Feeds

Yahoo! assists Chinese dissident conviction

J'accuse

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Updated Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has accused Yahoo! of going out of its way to help Chinese authorities to convict a "dissident journalist".

Shi Tao was sentenced in April to 10 years imprisonment for "divulging state secrets" partly on the basis of evidence supplied by Yahoo!. Reporters Without Borders said it "provided China's state security authorities with details that helped to identify and convict him".

"We already knew that Yahoo! collaborates enthusiastically with the Chinese regime in questions of censorship, and now we know it is a Chinese police informant as well," the press freedom organisation said.

Yahoo! is attempting to downplay the row by saying it was simply complying with local laws in assisting the Chinese authorities. Yahoo! Spokeswoman Mary Osako said: "Just like any other global company, Yahoo! must ensure that its local country sites operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based."

Tiananmen dissident link

According to court papers, Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. gave Chinese investigators information that linked information treated as a "state secret" to the IP address of Shi's computer via his use of Yahoo!mail. Shi, 37, and a former staffer on the daily Dangdai Shang Bao (Contemporary Business News) was convicted in April of sending foreign websites the text of a message from the authorities warning journalists of the dangers of "social destabilisation" from the return of certain dissidents on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) is subject to Hong Kong legislation, which fails to detail the responsibilities of ISPs in these situations. Nonetheless, it is reportedly customary for ISPs to hand over information to the police if confronted by a court order, regardless of whether it is enforceable or not. Yahoo!'s actions in the case raise questions about how far Western companies will go in collaborating with state repression.

Reporters Without Borders said: "Yahoo! will yet again simply state that they just conform to the laws of the countries in which they operate. But does the fact that this corporation operates under Chinese law free it from all ethical considerations? How far will it go to please Beijing?"

"Information supplied by Yahoo! led to the conviction of a good journalist who has paid dearly for trying to get the news out. It is one thing to turn a blind eye to the Chinese government's abuses and it is quite another thing to collaborate."

Last month Yahoo! acquired a large stake in the Chinese internet firm Alibaba for approximately $1bn. Reporters Without Borders has written several times to Yahoo! executives in an attempt to alert it to the ethical issues raised by its Chinese investments. These letters have so far received no answer. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?