding?
        The company in question gets, say, 30 days to evaluate the request.
        2. It would put a company in jeopardy of having to decide which of 2 laws to violate -- the Chinese law or the US law. What makes us think they're more likely to violate the Chinese law, when they're operating in China? I think
        • I'm still not convinced that it would help, but you did well in answering some of the concerns. Your points on extradition and pitting the economies against each other are excellent.

          1. automatic sanctions against the country (China in your example) for harassing the company;

          That sounds good. But we already have sanctions against countries violating human rights. We just can't have too many sanctions, because we still want the benefits of trade with China.

          2. geometrically progressing fines for the comp

    • I agree, but we might as well forget about an FCPA-2.0 under the current administration.
      • I agree, but we might as well forget about an FCPA-2.0 under the current administration.
        Administration does not make laws. Consider a civics class and avoid such mindless partisan snipes in the future. Thanks.
  • Hey guys, check out our new feature at Yahoo! If you use Yahoo! and write about something your government doesn't like, we will help them arrest you!
    Yahoo, for all your tyrannical needs!
  • One thing that strikes me when the talk is on China and 'democracy' is that we just hear about how they arrest 'pro-democracy activist'; but we never hear any details about what these alleged activists actually stand for. It may be because I am blind and deaf and very, very evil (as well as stupid etc etc), but I can imagine many different kinds of activity that the activists themselves would describe as 'pro-democracy' and which others would not.

    The sad truth is, the one sure way to win a lot easy sympathy
  • It's the governments. If the US government wants to stop US Based companies from doing this sort of thing with oppressive foreign powers, it should take a look at it's foreign policies and trade agreements and also laws regulating corporate duties to foreign powers. The US government hasn't done a whole lot to restrict US business activity in China yet it has the power to do so. Pulling Yahoo and Google execs before Congress to testify about why they followed the lawful instructions of a foreign governme
    • Yes, that's why it's absolutely okay that companies made profit from collaboration with the Nazi-Regime in Germany. Melting jewish golden teeth into bars is a good deal to improve shareholder value.

      I learned at school in Germany that companies are responsible for the politics they support by their actions and that this is one of the lessons to learn from my countrys past.
      But obviously my teachers were wrong.

      I'll go investing into some company dealing with the organs of executed chinese people now.

      k2r
  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:58AM (#15164924) Homepage Journal
    Yahoo! is never notified by the Chinese government regarding the nature of crimes of the subpoenaed account. In any country the criminal law states that the organization (be it commercial, government or non-profit) has to provide the required documents if a court-issued subpoena comes in.

    When Chinese authorities come and ask for personal information on an account suspected of criminal activity, Yahoo! doesn't know whether the suspect:

    1) raped kids and made profit from child pornography
    2) disagreed with the Communist Party of China
    3) was a serial killer who concentrated on women and cute puppies

    Believe it or not, Chinese government doesn't actually clarify what they want the data for and how it will be used.
  • Here is yahoo china's logo, it all makes sense.
    The logo [putfile.com]
    Please reuse it, and/or make a better one.
  • The story says that Yahoo received a demand in China that was legal under Chinese law and that Yahoo turned over the information.

    Suppose Yahoo were to receive a demand in the U.S. that was legal under U.S. law. What do you suppose they would do? . . . Perhaps they'd file an objection, but if it was overruled, they'd turn over the information in the U.S., too.

    The only difference, if any, between what Yahoo would do in China and what they would do in the U.S. is in what info the government can demand.
  • by Asgorath ( 806125 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:26PM (#15168622) Homepage
    I must say I am a bit disappointed by most comments found here. I had expected smarter replies basically. It seems the mighty dollar overrules any sense of morality or interests in human rights.

    Comments about if you want to do business there you need to abide to their laws. Correct... so by doing so, you have decided money is more important then human rights. And in my eyes you are wrong. It's not a very solid defence really for Yahoo!. It basically says making a profit is more worthwhile then human rights. Because China is an economic powerhouse it has the rights to do whatever it wants.

    I guess those posters here also had no problems with companies like IBM supporting the Nazi's and doing business with the Nazi's when the US was wat war with Germany? Because hey, if you want to do business there, you need to accept their laws and as such you become absolved of any blame.

    So perhaps do business there, as long as you can do it on your own terms, those that respect human rights and decent moral values (don't tell me the mass executions and torture are just another set of moral values we should respect and it's all "culture"). China is not really a communist country, it's just a good old fashioned dictatorship, with the most executions of any country in the world almost. Who torture their prisoners and who do imprison people for simply opposing the government. When it's some minor (compared to China) dictator like Saddam we all cry havoc, when that dictatorship temps us with money it all becomes alright.

    So if your wife, husband (woops this is slashdot.. sorry wife's and husbands? :P), brother, sister, friend suddenly disappears, gets tortured (oh sorry, I mean re-educated according to "traditional" and "cultural" values) and perhaps murdered due to Yahoo! giving their details to an oppressive government you will still defend the mighty dollar over human rights? It's so bloody easy when it doesn't affect you directly. I wonder what the people being tortured right now would think about such high and mighty statements.

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