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Yahoo Sued for Giving User Information to China

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-yodeling-at-the-moment dept.

The Internet 114

taoman1 wrote with news of a CNN article about a suit brought against Yahoo! for alleged aiding in human rights violations. The World Organization for Human Rights USA has filed suit against the search company for (so the suit claims) assisting in torture by revealing information that led to the arrest of dissidents. "The lawsuit cites federal laws that govern torture and other violations of international law. Plaintiffs included jailed dissident Wang Xiaoning and his wife, Yu Ling, who was visiting San Francisco this week as part of the group's campaign. Sklar said he knew of three other cases, but the dissidents were reluctant to join the complaint for fear of harm to their families living in China. Among those three dissidents is journalist Shi Tao, who was sentenced in 2005 to 10 years in jail."

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Just visiting? (2, Interesting)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804841)

Plaintiffs included jailed dissident Wang Xiaoning and his wife, Yu Ling, who was visiting San Francisco this week as part of the group's campaign.
Something makes me think they're going to have a really shitty time when they get back to China.

Re:Just visiting? (0, Flamebait)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804883)

Plaintiffs included jailed dissident Wang Xiaoning and his wife, Yu Ling, who was visiting San Francisco this week as part of the group's campaign.
Something makes me think they're going to have a really shitty time when they get back to China.
With a name like that that they'll have a hard time wherever they go.

Re:Just visiting? (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805005)

All your info are belong to us?

Re:Just visiting? (2, Interesting)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805007)

Concubine anyone?

Re:Just visiting? (3, Informative)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805199)

Before modding a post "off topic" (the parent to this), one may suggest looking up "CONCUBINE" somewhere to see that it is used in China to punish women in one way or another. Those who don't pay their taxes or have family issues MAY end up in a concubine. THIS is practice throughout the world, in Saudi and Turkey.. as well as other middle-eastern countries. How my comment is off topic as much as any above mine, is completely mind-blowing to me.

Re:Just visiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806291)

Before modding a post "off topic" (the parent to this), one may suggest looking up "CONCUBINE" somewhere to see that it is used in China to punish women in one way or another.

So, how exactly is Concubinage [wikipedia.org] on topic here?

Re:Just visiting? (0, Flamebait)

R.A.Ahrens (1089659) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807097)

Quote from said wikipedia page: "Involuntary, or servile, concubinage involves sexual slavery of one member of the relationship, typically the woman." This is possible to happen to Wang Xiaoning's wife, Yu Ling, because of them being openly involved in this situation. Possibly worse things happening to Wang himself. Because the chinese just roll like that.

Re:Just visiting? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807187)

Moderator thought you said "Columbine"...probably

Re:Just visiting? (1)

Twisted64 (837490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808493)

Those who don't pay their taxes or have family issues MAY end up in a concubine.
Even if the odds aren't good, this seems like a win-win situation to me with regard to taxes. Unless the concubine is a cannibal.

Re:Just visiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809157)

Those who don't pay their taxes or have family issues MAY end up in a concubine.

Maybe one of the moderators who modded this up could comment on what they think 'ending up in a concubine' means. Seriously, WTF?

Re:Just visiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809881)

come one, we all know what they were thinking, it's our fantasy to be *in* a concubine!

Re:Just visiting? (1)

uhlume (597871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813963)

Tell you what — since you're the one making this surprising and thusfar unsupported claim, why don't you share with us some of the supposed preponderence of evidence for this punitive practice in modern China?

I'm prepared to believe a lot of things about China when it comes to human rights violations, but the fact that I've never heard anything about this practice, coupled with my failure to turn up any support for your claim on a quick Google search tends to make me think you're probably trolling.

Re:Just visiting? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805109)

she wont probably go back.

Re:Just visiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806259)

Huh? Unless she has a green card, she entered the United States as non-immigrant, and therefore has to go back, when her visa expires.

Re:Just visiting? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806293)

political asylum request. even if u.s. doesnt grant, many european countries would.

Re:Just visiting? (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807293)

Yeah they will just punish her lover... Sum-Tin Wong

Re:Just visiting? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810123)

It would be overextending it too much i think.

Re:Just visiting? (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806277)

Don't worry, they will by all means find support to stay in the USA due to "political oppression". Why do you think there is a lawsuit in the first place?

