Friday, August 31, 2007

Not So Yahoo! In China

Internet giant Yahoo is seeking to have a lawsuit brought against it on behalf two jailed Chinese dissidents thrown out of a US court saying the case falls under Chinese law.

In a motion filed in San Francisco on Monday the company said it was compelled by Chinese law to hand over information that was then used to arrest and jail the two men.

Yahoo said that while it "deeply sympathises" with Wang Xiaoning, 57, Shi Tao, 39, and their families, the company could not be held liable for the Chinese government's "independent acts".

Sympathise? Sympathise my arse. There is no reason whatsoever for Yahoo! to hand over the IP addresses of activists in China, activists who are simply utilising their rights to protest.

Censorship is rapidly extending into the realms of the internet and Yahoo! are one of many companies guilty of seeking to boost their bank balance whilst putting human rights in jeopardy. This news comes on the back of a 'self-discipline' pact that was signed by several internet comapanies in China. The pact will put an end to Chinese bloggers being able to post anonymously, as the Internet companies will be 'encouraged' to register and store the real names, addresses and other details of their users. This, of course, means thatthe Chinese government will be able to request the details of any member of the public that they perceive to be a threat to their political system. That companies like Yahoo! and MSN are so willing to agree to such a move, exposes their attitude towards censorship and human rights.

Vincent Brossel, of Reporters Without Borders, said:

"They have to 'encourage,' and everybody puts the word 'encourage' between brackets, because 'encourage' in China means you have to do it in some way, non? ... When the government wants this type of information they will be able to get it, because we know that in the past these companies, including Yahoo and MSN, have delivered information, I mean private information, about Internet users."

As the cases at the top of the post have shown, there is no doubt as to what this will mean for those that wish to blog anonymously. Censorship is alive and well and hiding behind the $.

To find out more about internet censorship, visit the link in the sidebar or