Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why Boycott Yahoo?

The three major Western internet providers in China (Google, MSN, and Yahoo!) have all been complicit with the Chinese government in helping censor the web searches of Chinese citizens. That alone is enough to boycott any of them. But Yahoo! has recently distinguished itself out as the most oppressive American Internet Corporation doing business in China.

Please see the link here for the full story from Reporters Without Borders.

The abbreviated version is as follows: An anonymous Chinese citizen sent out information about how the Chinese government intended to censor information about the 15-year anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. This person used a Yahoo! e-mail address to do it. The Chinese Secret Police asked Yahoo! to turn over the sender’s identity. Yahoo! claims they did not know the reason why the Chinese government was requesting, and complied with the Chinese Secret Police without argument. They identified Shi Tau, a reporter with The Contemporary Business News in Hunan, who is now serving 10 years in jail.

Jerry Yang, the multi-millionaire who sits at Yahoo!’s helm, told reporters that he had no choice in the matter. He alluded to the safety of his employees in China.

BooYahoo! believes that Yahoo!'s decisions are motivated by a single factor: profit. So it is clear that profits are the only way to provide them with feedback. Yahoo! chose to do business with the dragon, and now the Dragon's profits have apparently enslaved Yahoo!

Every human has certain inalienable rights that are not to be usurped by mere laws of mere governments. Anyone who says the law of the land is the bottom line is thinking like cattle. Yahoo!'s policy of abiding by the laws of whatever country wherein they do business is not a justification to dismantle freedom of speech.

Some people believe that a Western Internet company who is setting up shop in China should be willing to comply with human rights abuses there in order to create a glimmer of hope for the future of freedom and the availability of ideas. This is a dangerous and conveniently profitable deception. In the name of profits, Yahoo! is aiding Chinese oppression and eroding human rights globally. If the outermost tentacle of the internet's reach is poisoned, it must be amputated in order to protect the health of the entire organism. Yahoo! has become poisoned.

If the world of ideas were subject to genetics, freedom of speech would be a recessive gene, while corruption and greed would be dominant. Freedom of speech must be fought for in order to be retained.

It’s time for netizens to exercise their power. It’s time to call for Yahoo! to stop complying with any governmental laws when those laws conflict with basic human rights. By impacting Yahoo!'s profits, we hope to change this policy, and encourage like companies to follow suit.

If Yahoo amends their policy of abiding by oppressive laws, our efforts to boycott them will end.

15 Comments:

Blogger R1 said...

Ooh yes !
It has to be done. Boycott Yahoo for wath they are doing, considering the cowardly responded that they were not responsible for the 10 years prison sentence inflicted to the chinese journalist !

They only gave the name... and the address...

And while saying so, they were signing a billion dollars contract with the chinese governement for alibaba.com...

Such a Humanity Lesson !

9:14 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks r1!

I've linked to your blog here. Thanks for your help!

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The alternative to following Chinese laws is for Yahoo to abandon the country. Isn't it better to provide an avenue of communication to people in China than to exit the country and leave residents with restricted or no options? I think it is. What you find poison, I find to be part of the cure. Even after spending a billion dollars towards censorship tools, there is no way the government can keep up with all the email, instant messages, text messages, web pages, etc. Communication is one key element to change.

I disagree with Yahoo for handing over information and hate that someone was jailed for dissent, but what is the alternative? Really? Yahoo would be shut down and blocked in China. The same would happen to Google, MSN, or any other company.

What if dissenters used Yahoo.com in the US to send their email? Would Yahoo turn over information then? It seems that an email they're sending out says no, they would not hand over those persons' information: "Yahoo! customers who are not registered with or use a Yahoo! China web site are not subject to CN data disclosure laws."

I don't think boycotting Yahoo or Google or MSN will make an impact or accomplish much. Instead, I think it would be more fruitful to work out a series of ethical business principles that take this issue into account? Then boycott the companies who refuse to sign up and who support companies who refuse to sign up.


This is the message Yahoo! sent me:
"The issue in China that you refer to is specific to that country and will not affect customers who have registered with Yahoo! in other countries. Just like any other global company, Yahoo! must ensure that its local country sites operate within the laws and regulations of the country in which they are based.

By registering with or using the services of a local Yahoo! web site, a person has agreed to that local country site's respective Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which comply with the local laws of the country in which that web site is based. Yahoo! customers who are not registered with or use a Yahoo! China web site are not subject to CN data disclosure laws.

Links to the applicable Terms of Service and Privacy Policy can be found at the bottom of every Yahoo website."

7:08 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Anonymous, I don't agree with some of what you've said, but I do agree that it would be fruitful to establish an alternative business practice. We are working on that now, and will be (hopefully) presenting some ideas to Yahoo! very soon.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Dan Raphael said...

The rationalizations for greed are predictable. It is one of the oldest human stories, well-known in the West: betraying the innocent for a bag of silver coins. These days, of course, with modern improvements, the payoff is accomplished via electronic funds transfer.

Isn't that nice.

Let Yahoo count its blood money alone. Boycott Yahoo!

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boycott yahoo for her inhuman doing

6:16 AM  
Blogger Delta said...

I'll add a banner to my blog, keep on promoting this!!

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Bonnie said...

Continue the outrage against Yahoo. While we are fighting and dying in Irag to preserve human rights and promote freedom and democracy, we are selling out to the Chinese government. We Americans must stand up for what is right--talk the talk and walk the walk.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would happen if all three left China..? China Needs major players on the world market for them to participate and wet their beaks in the money stream.. China would have to go blind as they want the commerce and smallgarage.com can't carry the load. You can go to peek-a-booty.org and help those who only want to vote!!

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With great respect for those those committed to this dialog in a perfectly honest way, I offer the following. There is an obvious correlation between citizens of a deeply troubled nation and their ability to loudly target the obvious overt oppressors within another. It reminds of various shortsighted, proud, elders who say: "if you don't like it here, find a better place". That is the legacy that led to our situation. Since governments claim injustices of only other governments (at best), we are left with trying to target powerful "private sector" policies. Not that this is wrong per se, yet isn't it also a measure of irony to be aware of? The problem of big companies (not only oil and yahoo) acting like greedy children is a political problem. Without rational and fair government, the greedy have no role models or rules for change.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Varun said...

WE should all boycott yahoo. We dont need to suck up to a company that pays no respect to our privacy. To the best of my knowledge google takes its privacy a lot better than both Yahoo and MSN. It actually went to courts to fight a sub=peona that the US government issued. As far as i know both Yahoo! and MSN did not fight but rather gave in to the governments whims.

11:58 PM  
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