• Yahoo! is the most popular internet portal and is used to navigate the internet all over the world.
• Yahoo! has been accused of defrauding advertisers and planning to create an email system that would condemn small companies and the poor to substandard service.
• Yahoo! is accused of aiding the Chinese government in its pursuit of political dissidents and accommodated China's repression.
• Encourage Yahoo! to support freedom of speech for users regardless of national politics by and search for businesses with sustainable labor and environmental practices through Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 06/12/2008
Yahoo! is the most popular internet portal, with over 400 million people using its search engine, news, Internet directory, email accounts and personalized web pages. Yahoo! offers internet content in 15 languages in 20 countries. In 2006, Yahoo! recorded revenues of more than $6.4 billion and had 7,600 employees.
Economic Globalization and Human Rights
Amnesty International is calling on the public to urge Yahoo to use its influence to secure the release of Chinese journalist Shi Tao. He is serving a ten-year prison term for sending an email to the US about a Communist Party decision using his Yahoo account. The Chinese government charged Shi Tao with “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities”. The evidence that led to Shi Tao’s conviction included account-holder information supplied by Yahoo. Evidence suggests that Yahoo also provided information leading to the arrest of other dissidents in China. Click on the URL below to take action now.
There are no known affiliates associated with Yahoo! .
Sunnyvale, CA 94089 USA
Wang Xiaonang, who is accused of distributing online journal articles calling for democratic reform in China, was arrested in 2002 and subsequently beaten and tortured before being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2003. He and his wife Yu Ling, who was also tortured by the Chinese government, are filing suit against Yahoo! claiming that the company provided information to the Chinese government about them.
Experts say this suit faces an uphill battle, as Yahoo! is required to follow Chinese law when it has operations there. It is also unclear whether the law that the suit was filed under--the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act--applies to Yahoo in this case since Yahoo is only indirectly involved.
-- New York Times, 04/19/2007
The New York City Pension Fund filed a shareholder resolution calling Yahoo! and Google to respect freedom of speech and expression over the internet in repressive countries. The shareholder resolution outlines minimum standards for the companies to institute. Principles include not engaging in pro-active censorship, using all legal means to resist government demands for censorship, and reporting all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with to the public. The New York City Pension Fund owns nearly $400 million dollars of stock in Yahoo! and Google.
-- New York City Comptroller Office, 12/14/2006
Source URL: www.comptroller.nyc.gov/bottom.asp
London-based human rights group, Amnesty International, documented the discrepancies between Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google’s policies and their actions in “Undermining Freedom of Expression in China.” Amnesty noted Yahoo’s claims of being a company “built on openness, from information access to creative expression,” and intent on protecting the privacy of its customers. However in 2002, Yahoo! voluntarily signed China’s “Public Pledge on Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry,” agreeing to censor Internet content and deny information access. In addition, the company admittedly supplied Chinese officials with information that led to the arrest of journalists Li Zhi and Shi Tao. Amnesty is calling for corporate transparency on web filtering and agreements, companies to judicially contest government requests with human rights implications, and the immediate release of detained “cyber dissidents.”
-- Amnesty International, 07/20/2006
The European Parliament passed a resolution that criticizes internet sector companies which cooperate with repressive regimes. Parliamentarians are calling for a code of conduct to limit western businesses that contribute to censoring the internet in repressive countries. The resolution singles out Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems are allowing Chinese authorities to censor their search engines and blog software in China.
-- European Parliament, 07/13/2006
Source URL: none available
In 2003, Jiang Lijun was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of "subversive activities" designed to undermine and topple the Chinese Communist Party. The verdict reached by the Beijing No. 2 People's Court cited a draft e-mail saved in Jiang's account which authorities obtained through Yahoo's Hong Kong unit. Jiang was also one of five activists to sign an open online letter demanding political reform prior to the Communist Party congress in November 2002.
-- Forbes, 04/19/2006
Ethics and Governance
A report by New York-based non-profit, Human rights Watch, called “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” documents ways in which companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype assist and reinforce the Chinese government’s system of political censorship. Human Rights Watch recommends internet companies working with China take steps to stop censorship such as developing and following a code of conduct that prohibits the participation in or facilitation of infringing internationally recognized human rights, never censoring material unless required by legally binding and written government request, and allowing secure communication for websites and emails.
-- Human Rights Watch, 08/01/2006
Reporters Without Borders recently performed a series of censorship tests on Chinese versions of internet search engines on Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. The test found Yahoo! to be the worst offender in their censorship test. Search results for a “subversive” key word, such as “democracy” and “human rights,” on yahoo.cn were 97 percent pro-Beijing. In fact, the yahoo.cn server would display an error message and then temporarily shut-down after searching terms such as “6-4” or “Tibet independence.” This was the case for about 50 percent of the keywords searched.
-- Reporters Without Borders, 06/22/2006
Source URL: www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18015
A class-action lawsuit alleges that Yahoo charged a handful of businesses high rates for preferred or premium ad placement, but then put the ads on sites belonging to spyware-vendors and on Web pages with URLs that are misspellings of popular sites.
-- PC World, 05/05/2006
Source URL: pcworld.about.com/news/May052006id125640.htm
Yahoo is planning to adopt a paid-for e-mail service requiring customers to pay a fee to ensure that their e-mails successfully pass account spam filters. Critics have expressed concerns that this could lead to a two-tier Internet in which regular consumers who cannot pay are forced to face uncertainty regarding whether or not their e-mails will pass spam filters.
-- Ottawa Citizen, 02/07/2006
Source URL: none available
Yahoo! received a bipartisan thrashing during a Congressional hearing over its actions regarding Chinese dissidents (see related alerts.) As if turning over information on political dissidents wasn’t enough, Yahoo! executives were blasted for claiming in previous testimony that when they turned over information that led to the arrest of dissident Shi Tao the company did not know why the government wanted the information. However, the order the company received explicitly stated that the investigation pertained to “state secrets,” a device commonly used in China to target political dissidents. One US representative went so far as to suggest the committee ought to pursue a perjury investigation against the internet giant. To date, no one has been disciplined by the company for their actions, either in the initial complicity with the Chinese or in subsequent failures to accurately disclose what transpired to the US government.
-- Wall Street Journal, 11/07/2007