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NYT Editorial Slams ISPs Over Online Freedom

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the the-goal-is-less-sharing dept.

The Internet 127

Erris writes "The New York Times site is running an opinion piece from last weekend which lambasts Yahoo! (and other US ISPs) for cooperating with China and other repressive governments. 'Yahoo's collaboration is appalling, and Yahoo is not the only American company helping the Chinese government repress its people ... Last January, Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey reintroduced the Global Online Freedom Act in the House. It would fine American companies that hand over information about their customers to foreign governments that suppress online dissent.'"

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No kidding? (5, Insightful)

Nomad the Odd (1139747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623149)

From TFA: "Last January, Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey reintroduced the Global Online Freedom Act in the House. It would fine American companies that hand over information about their customers to foreign governments that suppress online dissent. The bill would at least give American companies a solid reason to decline requests for data, but the big Internet companies do not support it. That shows how much they care about the power of information to liberate the world." Really? The companies don't support the law? Gee that's strange. Why wouldn't they want to be stuck between a legal order to hand over information, and a fine if they do? That law may be a good idea, but it drastically cripples American companies.

Re:No kidding? (3, Interesting)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623283)

I think this law means the ISPs have a choice: either get fined in country X for not following the law, or get fined in USA for following the law in country X. Either way, it opens some interesting points for discussion: should anybody (person or company) really be punished for following the law of the country/state/area in which they are? If action Z is legal in country X but illegal in country Y, should I be punished in country Y for doing X in country Z? Suppose Z is "criticising the government", X is USA and Y is the Peoples Republic of China (= mainland/communist China). Should Li Wang, who lives in Beijing, be imprisoned in China after having criticised the Chinese government while on holiday in USA? And should an American business man on a short business trip to China be popped behind bars for fifteen years for speaking his mind while in USA?

Re:No kidding? (1, Interesting)

wilsong (322379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623355)

Your X's, Y's and Z's obscure the issue by artificially limiting the choices: no business should be trading in, profiting from and ultimately supporting totalitarian states. This includes Yahoo and the Do-No-Evil Empire.

Re:No kidding? (2, Insightful)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623409)

I can agree with you in principle, but think the suggested law is the wrong way to go. You should not be punished for following the law in the places you are, whether it be as a person or as a company. If the law of a country demands that (for example) companies turn over certain information to the authorities the companies following the law should not be punished in another country for doing so.

If companies doing business with the communist government in China is a problem, then forbid any company in USA to trade with China and you will have solved the problem. You will also have cost the consumers in USA(1) a great deal, but that is another issue.



1: According to Wikipedia China is USAs second largest import supplier: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_States#US_imports_of_goods_in_2004_by_country [wikipedia.org]

You've just identified the problem (4, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623471)

If companies doing business with the communist government in China is a problem, then forbid any company in USA to trade with China and you will have solved the problem.

Everybody knows China and America do massive trade together. Congress would rather throw stones at Yahoo!, et. al. while maintaining China's favored trade status, sending athletes to the Olympics, and doing nothing about Tibet. Frankly I think trade with China is ultimately more constructive than China-bashing, but the Congresscritters want to have it both ways.

Re:You've just identified the problem (2, Informative)

conlaw (983784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623587)

The real problem is that probably none of these "US companies" are doing business in or with China. AFIK, Yahoo and Google are working under separate Chinese corporations and the US cannot reach the Chinese subsidiaries of US corporations without "piercing the corporate veil." This would be equivalent to holding every Yahoo shareholder liable for anything that the US company does in the US. The entire body of the law of corporations depends on the rule that a shareholder is not responsible for the actions of the corporation and this includes US corporations who are shareholders of foreign corporations.

Re:You've just identified the problem (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624841)

meanwhile the Chinese don't care if data is on servers for Yahoo USA or Yahoo China... it's got "yahoo" in the name and they simply start putting guns to people's heads until the corporate veil is pierced... with bullets if necessary. In China govts are treated as hostile orgianizations with owners treated more like mob bosses.. and they go after the owners/execs directly if they want things done. US laws about "privacy" don't work against armed thugs... the congress doesn't quite grasp that they pass the same laws allowing the same force (like the new patriot banking rules for even Swiss banks!) when they feel the need.

Re:You've just identified the problem (2, Informative)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625493)

Not only that, these Chinese subsidiaries are not really the real one operate in China either. Because China does not allow foreign or joint-venture companies to hold an Internet Content provider (ICP) license; so typically the foreign company and its subsidiaries would own the IPs and the domain name but delegate some trusted Chinese nationals to set up a shell company to hold the ICP and business licenses. There are plenty of lawyers helping you do that.

Re:You've just identified the problem (4, Informative)

wytcld (179112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623653)

Where else but China can we get lead toys for our kids [go.com] ? How else can we outsource pollution [mercurynews.com] to a nation which believes it's its right to release carbon to make stuff for us [google.com] ? And what better than having all that junk shipped to us by fume-belching ships [pasadenastarnews.com] ?

Seriously, ending trade with China would most likely do more to cut particulate pollution (25% of LA's comes from China [the-signal.com] ), and cut global warming from coal burning [atimes.com] . Sure, there'd be short-term disruption of American corporate manufacturing patterns. But what we've learned in the process of outsourcing industries to China is how to build new factories quickly. We could use that knowledge again here.

