Yahoo! Says Giving Dissidents Up to Torturers is Its First Amendment Right

August 28th, 2007  |  Published in etc

Crossposted from Open Networks Today – mph

The Washington Post writes that Yahoo! is asking the court to “dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Internet giant of abetting torture and abuse of pro-democracy writers in China.

The company’s rationale:

“The real issue here is the plaintiffs’ outrage at the behavior and laws of the Chinese government,” she said. “The U.S. court system is not the forum for addressing these political concerns.”


The real issue is that the Chinese government behaves in violation of international law when it tortures its citizens. By handing over personal information that helps get people tortured, Yahoo! is complying with a law that’s, by international standards, illegal. It’s not that hard a concept to grasp, and it’s appalling that Yahoo! is seeking shelter under the umbrella of institutionalized torture and repression.

Rebecca MacKinnon at RConversation has a number of links to court documents and past reporting on the story, including the original complaint and Yahoo!’s motions to dismiss.

If you’re in for a sick laugh, check out the one entitled “SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFFS’ STATE LAW CAUSES OF ACTION PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA ANTI-SLAPP STATUTE.” Among other things, it says Yahoo! shouldn’t be sued for telling the Chinese government what it needs to know to arrest people practicing their right to free speech because that’s a violation of Yahoo!’s right to practice free speech by snitching to whomever it pleases.



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