Friday, September 28, 2012

Yahoo!: An Evil Internet Company?

With corporate actions somewhat contrary to Google’s “do no evil” ethic, is Yahoo! – citing the Jerry Yang era Shi Tao debacle – a bona fide evil internet company?

By: Ringo Bones  
It was during the Jerry Yang era Shi Tao debacle that many saw Yahoo! - as an internet company that seem to easily voluntary provide their clients’ private data to despotic regimes at the expense of their clients’ opportunity for a due process – as an internet company / search engine / e-mail provider that is the polar opposite to Google and their “do no evil” ethic. Given that the internet has been a force of good to those who seek a peaceful and bloodless means of inciting a political change in despotic regions of the world, does Yahoo’s recent actions during the past 10 years of easily providing private data of their clients to despotic regime already tarnished their reputation as a reputable internet company?

Back in 2002, Yahoo! inexplicably seems to readily provide the Beijing government with pertinent private data that eventually lead to the conviction of one of their clients – a Mainland Chinese political activist by the name of Wang Xiaoning. This lead to the eventual conviction of the pro-democracy activist back in 2003 resulting from somewhat less than fair court proceedings. Wang Xiaoning has just been recently released by the Beijing government during the end of August 2012 after serving a ten-year prison sentence.

In the course of his political activism before his decade-long incarceration, Wang Xiaoning had used his Yahoo Mail account to distribute pro-democracy material to other activist elsewhere in Mainland China. Even though Yahoo! has since apologized to Wang Xiaoning’s family, the damage has already done and Yahoo! – for all intents and purposes – is now seen by “internet hacktivists” as Google’s evil brother whose day-to-day corporate running seem oblivious to the concept of corporate social responsibility, let alone a private individual’s civil liberties. Which only makes me wonder if Yahoo! had already bought a really good reputational risk insurance policy before the company set up shop?   

Bones Eye Tea [Yahoo, Wang Xiaoning Case]   

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