Re:You've just identified the problem (4, Insightful)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623731)

Seriously, ending trade with China would most likely do more to cut particulate pollution (25% of LA's comes from China [the-signal.com] )
You can make that choice yourself, why wait for the US Government to step in where it doesn't belong in the first place. If you make a personal choice that buying products of China do harm, do not purchase products from China.

My personal belief is that trading with countries will have and end positive result as the population eventually will see their Government for what it is and change will occur. I don't care how oppressive a government is, if you have 1,000,000,000+ people of your population rising against you, you'll be running for the exit while your head is still upon your shoulders.

Re:You've just identified the problem (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624285)

I think that certain choices should not be left to the masses. This is one of them. Given current trends, trade with China may never stop. That pollution will continue to come in, and it will affect everyone. In this case, a personal choice may not help because the results of everyone else's opposition will still affect you. If few people buy Made in USA products, the manufacturers may move production out to China anyway just because everyone else wants cheaper products.

I remember being told about peer pressure- "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?"
In this case, the people that say no are being dragged off the bridge by the masses that say yes.

Re:You've just identified the problem (3, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625455)

The real problem now is that, even if you could convince a significant number of Americans to only "buy American" ... they couldn't do it. There's are hardly any consumer goods on sale anywhere that aren't Made in China. The masses had a chance fifteen or twenty years ago to vote with their wallets, and they did. They voted for cheap imported goods from China. We're getting exactly what we wanted: cheap imports, at the expense of domestic manufacturing and national independence. The situation is, of course, untenable and is a disaster in the making.

Good job, America. Pull out that credit card and keep on voting.

Re:You've just identified the problem (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625475)

"Where else but China can we get lead toys for our kids?"

Maybe Mexico?
http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2007/11/29/mattel_destroys_leaden_toys_in_mexico/ [boston.com]

You realize that these fucked up goods are the result of American companies able to operate without restrictions in foreign countries? The factories are making everything according to spec, and it's Mattel who chooses to cut costs everywhere. Chinese companies are now suing [giftsanddec.com] Mattel for making them look bad.

I do think that these American internet companies need to stop being pussys though. If china really does start blocking access to google, or yahoo, or whatever, then more and more people in china will discover how easy it is to get around the firewall, and that's the last thing china wants.

Re:You've just identified the problem (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624621)

Just to give you an idea how much trade we do with China, Chinese goods don't go through customs anymore.

Re:You've just identified the problem (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626097)

Frankly I think trade with China is ultimately more constructive than China-bashing
If you call artificial cheapening of their currency, dumping of persistent low-quality goods until they stick, and the selling out of our national sovereignty to them trade, so be it. Don't be surprised to see it continue until the desired outcome is reached, and without the mistakes made with Japan.

Re:No kidding? (2, Insightful)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623511)

You should not be punished for following the law in the places you are, whether it be as a person or as a company.
This is the classic Catch-22. Just look at the signs inside the US Embassy next time you travel abroad. They promise absolutely no assistance if you should happen to run afoul of local law enforcement officials. Damned if you, damned if you don't. It is extraordinarily bad law especially since the US doesn't have exactly a stellar record itself on online freedom, though fortunately the Supreme Court keeps overturning the worst of the laws.

Re:No kidding? (2, Informative)

GoMMiX (748510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623637)

My question is - what the hell do we have TRADE AGREEMENTS with China for. They want to make it illegal for companies to produce this information to these governments, but this government itself is catering heavily to countries with low wage labor, like China. Pass that law, and let's throw some politicians in jail for treason while we are at it.

You remember that whole toothpaste fiasco from China? They EXECUTED the official responsible for letting that slip by. Not fined, jailed, or sentenced to community service for not 'catching' pad product being exported - they ended his life. You know how much press that got in the US? Dick. Why? Because people and politicians don't WANT to recognize what we are supporting by doing business over there (not to mention the MILLIONS of factory jobs we've shipped off - GFG - wonder who THAT makes rich, aye?)

The irony of it all is, even the people of the countries we setup these trade agreements with don't want them. Wonder why.....

Re:No kidding? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623907)

You remember that whole toothpaste fiasco from China? They EXECUTED the official responsible for letting that slip by. Not fined, jailed, or sentenced to community service for not 'catching' pad product being exported - they ended his life. You know how much press that got in the US? Dick. Why?
Yes, I do. I think you're wrong on the `why' part though. How popular of a decision do you think that was with US lawmakers (if they thought it might apply to them)?

We hold parents responsible for the death of their children if they use bad judgment that results in the child's death, government insists on becoming a parent to everyone, you connect the dots ...

Re:No kidding? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624889)

but the USA did NOTHING to the importers of the stuff.. the guys that are legally responsible in the USA to ensure their products comply with USA safety rules. All the corrupted goods should have some importer/broker/exec in jail over here, but there's nothing done... not a peep.. just a bunch of noise on the news. But it's all under the "corporate veil" so the USA won't do anything...it's just paperwork.

Re:No kidding? (1)

kova66 (1015131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626441)

Zheng Xiaoyu [wikipedia.org] executed for corruption

Re:No kidding? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624097)

I personally think that would be for the better.

