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Company had no choice: Yahoo! chief

Yahoo! Inc co-founder Jerry Yang said that the company legally had no choice but to provide Chinese authorities with information used to prosecute and jail Chinese journalist Shi Tao for 10 years.

Yang said that the company had a very clear-cut set of privacy rules and that in every country that it operates when it provides information to governments it must be supported by legal rules and procedures.

'It is a legal process that we have to do to give that information,' he told an Internet conference. He said the company did not know why authorities needed the information, adding: 'I do not like the outcome of what happened with this.'

Shi was sentenced in April on charges of 'revealing state secrets' -- using his email account to post on the Internet a government order barring Chinese media from marking the 15th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on democracy activists at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

As well as being legally obliged to provide authorities with the information, Yang said: 'I would not put our company or its employees at risk in any way shape of form.'

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders this week put released information showing that that it gave information to the Chinese government leading to Shi Tao being jailed.

The Paris-based group said the information Yahoo! Holdings (HK) provided helped China link Shi's personal e-mail account and the specific message he sent to the IP address of his computer. Yahoo's actions were revealed in the court's verdict, copies of which were posted on overseas Chinese websites.

Shi, who worked for Hunan-based Contemporary Business News, has insisted he is innocent, arguing that the government order was not a state secret. China, however, considers a wide variety of information, which would be public information in other countries, to be state secrets.

In 2002, Yahoo voluntarily signed the 'Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for the China Internet Industry,' agreeing to abide by Chinese censorship regulations.

Date posted: September 9, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 3372