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November 07, 2007

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» Q: Why haven't I written about the latest Yahoo hearings? from Imagethief
Longtime readers will know that I have commented on Yahoo and other foreign Internet firms in China at [Read More]

Comments

mahathir_fan

I have a recommendation for the US Congress:

Start recognizing Taiwan as China again :P

Charles Liu

If coporations that take on Christian notion like "obey the
law of the land" and cooperate with local government on crimial
investigations required by law are "Moral Pygmies" -

- then what are the corporations that help a regime to subvert the
nation's constitution, help wage a war based on lies, and marterially support the brutal
occupation of another country? Killing innocent civilians under the regime's approval and protection?

What did our Congress call Blackwater USA?

Rebecca MacKinnon

Good questions, Charles.

Stephanie Willerton

Congress would have more moral authority on this issue if it first secured the electronic privacy rights of Americans before excoriating U.S. Internet companies operating in China.

That said, Yahoo! has made a number of errors in this case for which Congress rightly should hold them to account. Yahoo's good intentions and reputation would be furthered if it made clear and substantial efforts to help the families of the imprisoned dissidents through a financial settlement and a public commitment to advocate for their immediate release. Additionally, it would be reassuring to users and investors if Yahoo! would begin implementing internal changes that would demonstrate its commitment to a global Code of Conduct for Internet Freedom and Privacy, even if one has not yet been agreed among all the participants of the initiative.

The ethical dilemmas of American companies operating or investing in China are extremely complex. On a day that Yahoo's stock dropped substantially because of the House hearing, the share price of its Chinese investment, AliBaba, where Jerry Yang sits on the board, is soaring. Does this indicate that global investors do not hold Chinese companies to the same ethical standards as U.S. companies?

Charles Liu

The fact is our own government also demands ISPs and telcos to release user information in criminal investigations, as recent PBS Frontline segment on domestic spying demonstrates:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/

The NSA has 15-20 listening posts all over US - that’s just AT&T!

We haven’t even touched stuff like National Security Letter, or the FBI’s project “Carnivor”, “Magic Lantern”.

So why is it okay for our government to make the same demands, and our corporations to respond in the same way - but not other governments/companies?

Is hypocrisy part of this “moral pygmie” characterization?

Clarke

Great post RC and a well deserved salvo by Lantos, a holocaust survivor, nonetheless. "Moral pygmies" is too good for the likes of Yahoo.

Poor Charles is missing the obvious point...Shi Tao, a journalist, is now in a Chinese jail for doing his job, thx to Yahoo. I don't see any US journo rotting away for doing theirs.

The moral relativity argument is so old, it died years ago along with those so-called "asian-values." Grow up.

Charles Liu

Oh please, spear me the "American exceptionalism"...

Shi Tao violated China's security laws on classified information. We have Similiar laws - Remember James Yee, Wen Ho Lee, Chi Mak?

Chi Mak got thrown in jail for "exporting" an IEEE presentation he made. The document is available for purchase on IEEE.org by the PLA.

And here you go, what does NSA do with the 15-20 AT&T listening posts? Spy on anti-war groups with contrary political view in the name of liberty and security:

http://democracyrising.us/content/view/402/164

"Anti-War Group Has Documents Proving NSA Spied on Them,"

Clarke

That's funny, Charles, you missed it again - Shi Tao is a journalist, and he's now in a Chinese jail for doing his job, thx to Yahoo.

There. Did you get it, yet? Or maybe you're one of those dogmatic pedants who just won't.

All the best.

Charles Liu

It's a simple fact journalists are not beyond their respective country's laws.

Shi Tao violated China's security laws on classified information, handling, exporting of it.

The same thing happened here as we have Similiar laws - Remember James Yee, Wen Ho Lee, Chi Mak?

What part of that didn't you get?

BTW, Chi Mak got thrown in jail for "exporting" an IEEE presentation he gave in public. The public-domain document is free to all PLA IEEE members, and anyone in China can buy a copy on ieee.org.

Charles Tan

I'm studying this particular case for one of my undergraduate subjects, Corporate Ethics. Apparently, after researching and studying, my group mates have found that Yahoo! e-mail's Terms and Conditions now include statements that would protect them from future recurrences, Quoted below:

You agree to not use the Service to: 1. upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

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