Re: Just Visiting (1)

Kleinbottler (1090817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808885)

Yes, the Chinese campaigners will very probably get an unfriendly reception back home. China is doing its best to be warm and cuddly but on some things it simply will not change. But hang on a second. The reason we found out about Yahoo's cooperation with the Chinese authorities was that there was nothing in Chinese (HK) regulations to stop that information from being made known to the public. The big difference is that the US (and other western countries) have similar if not identical regulations and laws. The US Patriot Act makes it a felony to admit in any way any cooperation with the authorities or any action those authorities take regarding you and your use of Yahoo services. Its absolutely illegal, its an American state secret. Unlike China (and HK where the original request to Yahoo (HK) was made) in America you are not allowed to know if the authorities have requested information on you (this also applies to your local library where your book borrowing habits must be made secretly available to the authorities upon secret request). Companies like Yahoo are obliged to obey the law of the place they have a presence and that means handing over information when requested according to law. I know it feels good to have a hack at the Chinese but really in terms of law and regulation they are marginally better than the USPA where you cannot know of any official interest. So, shine a light on yourselves before you cry "Sic Semper Tyrannis".

Re:Just visiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810079)

Um, I believe _he's_ jailed in China _already_ and SHE's the one in SF - she could have filed on his behalf (as homicidal as that sounds, since china HAS him already). The writer of the précis could have worded it better.

Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evil" (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804869)

Therefore, the defense rests.

Hey, it's good enough for slashdotters.

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (1, Funny)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805003)

Therefore, the defense rests.

That's Google you pillock.

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (-1, Troll)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805039)

Sorry, in my frustration I copied the wrong quote, I'll start again:

Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evil"

That's Google you pillock.

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18805135)

Thats sarcasm, you pillock you

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805165)

In fairness, the *full* statement is, "Don't be evil, unless necessary to advance the broader interests of the human race."

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806907)

In fairness, the *full* statement is, "Don't be evil, unless necessary to advance the broader interests of the human race."
And what's good for the broader interests of Google is good for the broader interests of the human race?

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (2, Funny)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805255)

That's Google's tag-line. I guess Yahoo's is "Do lots of evil!" that and "We're #2!" and/or "At Yahoo, we're so closely tied to AT&T we thought it our duty to turn in anything any government asks for, warrant optional!" :P

Re:Your Honor, Our Mission Statement is "Do No Evi (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806719)

When I was an employee at BigY, it was not uncommon for engineers to cheer mock-enthusiastically about how psyched we were to have achieved second place.... yet again.

The engineers (at the time anyway, can't speak to now) definitely seemed to "get" that management was willing to settle for second way more often than we would have liked.

Why do people even deal with Yahoo? (-1, Troll)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804903)

What do they offer that anyone wants, that can't be better served elsewhere? This is a serious question, not a troll.

From my limited past dealings with them, they're appropriately named - a bunch of "yahoos," they are.

Re:Why do people even deal with Yahoo? (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804979)

Well, yahoo maps seems to normally outdo mapquest, but that's really about it. 8 years ago, I loved their directory services, which has now gone to utter crap.

Hmm (1, Troll)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804919)

It seems that Yahoo has been sidelining basic ethics when exploring new revenue streams. Well deserved IMHO.

Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissenters (2, Funny)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804951)

Yahoo could just respond to requests to provide names of people who use online forums for political dissent with a standard response like, "The culprit you are looking for is a Mr. Chin."

Re:Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissente (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805201)

Nah, it's Simon Jester :D

Re:Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissente (2, Funny)

Shiny One (983480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805341)

In other news today, everybody with the family name Chin disappeared mysteriously today.

Authorities were quoted as saying, "there never was a Chin family name."

Re:Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissente (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806123)

well.. there never was... the name Chin doesn't exist in chinese... maybe Qin, but that's extremely rare anyway...

Re:Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissente (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806767)

My uncle's name is Chin. Well that's his personal name, not his family name.

Re:Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissente (1)

freakxx (987620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807269)

dont worry then...he will not disappear and remain your loving uncle and you can visit him for long time until the government decides to tun down first-name Chins also :-)

Re:Yahoo can comply without screwing over dissente (1)

Wite_Noiz (887188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809509)

The Sun reports it as "China Chin-less" Ay thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal

Matter (4, Insightful)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 7 years ago | (#18804973)

So when will The World Organization for Human Rights USA bring suit against George W for allowing torture in the detention camps?

Re:Matter (2, Funny)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805061)

They won't - it'll be The World Organization for Human Rights China that does that.

Re:Matter (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805077)

International law doesn't apply to the country with the biggest army.

Re:Matter (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805411)

which would be china right?

(obligatory futurama)
in the korean war china realized the US soldiers had a preset kill limit, so they threw wave after wave of their own men at them until they stopped.

i forgot who it was who said it, but they were so buried in soldiers they weren't retreating, but "advancing in the other direction".