Re:No kidding? (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627351)

That cat's already out of the bag. You can't criticize big businesses for trading in China, and then drive to your local chain store and buy a bunch of cheap crap made in China. Or maybe I have it wrong, and your the one guy who manages to completely avoid anything made in China.

China's government is terrible, but that's really not our problem.

Re:No kidding? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623375)

That is the Reason why Internet must not be in XYZ Dimension...

It must have its own Dimension, its own rules, and its own dictatorial system...

What is a Country?, what is Democracy?, what is Comunism? For me an Natural Internet Habitant: only definition terms of a query result...

Internet = new Complex_Dimension((XYZ)^Globalization)

And if countries oposses to free the Internet cause their land gives storage to the servers... MOVE THE SERVERS TO MARS...

Politicals and liars will be overrided by natural geeks with help of geeks of war like me: The reason Geeks never tells a lie.

Re:No kidding? (2, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624709)

then the issue becomes will the US govt protect US citizen employees in other countries? Is the Congress willing to hire out the army out to ANY company following US law or just their favorites? That was the Yahoo issue. The Chinese govt had threatened Yahoo's Chinese employees with prison if Yahoo USA didn't cough up the info. Look at how the DOJ handled the Pirate Bay or UK citizen kidnapping trouble to see that the USA does EXACTLY the same thing when they want to enforce US laws in OTHER countries.

On another note, what happens when China does decide to kick somebody out and seize their assets..and wipe out all of Microsoft or GM's holdings in their country? see how that worked out for the Queen of Hawaii when businesses wanted her out, or how it worked out for Castro when he did kick US business out, or for Chavez..., except China is too big to threaten into submission like them and they can simply cut us off... or take back Taiwan.

The problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623383)

that companies will simply go quiet on how much help they give to china. In particular, everybody is pointing a finger at Yahoo, but ignoring MS's hand in all this. Keep in mind, that they opened up their source to China LONG before they opened it up to American public. I like the way that ppl point to Google who has not handed over information to China (or other govs, including America). The ONLY wrong that Google has done is allow censorship. But all of the major ones do that, with MS/Yahoo doing it quietly, while Google actually lets user know that they were censored.

Re:No kidding? (3, Insightful)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623451)

That law may be a good idea, but it drastically cripples American companies' ability to profit from, and provide revenue to, oppressive violators of human rights. There, fixed that for you. Of course, if you want to make an argument that such is the legitimate business of American corporations...I'll probably just be unsurprised.

Re:No kidding? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624033)

This is a guy who voted for the patriot act (twice!) AND the Iraq war. I don't consider him to be a real lover of freedom. Sounds like political expediency to me.

Re:No kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21625469)

Easy choice, actually. If they want to be American companies, they can abide by US law and operate their companies according to American ideas of freedom. If they want to abide by Chinese law, and operate according to Chinese notions of freedom, they can pack up their shit and move to China.

Yes, but.. (5, Insightful)

Brian Ribbon (986353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623193)

The US ISPs also frequently co-operate with the US authorities, whose attitude towards people's online rights is hardly respectable.

Re:Yes, but.. (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623287)

They should be fined if they cooperate with any government, foreign or domestic.

but the USA!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21623301)

Jesus Christ, this "but the USA does this" is becoming the left's version of "but Clinton!" It's such a lame and uninsightful comment that its not worth discussing. The US is not even close to China, Cuba, or these other repressive governments. It's got its issues, but the moral equivalence is just not there.

I love how these political stories always seems to return to US-bashing. It only took two comments before it came to that.

Re:but the USA!! (0)

Brian Ribbon (986353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623349)

"The US is not even close to China, Cuba, or these other repressive governments. It's got its issues, but the moral equivalence is just not there."


China and Cuba openly repress people. Everyone can see what they're doing.

The US chooses to either repress minorities who nobody else cares about (such as hated sexual minorities), or repress people more covertly, therefore hiding their actions from the majority of the population.

Re:but the USA!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21624391)

So it's HIDDEN oppression. Ahhhhh, got it. I sincerely hope that one day you get to travel to a country that truly does oppress its people. Context - you seem to have little of it.

Re:but the USA!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21625333)

As a Canadian, I feel a little left out from all the USA-directed tu quoque. "Blame Canada" became "Blame America!"

Re:Yes, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21624213)

Very good point. Despicable ISP behavior is occurring much closer to home.

Re:Yes, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21625537)

Ah, yes. The "US is just as bad" idiocy.

Wake me up when you or one of your screeching hippie buddies gets executed or imprisoned for 20 years for saying something bad about Bush or the US government okay?

If you were Chinese, you could get in trouble for writing what you just wrote. However, you know for a FACT that you are in ZERO danger of being arrested, no matter WHAT you write about the US government.

You don't even believe your own bullshit, son. Don't expect anyone else to believe it.

Re:Yes, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21625931)

Wake me up when you or one of your screeching hippie buddies gets executed or imprisoned for 20 years for saying something bad about Bush or the US government okay?

*wakes you up*

Heard of Guantanamo? How the hell do you think most of the people got there? From the reports which have come out, most of the people that have been imprisoned and tortured there didn't actually commit any crimes.

