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Yahoo shareholders reject anti-censorship policy

21 June, 2007
By Allison Orr

At a recent AGM, Yahoo management encouraged shareholders to vote against a proposal that would have forced the company to take a hard line against governments that work to censor and limit Internet access.  The proposal put forward would have required the company to implement policies to limit the ability of governments to use Yahoo data to harass or imprison dissidents, such as not hosting individual’s data in countries where political dissent is a crime.

A proposal to set up a human rights committee which would review the company’s policies around the world was also defeated.

Yahoo management stated that such policies would leave the company with "insufficient flexibility" to work within the legislative frameworks of the countries where it operates.

In other Yahoo news, the families of dissidents have brought lawsuits against Yahoo for divulging information that lead to their arrests.  The World Organisation for Human Rights is suing Yahoo, on behalf of Yu Ling, the wife of Wang Xiazoning, who was imprisoned and tortured after information on his Internet activity was provided to the Chinese authorities by Yahoo.  Gao Qingsheng, mother of Shi Tao, has also joined the lawsuit.  Shi was sentenced to 10 years in prison after his details were also allegedly provided to Chinese authorities by Yahoo.

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