Re:Matter MOD Parent up (4, Insightful)

wondercool (460316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805311)

Very good point

Check http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html [un.org]

Where to begin??? Guantánamo Bay

USA is in violation of (at least):
Article 7.
            All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8.
            Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9.
            No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10.
            Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Re:Matter MOD Parent up (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807465)

Dude nobody said US is completely clean. We never were 100% compliant with the constitution and other civil rights issues. Thats why I don't like it when we poke fun of other countries. It is a big propaganda cycle.

Re:Matter (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808523)

We've already seen such cases dismissed by federal courts because the administration has cried "state secrets." While even a cursory glance at the groups website shows their displeasure with such measures, there's little that could be done in federal courts.

Re:Matter (1)

mikallang (1013057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810837)

see its comments like this that hurt americas image. say bush really doesnt want torture but some minion of his decides on it anyway. you think people are gonna out the minion doin the work? no but you cant blame bush completely right? personally i believe in certain forms of torture. anything that doesnt break the skin or leave permanent mental scarring is a-ok in my book.

Cost of doing business (5, Insightful)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805011)

in the Ars article they said Yahoo claims that it is simply following local law and that it has no choice but to comply with legal requests from the Chinese government if it wants to keep doing business in that country. If Yahoo had existed during WWII would they have ratted out Jews to Hitler? But I guess it's okay as long as they can turn a dime.

Re:Cost of doing business (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805097)

Wow.... my quoting skills are apparently ftl.

Re:Cost of doing business (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806003)

I was under the impression that some/many US companies supported the Nazi party prior and even during WWII.

Re:Cost of doing business (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806861)

Well some claim IBM supplied the Nazis with machines to keep track of the Jews.

http://news.com.com/2009-1082-269157.html [com.com]

Re:Cost of doing business (2, Informative)

jellie (949898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807035)

That's true, but Yahoo (their local branch, whatever it's called) is also based in Hong Kong. So they could challenge the request in Hong Kong courts. Or just tell China that they had no information.

Re:Cost of doing business (1)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807607)

If Yahoo had existed during WWII would they have ratted out Jews to Hitler?


Godwined [wikipedia.org] on the 5th post. Good one.

Re:Cost of doing business (2, Interesting)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807917)

Also from Wikipedia

Godwin's Law does not apply to discussions directly addressing genocide, propaganda or other mainstays of the Nazi regime
Do you suppose any of they've done to this guy, or to anyone else they consider "subversive" or "destabilizing" might fit under "mainstays of the Nazi regime"?

Re:Cost of doing business (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811151)

I hate that "Godwin's Law" bullshit. It's basically an admonition against learning anything from the mistakes of the Nazi regime.

Re:Cost of doing business (1)

swb (14022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813757)

What's ironic about it is that people advocating naughty behavior in the name of PC/left-wing causes are the ones most likely to use it; what I find amusing is that they invoke a rule prohibiting the Nazis to suppress discussion!

Company Motto (5, Funny)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805049)

Yahoo! needs to take a page from Google's "Do no evil"

I vote for Yahoo!'s new company slogan to be, "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."

Seriously, what did they think the totalitarian Chinese government was going to do with this personal information? Create some targeted advertising?

Dear political dissident:
                      Have you heard of our new state-run work-camps? Your advanced computer skills are needed by the government. If you reply within the next 24 hours we'll promote you from "Wikipedia Article Revision" to "Pornography Censorship".
      Love,
            China


Inexcusable.

Re:Company Motto (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18805607)

Do people really think that the Chinese would really go to any company (especially a foreign one) and ask, "We'd like you to help us track down a dissident so that we can suppress him or her."

What they did was say something like, "We'd like to track down a suspected criminal." Yahoo (nor any other company, for that matter) doesn't have the option of replying, "Well, we'll give you the information if it's for a certain kind of crime, but not for the ones we don't agree with." They have to comply with the law or faces trouble themselves.

And for the Google fan-boys who think Google would have never done that, I call bullshit. They just haven't been asked to yet. But they have shown that they are just as willing to aid Chinese suppression just as much as any other corporation. Remember the censored Chinese Google search? One could even argue that Google harmed more Chinese citizens (all Chinese users) by agreeing to censor itself than Yahoo did (one Chinese user).

Anyway. Whatever.

Re:Company Motto (5, Informative)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805907)

Not quite.