Oh, you misunderstand.. (1)

Brian Ribbon (986353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625975)

"Wake me up when you or one of your screeching hippie buddies gets executed or imprisoned for 20 years for saying something bad about Bush or the US government okay?"


I am not a hippie, nor am I living in the US. I am living in the UK, which is a clone of the US. I am attracted to children; many people in the UK (which has been heavily influenced by US law) who are attracted to children are imprisoned for viewing non-pornographic yet illegal images of children. So, I can't view even non-pornographic images of children if "normal" people would find them offensive.

American and British societies treat all people who are attracted to children as child molesters, frequently slander people who are attracted to children, and create offences to target people who are attracted to children (such as laws against cartoon child pornography).

The US and the UK are the worst countries to live in, as someone who is attracted to children.

http://anu.nfshost.com/users/blueribbon [nfshost.com]

What about foreign companies? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623213)

Why not also fine foreign companies that operate in the US for the same behavior?

Moral but counter-productive? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623247)

This smacks of the US government trying to circuitously put economic sanctions on China because of it's human rights issues, without going through the proper international channels. In the end, all it's going to do is damage US business - China won't even notice if these companies go away, they have their own solutions for the same problems.

Trying to legislate against another country's laws sounds like a terrible idea on paper, and it doesn't promise much more in practice either.

When did Yahoo become an ISP?? (4, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623281)

Or Google?? Or Microsoft??

An ISP provides access to the net, not just web services.

Re:When did Yahoo become an ISP?? (2, Insightful)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623325)

You know, that's odd, an Internet Service Provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. A company that provides an online service is not called an Internet Service Provider.

Why don't we say IAP, Internet Access Provider, instead of ISP?

Very illogical.

Simple answer (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623403)

back in the early 90's, the ISP did it all. When Yahoo and Hotmail came along, then slowly, the ISPs dropped service and just focused on access. But like hacker/cracker, perhaps it is time to change the lexicon.

Re:When did Yahoo become an ISP?? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624765)

Providing access is a service. In meatspace, in the big blue room, people are running all kinds of services without running executables that end in 'd'.

Re:When did Yahoo become an ISP?? (2, Insightful)

lju (944654) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624801)

For the same reasons that you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway. Internet Service is the facility that gives me an Internet connection to the rest of the world, and the ISP provides Internet Service. It is akin to Telephone Service and Electrical Service.

Re:When did Yahoo become an ISP?? (0, Offtopic)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623345)

Yeah, and since when did a journal entry (by twitter^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Erris no less) about a single, standard editorial from another publication, make front page?

Re:When did Yahoo become an ISP?? (1)

salimma (115327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623473)

It says a lot about Slashdot editors and contributors that the mistake was made on the Slashdot side.. TFA did not mention ISPs at all.

I think you know what I mean. (0, Troll)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625843)

The article refers to "Internet Companies" but that does not fit into the subject field. This is a technical limitation and it's irrelevant.

The purpose of the bill is to promote online freedom at all levels of the food chain, including access and equipment maker. The authors and they NYT are disgusted by the willing co-operation of US companies that should know better. Dumb networks work better than networks that can be filtered, everyone knows that. US companies are not really going to like it when these tools are turned on them at home. I can only hope that the bills authors will ride the easy to obtain wave indignation for China to a less easy to obtain indignation for the same practices here. Freedom is important everywhere.

It'd probably mean more (-1, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623303)

if it wasn't coming from a newspapers whose credibility has sunk to that of the National Enquirer.

It's their right to choose to cooperate (2, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623305)

As a relativist, I believe it's Yahoo's right to choose whether or not to cooperate with the Chinese government. I believe it's perfectly fine for them to respect the local customs, even if we consider them repulsive over here. Corporations may be based in different countries, but they are truly international identities. They also possess no morality other than pleasing their shareholders, and I feel they have no obligation to initiate confrontation with different countries, all because they happen to be mimicking your morality where it doesn't (yet) fit. In fact, I would say they have just as much right to start censoring information in the US as they do subverting the Chinese censorship systems.

Of course, as a relativist, no-one respects my opinions. Take 'em or leave 'em.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (4, Insightful)

Thomas M Hughes (463951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623725)

As a relativist, I believe it's Yahoo's right to choose whether or not to cooperate with the Chinese government.


The word "right" is an absolutist word. Relativists coherently can't believe in rights, as the word "right" implies a standard of correctness outside of one's own perspective. The best you can do, as a relativist who wishes to remain coherent, is to say "I think Yahoo can do whatever it wants." And Congress can then reply "I don't think it can!" And because you're a relativist, you've got no way to mitigate these two claims, because you certainly don't have access to the language of "rights."

I suppose you could just have no desire to be coherent. But if you're incoherent, you shouldn't really be too surprised when people don't respect your opinions.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623859)

Hehe, that made my day!

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626747)

I'm perfectly coherent. I believe it is their right. I also accept that my beliefs are only valid from my perspective. So I'm not really surprised that people don't respect my opinions anyway.

Besides, does it really matter what jargon I used?

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624117)

"Corporations may be based in different countries, but they are truly international identities. They also possess no morality other than pleasing their shareholders..."

