Saying ‘no’

US internet firms are again in the spotlight:

Reporters Without Borders said it had obtained a copy of the court verdict against Li Zhi, a former official jailed for eight years in December 2003, confirming that US firm Yahoo! collaborated with the prosecution, as did local competitor, Sina.

“The Li Zhi verdict shows that all Internet sector companies are pulled in to help when the police investigate a political dissident,” the press freedom organisation said.

“It is unacceptable that US firms should turn themselves into auxiliaries of a government that systematically tramples on the rights of Internet-users to freedom of expression,” it said.

When Google recently announced it would censor its search engine in China, the company argued it would inform users when a search had been restricted. It also believed it could bring change by working in the communist state, rather than campaigning from outside. Maybe. But the Yahoo example above suggests Western multinationals are little concerned about human rights when it affects their bottom line.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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