From http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com mand=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyId=17&articleId=9017 182&intsrc=hm_topic/ [computerworld.com] :

According to the lawsuit, the Chinese court specifically relied on evidence supplied by Yahoo to identify and convict Xiaoning. The judgment noted that Yahoo HK informed investigators that a mainland China-based e-mail account (bxoguh@yahoo.com.cn) was used to set up Xiaoning's "aaabbbccc" Yahoo Group, and that the e-mail address ahgq@yahoo.com.cn, which Xiaoning used to post e-mails to that Yahoo Group, was also a mainland China-based account maintained by Xiaoning. The Chinese court said Yahoo was instrumental in causing Xiaoning's arrest and criminal prosecution, according to the lawsuit.
Looks like Yahoo knew exactly what he was doing and led the authorities to his doorstep. It doesn't matter what doublespeak was used in the request, Yahoo had the facts in front of them.

As for Google, they have refused to give out personal information before. I am disappointed in their actions regarding censorship, but I don't see how you can compare it negatively to the torture and imprisonment of a citizen.

Re:Company Motto (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808635)

Yahoo (nor any other company, for that matter) doesn't have the option of replying, "Well, we'll give you the information if it's for a certain kind of crime, but not for the ones we don't agree with.
Yes they do. They can either:
1) subsume the fines
2) Pull out of China and help support dissidents who try to subvert China's censorship programs in order to access Yahoo.

Or alternatively they can be good little Nazi^H^H^H^HChina sympathizers and help them track down the Jews^H^H^H^Hcriminals.

Re:Company Motto (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809593)

They just haven't been asked to yet.

Not true.

"After being threatened with fines from Brazil, Google has agreed to hand over personal information regarding criminal activities stored on Orkut's servers."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 [insideorkut.com]

:o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18805219)

Among those three dissidents is journalist Shi Tao, who was sentenced in 2005 to 10 years in jail.
Shit, ow! :x

oooh the dilemma! juicy! (-1, Offtopic)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805295)

ooh the dilemma for the republican dominated courts!

on the one hand we have their track record for unwavering support for multinationals.

on the other we have their professed villification of terrorists and human rights abusers.

I can just picture their heads exploding right now! (especially souter's!)

Re:oooh the dilemma! juicy! (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805505)

Somehow I don't think they're going to run into a lot of Republican judges in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

But feel free to review their records here: http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/judges.nsf/ [uscourts.gov]

Re:oooh the dilemma! juicy! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805605)

yees, but these are two intrenched opponents, one has tons of money to throw at the case, the other has enough money and ethical convictions to see it through. there will be appeals going on for years.

This is why I'm not taking international clients (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18805337)

Until the world lawyers figure the new laws out. So they would have been banned, sued, and possibly extridited and tried in China if they didn't comply and sued if they didn't?

Well, not working directly for international clients anyway. My boss would have to deal with the headache then...

Big Deal (0, Offtopic)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805585)

The US gov't deals favorably with CHina every day
other US corporations manufacture their goods in China every day
US citizens buy the products made in China every day

every day we empower china with our $$$ and our looking away...

Re:Big Deal (2, Insightful)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806373)

Exactly so - and everytime an American dufus (people will soundly insult me for suggesting this, of course) buys from Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Nordstrom's or Old Navy, they are enriching the Chinese Red Army, which is the owner of record of all those various factories.

Then the Chinese Red Army, via the Department of Public Security, rounds up those dissidents, tortures them to death, preserves their remains, and ships them to the USA and elsewhere, where those traitorous fools and half-wits, pay the Chinese government for the privilege of viewing those murdered dissidents' remains - it's called the Bodies Exhibition, to be found in LA, NYC, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle. Boy is that ever totally f**ked up.....

Re:Big Deal (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806677)

must be a bunch of people feeling guilty sitting in their made in china pants wearing their made in china shoes typing on their made in china computers that sits on their made in china desks to mark this off topic...

You have it wrong (1)

BamZyth (940235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18812253)

The political agenda from the occident is to encourage changes in China, not by isolation but
through greater exchanges.

We should not feel guilty to enjoy our Chinese goods.

However, a line is crossed when you actively participate in the persecution of a man based on his political beliefs. Basically what I say is: wanna deal, yeah. But take care of your dirty stuff alone.

Spineless (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18805679)

Hey Yahoo, grow some fucking balls and stand up for your users.

A little message for Jerry Wang of Yahoo (0, Troll)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805751)

Finally, the prospect of a little justice. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel says he believes in improving the customer experience. I'm not sure ratting on your customers to a repressive, totalitarian regime is the experience they were looking for.