Right there, you've constructed the perfect argument in favor of this law. If they have no morality, then we must pass laws forcing them to be constructive members of society in general. Only by levying massive fines, and leveraging their amoral need to "please their shareholders", can we force them to be good citizens.

Once upon a time, corporations were required, as part of their state charter, to serve the greater good; if they failed to do so, their corporate charter could be terminated. A series of legal judgements removed that as an option, but I would certainly be in favor of bringing that back. See references to H. Glasbeak and Noam Chomsky here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624825)

You're correct about laws and regulations being the only way to influence the behavior of corporations, but how far are you willing to take that? China is a sovereign country. The US government has absolutely no right to determine how companies act under a separate, sovereign state's law. Yahoo, while working in China, is a Chinese company and must obey Chinese laws. I think it would be dangerous to set a precedent where corporations would be exerting the influence of their home government.

Would you be fine with Chinese companies pushing their beliefs on us? If not, then it's is supremely hypocritical for us to expect US companies to do the same. Free trade cuts both ways, you have to take the bad with the good.

As for your second point, there are multiple, valid reasons why corporations are no longer require to serve "the greater good". One of course is the assumption that the "invisible hand" will ensure that corporations, while obeying the laws, will always serve the greater good. Another, and IMHO the most important, is that "the greater good" is unbelievably subjective. Morality isn't an absolute. There's no way legislature or some sort of government entity could objectively determine what is for "the greater good". By China's laws and AFAIK the opinion of most Chinese, Yahoo et. al *are* being moral companies, and contributing to the greater good.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625005)

"Would you be fine with Chinese companies pushing their beliefs on us?"

I would be completely, perfectly fine with companies having to choose whether they do business in China, or the U.S., and not both. That is, having laws that make companies serving China's government incompatible with business in the U.S is ok by me.

As always, I would much rather have the U.S. electorate be able to vote on what corporate behavior they want in their country, than being at the mercy of either totalitarian foreign governments, or powerful entrenched rich people with legal protections from liability (i.e., the "invisible hand"). For me, that's definitely an easy call.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (2, Insightful)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626215)

I would be completely, perfectly fine with companies having to choose whether they do business in China, or the U.S., and not both. That is, having laws that make companies serving China's government incompatible with business in the U.S is ok by me.

The only thing that would produce would be extreme isolationism and poverty for the US. If we essentially ended all trade with nations that have oppressive governments, we would cut off most of the world (including most of our oil suppliers, among other things). Even places like India or Brazil which are generally supportive of liberty do some terrible things and deprive people of human rights.

Could you imagine, on the other side, countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Indonesia refusing to trade with us because we are not Muslim? Or Latin American countries refusing to trade with us because we are not Catholic? Or Europe refusing to trade with us because we don't have national health care? That entire idea is ludicrous. It's a very naive and idealistic position to take that your views are correct and all other must adopt them or be shunned. The world doesn't work that way, nor should it.

It's necessary to trade with other nations, and most other nations are going to do things people from the US find objectionable. You just have to live with the fact that other people have different views than ours. If the Chinese people wanted complete liberty, they would overthrow the government. It's not our responsibility to force our ideas on those that don't want them.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

yusing (216625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626841)

I've no problem differentiating moral from amoral. And I certainly don't like much of what happens in China ... even though I have little choice but to be their customer much of the time.

But what's moral? Within any time in any particular culture, there may be a consensus on that question. But consensus varies within any culture over time, and varies from culture to culture. Criticism of someone else's morality is presumptive of a demonstrated capacity to do better -- to provide a guiding example. Otherwise it's simply relativistic squabbling.

Do we really have a consensus, in America, on the morality of "ratting out" journalists? Scientists? Whistleblowers? Friends? Family? Is our torture "on a higher plane" than their torture?

We are currently living in one of the most corrupt eras in American history. It's hypocritical as hell to keep pointing fingers at other cultures for doing what we do. We need to clean up our own house first. Our "outrage" rings pretty hollow right now. This Congress is in no position to raise howls of outrage; its present nature encourages what it pretends to disparage. We've no "high moral" ground to stand upon.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624517)

As a relativist, I believe it's Yahoo's right to choose whether or not to cooperate with the Chinese government.

Corporate charters in the U.S. are allegedly granted contingant on being in the public interest. If the public here doesn't believe that supporting the suppression of political dissent is in their best interests, do they not have a right to revoke the charter? If indeed, they may determine that Yahoo may not exist at all in the U.S. isn't it reasonable that they may also choose a lesser sanction such as a huge fine?

Note that I am not saying that Yahoo HAS to obey the ethics and morals of the U.S. they are free to become a Chinese company any time they like, but I'll bet their stockholders would lynch them.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626717)

