Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Despicable behavior by Yahoo management - Shi Tao gets ten years

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 30, 2006

From the London-based The Independent:

CHINA

Published state secrets

Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison after "illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities."

His crime was to have emailed details of the Chinese government's plans to handle news coverage of the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 2004. Yahoo! provided crucial information in the case, linking the message and email account with Shi 's computer. Reporters Without Borders accused Yahoo! of acting as a "police informant."

This kind of behavior will not fly. Yahoo management made a serious error in judgement and so has that of Google, which also hands over such information to Chinese and other government authorities. Both companies could "launder" their data before they receive it, and thus have nothing to turn over.

Both companies always assure us that any data collected is not identifiable and that they are only interested in aggregated behavioral data. It's time to prove it.

The revolt will come from within Yahoo's and Google's own ranks. How does it feel to work for a "police informant" for the Chinese government?

The revolt from the rank and file is already happening. Watch this space for more details.

And how long before users of Yahoo or Google services switch to more ethical service providers? On the Internet, other services are just a click away...

Social causes are becoming extremely important in recruiting and retaining people. As competition for key staff rises, the determining factor will not be money or stock options, it will be ethics.

What use is money and stock options if you work for a company that does not act in a socially responsible way? Yahoo and Google can have their cake and eat it. They can comply with police authorities in other countries and make sure that they do not enable repression, oppression, or supression of political dissent.

They have the technology and the means to collect user data without identifiable data. It's as simple as that.

Story link | Subscribe free | Categories: ChinaWatch




ForemskiInnovator.jpg

The Holmes Report names Tom Foremski one of the top 25 Innovators of 2013.




-->