BTW Jerry Wang (Director of Yahoo), thanks for those plans you stole from the Chinese Military. My buddy who works for the intelligence community said the spy masters were really impressed by your work. Jerry Wang I heard they are asking you to steal secret plans for the Chinese Jin ballistic missile submarine! You must be a real busy guy being a Yahoo Director *and* a spy. Enjoy your next visit to China, Jerry. Maybe you'll get to meet some of your 'customers' there!

Re:A little message for Jerry Wang of Yahoo (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18805939)

Well yes, it is a troll. But only a troll for the Chinese Intelligence Services! ;-)

YOU% FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806163)

Issues with international companies (2, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806469)

It's interesting how it's essentially impossible to do business without breaking laws now. If they hadn't given away this information, they would now be having the Chinese government talk about how Yahoo must hate freedom and doesn't respect the laws of their country.

I know a lot of people must be thinking "well, the decision is obvious, they should have followed the American laws instead since ours are more free", but remember that Yahoo actually has workers in China. If Yahoo didn't conform to Chinese laws, they would undoubtedly be hit with some kind of penalties, likely trickling down to their employees. This is probably not an issue they thought of when they opened offices in China.

Of course, Google has offices in China also. It'll be interesting to see what their solution is if the Chinese government gets sufficiently pissed off at them.

WWGD? (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807543)

Google would do the same thing Yahoo did. They are a corporation. A corporation's #1 goal is to make money. If they didnt they would be failing their shareholders. I remember when communist used to be bad, but since you can make money dealing with communist china its now ok.

Re:Issues with international companies (5, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807651)

Then Yahoo simply shouldn't be doing business in China. Yes, it's impossible to conduct ethical business in a country with a horrific human rights record [hrw.org] . I don't see why this should come as a surprise to anyone.

This is probably not an issue they thought of when they opened offices in China.
Very funny. Of course they know, they just don't give a shit. That's why they handed over this information. Anything for the sake of making money.

Re:Issues with international companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809525)

Then Yahoo simply shouldn't be doing business in China. Yes, it's impossible to conduct ethical business in a country with a horrific human rights record [hrw.org]. I don't see why this should come as a surprise to anyone.

You mean a country like america?

Guantanamo?
Flying "alledged" terrorists through european countries to the middle east for torture?
Iraq?

etc
etc
etc?

Pot, kettle, black!
America should learn that their laws only apply to AMERICA not the rest of the world. Whilst I dont condone the actions of the chinese government, they are not under the law of america!

South Park Episode (0, Offtopic)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806705)

This should be an episode.

O.K., children, Yahoo! is evil, mmmmKay?

Just asking for clarification... (1, Troll)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807373)

OK, just want to get this clear...

It's bad when American companies - like Yahoo! - abide by foreign laws and courts, releasing information as required by foreign governments.

It's good when American companies - like Microsoft - are sued because they do not abide by foreign laws and courts, and do not release information as required by foreign governments.

Just want to know what the heck the standard should be... I guess it depends upon who you are...

Oh, and for those who will come back and say "But it's RED CHINA!", I'm sitting in a factory in Dongguan right now, working with those same "evil Chinese"... Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to go grab a bit of breakfast, and schedule my flight back to Shanghai tomorrow.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (4, Insightful)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807621)

"Just want to know what the heck the standard should be... I guess it depends upon who you are..."

I can see why you're confused. You appear to be missing your moral compass.

The issue transcends government laws. Imprisoning and torturing someone for having a different point of view is despicable no matter what the law on one piece of dirt says. Assisting and participating in that incarceration makes one equally culpable. The managers and executives of Yahoo! went along with this crap just so they could avoid some legal hassles and, I suppose, make extra time for that golf game on Saturday.

That's why Yahoo sucks, and this lawsuit will hopefully succeed.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18808941)

No it doesn't transcend government law. The employees of yahoo or any other company working in China are obligated to follow the law of that country. Whether you agree with the law is beside the point. Yahoo can choose not to do business in china but it cannot choose which laws to obey and which it can ignore once it is in china. Just like companies in the US cannot choose which laws they want to obey and ignore regardless of what they think of said laws.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18811003)

Yes, it damn well DOES transcend government law. The laws of any country are rendered null and void when they violate a person's basic rights. Human torture for 'political dissent' is not acceptable. Aiding someone performing human torture for 'political dissent' is also not acceptable.

You sir, are a depraved individual with the ethics of a monster.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807745)

I think the idea is to scare international companies with lawsuits to stop them rolling over to totalitarian governments. E.g. if you look at WWII, lots of companies complied with local laws when they used slave labour. But that didn't stop them getting sued a long time after the governments that made the laws got obliterated.