Corporations do not "possess no morality", they are at the very least obligated to respect the laws of the countries they operate in, which is to say, there is a huge amount of "morality" imposed on them. This makes sense. If you're saying you believe that corporations should be allowed to be above the law, then you're just saying that certain people (since companies are just owned by people) should be allowed to be above the law. If you believe that's OK, then you're essentially saying you believe it's OK for people to be able to do whatever they want, even murder other people or abuse children. Since you said you're a relativist, I presume that is exactly what you're saying. Sorry, but the term 'relativist' is just a label designed to give a veneer of ideological legitimacy to 'idiocy'. That's not ad hominen, I'll give you an example: What is the difference between saying "it's OK for the Chinese government to murder its own citizens for merely saying something they disagree with", and saying "it's OK for my next door neighbour to rape and cut up his 8-year-old daughter"? Answer: To a relativist, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE, you MUST accept one if you accept the other, they're two different levels of the same thing. "But that's an entirely different country, far away", you say. Bollocks - the whole POINT of this issue is that should China become powerful enough (and we're allowing them to), they WILL at some point inevitably use force to *impose* their ("relative") "morality" on the USA, and e.g. YOU. They're not separate worlds, they're just 'next door' actually, and the next fifty years of human history will show that. I guess as a relativist you're OK with that, but most people aren't, so the whole point of laws like this is to draw a line and try to something to prevent that from ever happening. It's certainly not easy, it's a complex issue, but doing nothing is about the least sensible thing you can do.

It's a complex issue because pushing these companies between a rock and a hard place and making it effectively impossible for them to legally operate in a major dictatorship without breaking the law in one country or another, may have the opposite effect to what is desired: American companies may leave the market, and then Chinese companies will simply take their place, rising to power, and thereby *strengthening* the position of the morally corrupt, and weakening the position of the US. The idea of boycotting their markets might've worked a few years when China was highly dependent on exports to the US for growth, but the share of China's exports that goes to the US is shrinking extremely rapidly, and fast approaching the point where a US boycott would have very little effect on China at all. No amount of free trade or economic growth is, by itself, going to cause China to become a free country. This is not only a major problem for a billion Chinese, it's quite possibly going to become a major problem for you and me too; perhaps you feel calling yourself a "relativist" somehow rationalises your arguments to do nothing and allow it - to me, it sounds just like that famous quote, which I'll paraquote, "first, they came for the Chinese citizens, and I did nothing - because I wasn't Chinese ..."

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626797)

Corporations do not "possess no morality", they are at the very least obligated to respect the laws of the countries they operate in, which is to say, there is a huge amount of "morality" imposed on them.
You misunderstood me. They inherently possess no morality (other than the shareholders), but they can take on the morality imposed by law. They do it in western countries, and they do it in China. I'm saying that I think the companies shouldn't necessarily obey the westerners when they tell them to refuse to obey local laws. It'd make as much sense as imposing Chinese morality on the US (i.e. censoring everything with a fine-tooth comb).

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627007)

So you mean if, say, a US law attempted to illegalise behaviour in a foreign country that isn't illegal in that foreign country, and the company operated in both countries, it should be able to choose to ignore that law? Or do you mean, US law shouldn't be 'allowed' to cover activities of (American or not) companies on foreign soil in the first place? I'm sure the Chinese government probably would attempt to impose their own morality on subsidiaries of Chinese companies operating in the US - e.g. Chinese banks who have bought into some American banks are probably not allowed to criticise the Chinese government in the US or they'd get into trouble back home (I don't know if that's the case for sure, but it seems likely). Likewise if a Chinese-owned search engine opened operations in the US, and allowed totally uncensored searches on American soil, would they be breaking laws in China where head office is based? I'm not sure what really makes sense.

Re:It's their right to choose to cooperate (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21627399)

If the US tried to pass such a law, I'd be against it. It's bad enough trying to legislate morality without trying to legislate it on foreigners. As to whether Yahoo should obey it, I'd say it should, or get out of the US. If China passed a vice-versa law, same deal. It makes perfect sense.

No such thing (2, Insightful)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623309)

No such thing as a $country company, they are trans-national. if the country where their headquarters passes a law they don't like dispite their lobbing efforts to stop it they will just move their headquaters to another country.

What did everyone expect globalization was? (1)

awfar (211405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624099)

Did everyone think globalization was simply about exchanging shiny, cheaper, manufactured items?

No; it was about ultimate alignment of all of these other harder, more difficult and intangible things like values, whatever.

Economics may bring the pressure to do so, but no one said it is enough or that it won't be painful along the way.

When are those who pushed for loose, blind globalization going to have to eat their own dog food?

It has yet to be seen, but coming, I think.

The article is an opinion piece (0)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623315)

"Freedom of speech" is not freedom of speech if its conditional. And its still illegal to commit libel and wrong to lie.

To support genuine freedom of speech is to support anonymous remailers where such genuine information can be communicated with safety.
But such systems are then attacked by those who abuse such systems with spam, libel and other dishonest intents.

Everyone wants to limit spam, including China.

So who is really to blame for suppression here?

Those who are not honest and won't shut up with their dishonesty but often pursue massive amounts of publishing it?

So how honest is this opinion piece article?

Freedom does not mean you get to impose upon the freedoms of others. And this means freedom does not include wasting peoples time and shared resources with babeling spam, libel, etc...

What is it that I support? Honesty, fully integrated honesty.
Do I think Dishonesty should be suppressed? Only with and identifying stamp "Dishonesty" placed on it.

Easier said than done.... and thats Honest.

