Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brad King

What's the Matter with Yahoo?

A second person was jailed after Yahoo provided the Chinese government with information. Now, we ask, what’s next?

  • February 9, 2006

Over the last two weeks, Technology Review’s editorial staff has had some lively debates about Google, the role of search in the current digital landscape, and the effect international laws have on the perceptions of companies. The conversation started as Google moved ahead with its China strategy – but it’s impossible to have the discussion without talking about Yahoo.

The back-and-forth among our staffers was sometimes contentious because these three issues – as they’re tied together – don’t have a nice, neat bow. Out of those debates came, in my opinion, the most interesting series of stories we’ve done since the website’s relaunch on November 7. Those stories: Swayed in China, In Google We Trust, Evading the Google Eye, and Google: Beyond Good and Evil.

But the debates we have are largely theoretical, as journalism sometimes is. While we continue to debate the merits of how American search companies should function within the borders of other countries, real life plows ahead. Reuters has a story today detailing how a second Chinese citizen was arrested by his government after Yahoo turned over information on a journalist.

From the Reuters story:

Writer and veteran activist Liu Xiaobo said Yahoo had cooperated with Chinese police in a case that led to the 2003 arrest of Li Zhi, who was charged with subverting state power and sentenced to eight years in prison after trying to join the dissident China Democracy Party.

No doubt this latest incident will once again set off an intense – and inspired – debate. Thankfully, there are those wiser than me who decide how exactly an international company operating within the borders of a foreign country should operate. However, it’s clear that the issue of how we access information and who can access information about us – particularly with the continued digitization and mobilization of our world’s information – is becoming the most important issue of our time.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.