So if you're an American company doing business in China now, you need to weigh up the benefits of complying with morally invalid laws made by a tiny ruling clique to screw the rest of the population with the risk of getting sued once that clique gets replaced by a more representative government. If lawsuits like this didn't happen, companies would just do whatever the junta of the country they were doing in wanted if it made them money.

Actually, if I were doing business there and I was so close to the bastards who run the place that I sold dissidents to them for short term commercial gain, I'd have more immediate concerns about my personal safety should they lose power. Maybe I'm cynical, but I suspect the Chinese are likely to be a lot less forgiving of foreign collaborators than Chinese ones once the revolution comes.

Enjoy your flight back to Shanghai!

Re:Just asking for clarification... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18808841)

Today Iraq, tomorrow Shanghai.

Even if we have to fry 9/10th of the populace over there, the children of the survivors will thank us for bringing in Democracy to their land, and for our sacrifices (just like how the Japs thank us now).

Re:Just asking for clarification... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18808893)

You mean just like how the Iraqis thank us now.

The Japs are thanking us for being the only reason why China hasn't already reduced them to a pile of ash in retaliation for what they did to China during and prior to WWII.

Should it be surprising that we are backing yet another war criminal?

Re:Just asking for clarification... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809481)

Even if we have to fry 9/10th of the populace over there, the children of the survivors will thank us for bringing in Democracy to their land, and for our sacrifices (just like how the Japs thank us now)

The US would never (I hope) fight a war with China, since it would inevitably turn nuclear. Even if it didn't, the Chinese would fight, unlike the Iraqis, and make any military action too costly to contemplate.

Mind you, other Asian countries have made a transition to democracy once a middle class develops. And if you look at Hong Kong, it's a sort of poison pill to the Chinese Communist party. They want the money, but they don't want the relative freedom to spread. But if they clamp down too much in Hong Kong, the money will leave.

I've been to Hong Kong and mainland China, and it's still in HK possible to buy books on Tiananmen, or that very critical biography of Mao. And in China where you can't, CNN cuts off when Hong Kong is even mentioned - even if you watch it in a hotel occupied almost entirely by foreigners. It does when Taiwan is mentioned too, but that's less of a problem, since they can always portray the Taiwanese as enemies. HK is part of China, so it must be painful for them to have to put a firewall up between the mainland and it.

There's a fair chance IMO that Hong Kong will achieve full democracy in a decade or so. And the CCCP can't keep news of that away from the people at home. Also, if you look at the coverage of nail houses [virtual-china.org] , people inside China are becoming more assertive.

Of course the government can crack down, but they are under commercial pressure to respect the rule of law. My guess is that their absolute power will get gradually eroded away by these sorts of pressures, just like their KMT rivals' power did in Taiwan. In fact I've met overseas Chinese people who told me that they left because the somewhat feudal system back home made it impossible to make any money without the government confiscating it.

So China will most likely become a democracy through peaceful evolution, to use a phrase that hard liners prior to Tiananmen used as code for an American plot to assimilate them. It's possible if the economy has some kind of crash that the CCCP will be swept away more violently though, which is the reason that if you're a foreigner doing business there, it's probably a bad idea to help them. Narrow legalistic excuses about complying with local laws won't help you if there is some sort of revolution. Foreigners tend to be targetted when there is political turmoil in China too.

But I don't think Iraq will democratize any time soon, since there's not much chance of a politically powerful middle class forcing the government to behave. Not that there was before the invasion either mind you. I think there will be a civil war after the Americans leave, and then a new dictator will emerge.

I suspect in fact that there's a link between the Iraqis total inability to form a useful army and the fact that they are pretty much doomed to tyranny. So there are countries which you can invade like Iraq, but you can't introduce democracy. And there are countries which you can't invade which will probably develop it themselves like China.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813629)

The US would never (I hope) fight a war with China, since it would inevitably turn nuclear. Even if it didn't, the Chinese would fight, unlike the Iraqis, and make any military action too costly to contemplate.

I don't know about this. It would depend on what the war was over, and where it was being fought.

If the war was about China trying to invade the US, I think they'd fail miserably, with only a few conventional weapons used. China has lots of soldiers, but soldiers can't march across the Pacific Ocean; they need boats. China's navy is not very powerful, and doesn't have much "blue water" capability. They'd be sitting ducks if they tried sending millions of soldiers over in boats. Plus, when they got here, it'd be much worse than Iraq, just because our people are well-armed.