Re:The article is an opinion piece (2, Insightful)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623399)

Freedom of Speech is the First Defense against Tyranny

Tyranny is the unrestricted or arbitrary use of power and is preferred by thugs of every feather.

when people are arrested for simply saying they don't like their government, then that is a bad thing. especially if some of them are then executed so their organs can be "harvested" ( sold to selected "important" people )

I think the hardest part of defending freedom is in accepting the extent of evil that develops if unchecked.

the freedom of speech that has developed as a result of electronic communication over the last 15 years may be the best thing that has happened to humanity in the last 15 centuries

Re:The article is an opinion piece (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623579)

There should be a difference between freedom of speech and dishonesty speaking.

Do you know how stupid it sounds that one random person speaks up against their government and then is executed for organ harvesting for someone important?
Whats the odds of a genetic enough match?

China worked with americans to get starving people out of north korea. Why? Because Americans don't look korean enough to do it themselves.

Tienanmen square. What was worse than that? What happened in Mexico the year the Olympics was there. It was suppressed, more students were killed, but that would be bad press for such an event.

Why was there not one but two attacks on the world trade center many years apart?
follow the money http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2704stockmarket.html [pbs.org] and know the CIA has identified indonesia as 88% muslim.

Freedom of speech, which part? The true part? the true part that supports an illusion? The dishonest part?
How about fully integrated honesty.

If you are going to support patriotism, as your web page link points to, perhaps you should really support trade sanctions against China, if you so really believe what you do.

When was the last time you read the declaration of independence? Maybe its time you read it again! You know, to understand the honest meaning of patriotism.

Re:The article is an opinion piece (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624293)

you will always have to determine for yourself what to trust and what to reject the wider and more varied your experience the better you will be able to do this

Re:The article is an opinion piece (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623633)

Easier said than done.... and thats Honest.

Probably depends on which stage of moral development (sensu KOHLBERG [plts.edu] ) society tries to 'enforce'.

Summary
At stage 1 children think of what is right as that which authority says is right. Doing the right thing is obeying authority and avoiding punishment. At stage 2, children are no longer so impressed by any single authority; they see that there are different sides to any issue. Since everything is relative, one is free to pursue one's own interests, although it is often useful to make deals and exchange favors with others.
At stages 3 and 4, young people think as members of the conventional society with its values, norms, and expectations. At stage 3, they emphasize being a good person, which basically means having helpful motives toward people close to one At stage 4, the concern shifts toward obeying laws to maintain society as a whole.
At stages 5 and 6 people are less concerned with maintaining society for it own sake, and more concerned with the principles and values that make for a good society. At stage 5 they emphasize basic rights and the democratic processes that give everyone a say, and at stage 6 they define the principles by which agreement will be most just.


Probably not stage 6 which would perhaps render your image, more like 3 or 4 if you are an optimist, 1 if you are a cynic (and look at sheeple, could not resist).

CC.

double standard (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623359)

So Yahoo et al are handing over information about people leaving the person open to persecution, and now the government is taking them to task over this.

I assume the same government will also be attacking ISPs who hand over people's information to corporations, leaving the people open to persecution. Or is there some corruption going on that would prevent this?

Re:double standard (1)

Damocles the Elder (1133333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623523)

So Yahoo et al are handing over information about people leaving the person open to persecution, and now one person is suggesting a law that he know won't get passed so he can put "cares about your privacy" in his commercials next time reelection day comes around.


Fixed.

What online freedom? (3, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623373)

In Europe and the United States, we've seen the governments meddling with online freedom over and over again. For example, France is soon voting on a law that would force ISPs to shut down users who download copyrighted material. And then there's our own White House's Safe Port Act that forces financial institutions to shut down its operations to gambling sites. What's more bizarre is that some congressmen want the ISPs to regulate it; block "illegal" sites by banning the IP adresses. In Sweden they had party members who wanted ISPs to hand out IP adresses of users.

Re:What online freedom? (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623689)

Granting all that, if we can get our press and to condemn China for it, it will be more embarrassing for them to do too much of it, too blatantly, themselves.

Re:What online freedom? (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624163)

What are you saying?

Except for copyright, pornography, surveillance, phone-home software, the US is a a beacon of online freedom.

Good. (4, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623417)

This is welcome in that it a step towards enforcing Universal Rights by our value system not rules to interpret of anothers. Universal Rights are something we fought hard for here and on principle alone we should not compromise them elsewhere because they aren't enlightened (from my perspective) enough yet.

Screw China! (5, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623535)

Why can't we get a law passed that says companies can't do that here?! I mean seriously, not to be cold, but I don't give a crap about Yahoo or anyone turning over data on chinese dissidents to chinese authorities when there is nothing stoping them from turning over the data on US dissidents to US authorities. Christ, they are even trying to grant the telcos immunity for doing that here in the US while trying to prevent it in china. WTF? Can I please get a little more concern for the rights, privacy, and freedom of our own damned citizens before we go off pretending to be dudly do right elsewhere? This world police shit is what keeps getting us in trouble in the first place.

Re:Screw China! (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625271)

Can I please get a little more concern for the rights, privacy, and freedom of our own damned citizens before we go off pretending to be dudly do right elsewhere?

First off, it's a complete logical fallacy to claim that we shouldn't do X because Y isn't perfect. Nothing prevents both from happening, independent of each other.

Secondly, I'd like you to try that statement with other subjects, and see how good it sounds. eg. "Can I please get a little more food, before we go off sending aide to Africa?" "Can we please get cheaper Viagra, before sending tuberculosis vaccines to poor people?"

