Congress Not At All Pleased With Yahoo's Explanation In Chinese Dissident Case

from the let's-start-from-the-top dept

After claiming last week that he was merely uninformed rather than intentionally misleading when he told Congress that Yahoo had no info into the investigation of a pro-democracy dissident jailed by the Chinese government, Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan was berated by Congressional representatives who claim they don't buy his story. However, in his defense, no one in Congress seems to have explained what Callahan could have done differently, other than reveal the info he knew when he got it. As distasteful as it is that Yahoo may have had a hand in turning over info to the Chinese government, it still feels like the Congressional hearings are mere grandstanding efforts by a Congress who is unlikely to do anything about this issue. Still, the end result may be a good thing: American companies may at least start to think twice before freely aiding the Chinese government in oppressing its own people.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 1:26pm

    If you really buy the story that Callahan was uninformed how can you conclude "American companies may at least start to think twice before..." why would they think twice about stuff they don't know ?.
    Looks like another very contrived position for a techdirt trying to make sure it's business friendly.

     

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  2.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 6th, 2007 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    If you really buy the story that Callahan was uninformed how can you conclude "American companies may at least start to think twice before..." why would they think twice about stuff they don't know ?.

    Callahan = 1 person at the company who could be uninformed of what was happening halfway around the world.

    Company = made up of many people, who will now be aware of the overall impact this is having on the company. Those people will now think twice.

    Better?

     

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  3.  

    If it's true

    If Yahoo actually gave the Chinese Government this information, what does that say about Yahoo if the US Government wanted information about a US citizen?

    Trust no one.

     

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  4.  
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    Overcast, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 1:47pm

    If Yahoo actually gave the Chinese Government this information, what does that say about Yahoo if the US Government wanted information about a US citizen?

    They probably have their own login and real time access by now.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 1:55pm

    Yahoo China...Not really Yahoo

    From reading the other stories posted about this issue, it was Yahoo China, which is run by Alibaba.com. Yahoo, Inc is merely a small investor in Alibaba.com. Yahoo does get the perks from Yahoo China of having the mail servers, which are located in China. It is very possible the General Counsel for Yahoo was not fully informed because Alibaba.com could have taken care of it.

    Also, just like U.S. Companies have to follow U.S. law and regulations regarding handing over information from a legal process, a company also has to follow other countries laws for the same in the country in which it operates. Thus, servers in China, being run by Chinese company, means they have to follow Chinese law. This is just the same as Google, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN all handing over search information to the U.S. Govt when required.

    Congress is acting very wrongly in this case and the language they are using is despicable. Just like with most things, Congress needs to know when it can and can't do something as well as when it should and shouldn't do something.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 1:56pm

    Patriot act?

    From what I saw reported, it almost sounded as if Yahoo! would be justified in refusing to comply with a demand from the current US administration using the Patriot Act to demand information, as they were told they should not work with authoritarian governments.

     

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  7.  
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    slimcat (profile), Nov 6th, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    Congressional Effrontery

    I think they have a lot of gall coming down on Yahoo. Where the hell were they when we lost the right to habeas corpus guaranteed by the Constitution (if you think this does not apply to US citizens, you are pathetically misinformed), when the administration skirted other constitutional law or when little George started an illegal war, also a constitutional violation?

    Investigating government oppression starts at home. China can wait. Just my two cents worth.

     

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  8.  
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    John Canada, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 4:01pm

    What I find funny (sitting in Canada) is this artical on the same day as Yahoo being dragged over the coals in Congress

    ( http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9811598-38.html )

    For about the same reason

    God Bless America

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 4:50pm

    When the US Gov't asked the phone companies to provide information - without the necessary warrants - they all complied except Qwest.

    Where is Congress on this issue? We know that Bush is demanding immunity against prosecution and lawsuits for them. Nice deal! The head crook demands immunity for his accomplices - and he'll get it.

    We can't do much about China's leaders; but Bush should be impeached.

    By the way, for obeying the law, Qwest lost very lucrative government contracts. Why did we allow this bunch of thugs to run our country (into the ground)?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2007 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Yahoo China...Not really Yahoo

    Read #8

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2007 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Get real Mike.
    "American companies" exist to gain power and make money and Americans are generally proud of how ruthlessly we pursue that goal.

    Most American cmpanies have incentive schemes to promote that.
    Most American companies do not have incentives to protect the human rights of anyone - not even Americans - nor are employees incentivised to prevent ignorant executives telling crap to congress.

    Obviously if no penalty is imposed on Yahoo then behavior will not change.

    If they get a slap on the wrist them it's theoretically possible that employee's might send the exec' more email so he's not so ignorant ... but don't count on it !.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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