Yahoo! trying to dismiss human rights lawsuit

Written by Phil Cogar

August 29, 2007 | 09:09

Tags: #chinese #human-rights #lawsuit

Companies: #china #government #yahoo

Back in 2005, Yahoo! was in hot water over releasing the names of its Chinese users to the Chinese government. One of the people that Yahoo! ousted ended up serving a stretch in jail over comments he had made in an email.

Well now all of that is coming right back to bite Yahoo! right in the ass.

The World Organization for Human Rights has filed a lawsuit on behalf of several plaintiffs against Yahoo! for "aiding and abetting" acts of torture and other human rights violations in a US Federal Court.

That's somewhat old news with the suit being filed back in April of this year but what's really stirring the pot now is the fact that Yahoo! is now trying to get that lawsuit dismissed.

On Monday, Yahoo! asked the federal court in San Francisco to dismiss the lawsuit stating that Chinese journalist Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning, two of the many plaintiffs involved in the case, "assumed the risk of harm when they chose to use Yahoo! China email and group list services to engage in activity they knew violated Chinese law."

"Yahoo! deeply sympathizes with the plaintiffs and their families and does not condone the suppression of their rights and liberty by their government," the company said in its filing. "But Yahoo! has no control over the sovereign government of the People's Republic of China, the laws it passes, and the manner in which it enforces its laws."

Should the lawsuit not be dismissed, it will set a precedent for other US companies who operate abroad and how the obey both US laws and the laws of any country that they operate in.

Is Yahoo! right in saying that it did no wrong by complying with the Chinese government or does it deserve what it gets? Let us know your thoughts on this case over in the forums or in the comment section below.
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