If the war was about the US fighting some war with China on the Asian mainland, things would be very different. But then you'd have to ask why are we fighting a war with them on their own land? What business do we have over there, risking our soldiers, when that country presents no real threat to us at home? Of course, that's exactly the case with Iraq, but hopefully we've learned our lesson for the next 30 years or so, just like we did with Vietnam. So in another generation, after we've forgotten how stupid it is to get involved in land wars on other continents with countries which aren't a threat to us, war with China may be a real concern.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809569)

You mean that you're in China, reading an article on the internet that's critical of the Chinese government, and interacting with people outside of your internet-bubble? Americans, even, like myself?

I hope the secret police aren't knocking your door down already.

No one is going to be tortured by the EU, in Microsoft's case they're just trying to maintain competition in the marketplace. The Chinese gov't has much more "sinister" goals.

There's no double standard here. Those two examples are very different cases. Basic human rights aren't being threatened in one of them, and that's why it's seen differently ... it doesn't depend on who you are, it depends on what's at stake, what the goals of the "foreign laws and courts" are.

I worry about our brothers and sisters in China who aren't allowed to say what they think, kept silent by the gov't that tries to suppress all dissent and keep them from contacting us ... hell, I wouldn't be surprised if you were writing this /. post in a Chinese gov't building as part of a Stalin-esque propaganda mill -- give the message that "everything is alright" to the outside world while the suffering populace is bullied into silence.

The U.S. isn't the picture of morality, I'd love to change plenty of things here, but at least here I'll never be sent to prison for criticising an elected official.

Re:Just asking for clarification... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810005)

You mean that you're in China, reading an article on the internet that's critical of the Chinese government, and interacting with people outside of your internet-bubble? Americans, even, like myself?

As far as I know slashdot isn't blocked in China. I've seen people claim to be posting from there before.

And when I was in China, I was able to make a VPN connection back to my company's network in Europe. In fact I actually had this conversation

Me: Shit, shit, shit. Can't get a dialup connection from my laptop with this phone, but the setup looks ok.
Chinese dude: <gives me a different mobile phone>
Me: Wow it seems to have connected, I'll try VPN. Seems ok, I can connect to the server...Actually I'm surprised you can use VPN here.
Chinese dude: Why?
Me: Because people can't see what you're doing.

Then there was a really awkward pause in the conversation and I realised I might be moving the conversation into an area which might put him at risk and I changed the subject. The Chinese dude lived in Hong Kong, but we were just over the border in the mainland. So he presumably knew what I meant, since Hong Kong isn't as repressive as China, but decided it was not something he wanted to discuss even though it was late at night and we were the only people working.

Yahoo Hong Kong did it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807781)

SO does it related to US Law and court actually?
Unfortunately The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in Hong Kong said that Yahoo Hong Kong is doing the right thing, not violating Hong Kong Law.

God Damn it Hong Kong is decaying, but we can do nothing as a HongKonger.

in Yahoo's defense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809189)

OK, I'm underwhelmed by Yahoo's response to this, and I wish I could believe their execs thought that the civil liberties of a billion Chinese were perhaps almost as important as last quarter's numbers (which sucked, by the way)....

HOWEVER, in Yahoo's defense -- any internet provider that runs a large email service (Yahoo, Google, AOL, MSN) gets dozens of subpoenas every week requesting specific users' emails. The subpoenas do not tell why the emails are being requested. Yahoo or Google can't tell if the cops are after a child porn suspect, a Nigerian 419 scammer, or the latest suspect in the Abramoff scandal. The guy who handles the subpoena is an administrator in the legal department -- a clerk, unlikely to raise a stink if he sees something that seems fishy.

I suspect the same thing is true in China. One might hope that the clerk retrieving the emails might notice, "Hey, these aren't child porn, they're just political stuff -- maybe we should push back." It would be great if, say, company policy were to review such requests in light of US standards of political freedom. It would be especially great if Congress would pass a law backing up companies who wanted to do business this way overseas. However, none of those things (apparently) being the case as yet, I think that, regrettably, it's expecting an awful lot for a company like Yahoo! to take on the Chinese government on this issue.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809257)

Fuck Yahoo in their rosy red rectum for willfully aiding and abetting a government to jail and torture its own citizen's all in the name of profit motives and a better bottom line. Just because you have a duty to shareholders doesn't mean you throw out basic human rights and decency.

Boycott Yahoo, Boycott Chinese products (lol everything!) and send a clear message that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated.
I hope they get maximum penalties imposed on them as allowable by law. I also hope Google and Cisco and all the other shills who rolled over for a fat Chinese cock in the ass get their comeuppance as well.

