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How Yahoo assist Government Censorship in China(8)

Posted by Author on August 27, 2006

Response to criticism: Yahoo! executives respond consistently that search engine filtering is done in compliance with Chinese law, and that there is no alternative other than not doing business in China at all.73 In May 2006 Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel responded that providing the censored and politically compromised services still benefits the Chinese people more than if Yahoo! were absent from China altogether.74

On the eve of the congressional hearings, Yahoo! issued a press release titled “Our Beliefs as a Global Internet Company,” in which the company made the following commitments:

As part of our ongoing commitment to preserving the open availability of the Internet around the world, we are undertaking the following:

  • Collective Action: We will work with industry, government, academia and NGOs to explore policies to guide industry practices in countries where content is treated more restrictively than in the United States and to promote the principles of freedom of speech and expression.
  • Compliance Practices: We will continue to employ rigorous procedural protections under applicable laws in response to government requests for information, maintaining our commitment to user privacy and compliance with the law.
  • Information Restrictions: Where a government requests we restrict search results, we will do so if required by applicable law and only in a way that impacts the results as narrowly as possible. If we are required to restrict search results, we will strive to achieve maximum transparency to the user.
  • Government Engagement: We will actively engage in ongoing policy dialogue with governments with respect to the nature of the Internet and the free flow of information.75
  • (to be cont’d…)

    – From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
    of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch

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