It has been said before on this little blog that Yahoo is a bad company for helping the Chinese government jail people for speaking out, but Yahoo just won’t admit to anyone that they did something bad. Free speech is obviously important and any company which helps a government suppress it should be regarded as equally repugnant.
It is even more repugnant to see Yahoo’s hollow response to a lawsuit that seeks to hold the company accountable for its poor ethics. The Associated Press reports that, Yahoo has taken the bold stance of saying, “China should not punish people for expressing their political views on the Internet.” While once again reminding us that the people working for Yahoo in China might have faced penalties. This of course is their way of say, sucks to be you, people in China hoping to express your beliefs and opinions. Yahoo does a little PR dance to spin spin spin the bad news of what it did into a finger pointing game, rather than say anything meaningful.
Shi [Tao] was writing for the financial publication Contemporary Business News when he circulated an e-mail with his notes about a government circular about media restrictions. He was convicted of leaking state secrets.
Wang [Xiaoning] was sentenced in September 2003 on the charge of “incitement to subvert state power,” a vaguely defined statute that the Communist Party frequently uses to punish its political critics.(Seattle PI)
It is time to stop using Yahoo things. No more mail, searches, flickr, or anything else that is related to Yahoo until they make a concrete commitment to protecting free speech. It may cost businesses money to take the high road, but no one ever said freedom was cheap, and while having even this tiny ethic comes at a cost to deny it is far more expensive. Every time Yahoo (or any company) helps suppress the freedom of a people anywhere they are spitting on the ideals of liberty and democracy. These companies are not fit to be representative of the United States, within our country or abroad.