Yahoo and MSN briefly help find Tibetan dissidents

Yahoo China and MSN China both briefly posted a "most wanted" list with photos of people Chinese authorities are trying to track down surrounding the recent events in Tibet, a French TV website reports.

Yahoo China and MSN China both briefly posted a "most wanted" list with photos of people Chinese authorities are trying to track down surrounding the recent events in Tibet, a French TV website reports.

Rebecca MacKinnon reports that the lists were down when she checked, and offers a guess as to what happened:

I wouldn't be surprised if the local editors just automatically ran it because everybody else in China was running it, then got over-ridden by management in the U.S. who realized how badly this would play outside of China... Such is the disconnect between China and the West on the Tibet issue.

Yahoo has an especially public history of aiding Chinese authorities in a much more proactive way, most famously in the Shi Tao case, when Yahoo gave authorities identifying information about online comments led to Shi Tao's imprisonment. Yahoo has scarcely heard the end of that, and its representatives, as well as some from Microsoft, have been called before U.S. Congressional committees. (Now the company's blog has called for Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to push for his release.)

Wherever you stand on these issues of cooperation with law enforcement, companies would be wise to think before they post.

UPDATE: Xinhua reports that portals including Yahoo had published the material.

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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