Yahoo accused of betraying user to 8-year sentence


— 9:33 AM on February 9, 2006

The controversies over Western tech firms cooperating with authoritarian government in China added another chapter today when Reporters Without Borders claimed Yahoo gave information to the Chinese police that led to the arrest and sentencing of a man to eight years in prison. His crime, they say, was criticizing local government corruption on an Internet messageboard. The organization said this isn't the first time Yahoo has handed over customer data that led to political arrests, and it appears to be part of an ongoing pattern:

It said it had discovered that Yahoo ! customer and cyberdissident Li Zhi had been given his eight-year prison sentence in December 2003 based on electronic records provided by Yahoo. "How many more cases are we going to find ?" it asked.

"We were sure the case of Shi Tao, who was jailed for 10 years last April on the basis of Yahoo-supplied data, was not the only one. Now we know Yahoo works regularly and efficiently with the Chinese police."

Reporters Without Borders doesn't buy Yahoo's claims that it hands over the data blindly, with no sense of how it might be used. Yahoo may have to defend its actions at a U.S. congressional hearing coming up on February 15. (Thanks to The Inq for the tip.)
 
   
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