Is Yahoo's willingness to hand over dissidents conditional after all?
November 5, 2007 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Yahoo says it's sorry it misspoke when it told Congress it had no idea it was handing over identifying information on political dissidents and not run-of-the-mill criminals to Chinese authorities. Does that mean it would have done anything differently had it known?

I've been watching the lawsuits around Yahoo's policy of handing over information on its users in China, and my sense of Yahoo's stance to this point has been that the company describes its practices with varying degrees of regret, but with the caveat that if it is to do business in China, it must comply with the legal authorities even if they are trying to suppress political speech.

So when Yahoo says it had no idea it was giving up someone's information because that person was a political dissident and not a criminal in a more universally understood sense of the word, that implies to me that the company might have done something differently had it known.

I've been over past coverage, but I'm missing any stories that would indicate whether that's the case. So does anyone else know? Has Yahoo given any sign that it would refuse to hand over information if it had reason to believe an investigation was being conducted purely to punish a dissident acting in a manner few in a liberal democracy would take issue with?
posted by mph to Law & Government (3 answers total)
I haven't seen anything that makes me believe that they'd do any differently.

They're out to make money, and if that means a few political dissidents here and there end up in jail or dead, they have apparently decided as a matter of policy that they're game.

The only way I can really see them 'regretting' their actions, in the sense of "if we knew what we knew now, we wouldn't have done it," would be if it's plain that the negative PR as a result of their actions hurts their U.S. business more than it helps their Chinese one. I.e., if the policy as a whole is a loser, then they'll regret it.

But do they seem to actually give a damn about political dissidents in China? Of course not.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:35 AM on November 5, 2007

The past is often informative in these matters.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose
posted by southof40 at 1:24 PM on November 5, 2007

See also "The Corporation".
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2007

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