Fucking bastards, the whole bloody lot of em!

Don't be evil (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809279)

When the news came out that Google was going to censor their search data but inform people they were being censored everyone went nuts.

Yahoo helps the Chinese government put people in prison for 10 years and no one says anything. The Yahoo employees had a choice they could have just said they didn't collect the data that the Chiense government needed. Instead they wasted their time digging out that data and handing it over to the government.

Would Google do the same? The Thai government asked Google for information on who posted the YouTube video of their king and they denied them the information. If they find out who did it they'd probably be in Jail for 10 Years as well.

Maybe I'm being too hard on Yahoo after all "they're just doing their job". Ofcourse the Nazi Soldiers were also just doing their "job" when they killed millions of people.

damn pissed off (1)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809333)

am so damn pissed off with Yahoo and this would be last nail. I had my mail a/c with them for last 10 years but am now migrating to gmail for good. guess what.... there is no feedback button on yahoo anywhere. may be i wont be able tell them about their wrong doing. if anybosy knows the link....reply me.

Big Privacy question (1)

hotgist (1086157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809609)

It is of great concern that when you search online, your data can be handed over to authorities easily. This recent post http://haisojnetwork.com/autos/what-microsofts-msn -google-yahoo-and-aol-know-about-you/ [haisojnetwork.com] reveals that MSN, yahoo, Google and AOL are all doing the same thing. Beware!!!

Complex issue (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809683)

The situation here is a lot more complex than what the media coverage suggests.

First of all, torture is always wrong and should never be ignored. This is the case whether the perpetrator is China, Russia or USA. Torture is 100% wrong and can only be condemned. The ones who commit that kind of atrocities are hardly worthy of the label 'human'.

Having said that, though, if you want to do business in a country, you have to follow the law of that country. The only other option is not to conduct business in a country where you feel the law is unethical, and perhaps that is what Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, ... should do. However - it is very easy for the armchair warriors and -philosophers on /. to make wise about what an international business should do, after all it is not your money, is it? It's easy to have ideals ten miles high when they are never likely to be tested.

Apart from that - do you actually, positively know that the information you have is solid fact? It has always been difficult to get valid information about China - 30 years ago it was because the country was secretive and very hostile to the outside world, but now it is more because elements mostly in American media and intelligence have an agenda to distort the information. When it comes to news items about China, especially in the States, you have to check and double check it, unfortunately.

Finally, when the howling crowds on /. go on about China or other pet peeves, they seem to think that the only valid view of the world is the one Americans have been brought up with. Is it really so hard to accept that people in another country can and will have another outlook? Americans carp on about 'democracy' and 'freedom' and seem to believe that those are the most important things in life, and perhaps that is what an American genuinely believes. In other parts of the world they see it differently, they really do. This is not to say that freedom isn't important to most people, but how about such a thing as having something to eat at least several times a week? Or having a roof over your head? I wonder whether you guys would be quite as smug if you had known real hardship.

Now, go on, mod me through the floor, it won't change the truth of what I've said.

Re:Complex issue (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811327)

You're right. That's what a lot of Americans really, truly believe. Selling your freedom for comfort makes you a slave. Sure we also do it on a daily basis - look no further than PATRIOT or the kids getting arrested recently for their not-so-free speech about the VT killings. (And no, I'm not including threats, but simple conversations between peers that lead to police action.) Even though we abide by SOME loss of freedom, we do have to draw the line somewhere.

Being persecuted for your political/religious opinion is one of those lines that is frequently drawn. Not always, mind you, but frequently - particularly when the acts are perpetrated by the government against that government's own citizens.

We are a nation born of rebellion that survived a civil war. We consequently believe that bad government is worth killing/dieing for, and will for some time to come.

Re:Complex issue (1)

fuzz6y (240555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18813187)

It's easy to have ideals ten miles high when they are never likely to be tested.

So, what, it's better to not have ideals so that you never have to live up to them? People with noble ideals don't always abide by them. People without them never do.

Is it really so hard to accept that people in another country can and will have another outlook?

They're not suing China. They're suing Yahoo. Those aren't "people in another country." Even if it's valid to judge them only on the terms of their society, we are their society.

Also in the news... (1)

BatMacumba (990248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810759)

Pot calls kettle black. Story at 11. This kind of behaviour by the US/British/_____ gov't is acceptable, while China is the booger-man? Whatever.

Boycot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18812811)

I stopped using Yahoo when I first heard about this. The only time I use Yahoo is to learn what advertisers use their service so I can avoid their products.
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