This world police shit is what keeps getting us in trouble in the first place.

No. As a matter of fact, US corporations doing absolutely criminal things, cooperating with repressive foreign governments, is one of the biggest contributors to the US' terrible world image. When guys like Castro and Chavez complain about the US to the world, they don't yell about the US making laws that protected their citizens... They're complaining about US companies buying oil and mineral rights for nothing, horrifically exploiting the poor, and cooperating with the government to squash unions, dissidents, political organizers, etc. etc. All things that were perfectly legal in those countries at the time, but abhorrent to anyone with any sense of morality or human rights.

Americans like yourself who are completely wrapped up in their own trivial local problems, and want to remain happily ignorant of terrible realities in the rest of the world, allowing them to continue, are what REALLY make for the US' terrible image.

Re:Screw China! (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626701)

Nice try.

1. Can I get more (something we are having a shortage of) before we sent it to (some other place). Is nowhere near the same as the two emotional examples you tried to equate what I said to.

2. That is funny. While I agree that what many US companies are doing overseas is abhorrent, I was pretty sure the bombing countries into the stone age on a "Crusade" with little justification and supporting terrorists and the like is what gave us the bad image. I mean, I always assumed the deals like Iran Contra, or training terrorists to fight soviets, or standing up crazy murderous dictators to stop communism is where things really fell apart. 600,000 dead in Iraq doesn't even begin to compare to 20,000 dead in Bhopal India.

3. I seriously hope you aren't trying to say Chavez and Castro are good guys. I hate to break it to you but the ultra leftist crowd is quite capable of the same level of horrific evil that the "capitalist dogs" are. Spend some time talking to people who escaped the U.S.S.R about that one.

Americans like yourself amuse me to no end. Don't fool yourself, this China business is nothing more than a petty distraction from our own transition to a surveillance society. Why are they making noise about Yahoo and a few journalists instead of the huge number of chemical companies operating dirty overseas? I hate to break it to you buddy, but what good are you going to do for the world while being waterboarded in gitmo for speaking highly of leftist wack jobs? How does a doctor treat patients while he is sick with pneumonia? If we can't keep our own nation healthy and free then we cannot begin to fix the things you complain about. If we cannot protect our freedom, corruption in our government will continue to thrive and allow the things like what you complain about to continue unchecked.

Re:Screw China! (1)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625391)

Awesome angle! I would Tivo C-span if I had the chance to see Yahoo use your argument while speaking to Congress.

ThoughtCrime (3, Insightful)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623701)

But of course, American companies that hand over information about their customers to domestic governments that suppress online dissent are just doing their patriotic duty, and do not in any way, shape, or form need to be investigated or prosecuted. In fact, let's give them explicit legal protection!

I can has "double standard"?

Re:ThoughtCrime (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625855)

MOD PARENT UP. Oh, to be out of points.

Sure... if it's China. What about the U.S.? (4, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623733)

Where is the outcry when ISP's and the government restrict communication in the U.S.?

Everyone is up in arms about Yahoo cooperating with the Chinese government, but Yahoo and other companies bend over backwards to help the U.S. Government, often with nary a question. The telecom's cooperation with the NSA with the warrantless wiretapping of citizens is an obvious example (and there the Times did an admirable job getting the word out), but as most on Slashdot realize, there are two magic phrases which suddenly causes First Amendment amnesia... terrorism and child pornography. Mention one of those terms and you'll have Yahoo employees jumping through hoops of fire to hand you customer records, regardless of how substantiated the claim may be.

I don't remember the NYTimes writing an editorial admonishing AT&T for deciding to "filter" their network for copyrighted material.

People often ignore freedom of speech abuses in the U.S. because we have the First Amendment. Therefore, freedom of speech is guaranteed... right? But China's constitution guarantees the freedom of speech as well (article 35). You can't just deny that your house is burning down because you have a piece of paper that guarantees it's fireproof.

What counts as repressive? (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623819)

I mean, depending on how you look at it, I think "repressive" could also fit in the good ole USA...

Re:What counts as repressive? (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623979)

"Free speech zones", anyone?

brilliant! (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21623935)

[sarcasm]Doubtlessly, it's a lot better for China if the Chinese kick out Yahoo and Google for non-compliance and then go ahead and create their own government controlled alternatives![/sarcasm]

Freedom Begins at Home (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624009)

If only the NY Times were saying anything about the "SAFE Act" [cbs4denver.com] , that the House just passed to force all ISPs to take responsibility for all content they host or transport, even if they don't moderate it, in direct contradiction of the landmark CDA [wikipedia.org] which let ISPs be like telcos always have. Lots of child molesters trap children in telephone conversations, but the telco has no liability, because holding them responsible requires tapping every conversation, which is what the SAFE Act (not the one with the same name that sanely deregulated crypto export) now does: forces ISPs to monitor and analyze the content of your every Internet communication. But the Times has said nothing [google.com] .

Morality laws (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624027)

I think the US imperialistic tendencies are seeping out.
Like Britain(India, Ireland), they are convinced that they know better then the rest of the world.
The US is happy legislating its morality. As long as you have the US as the only super power, it truly is the west against everyone else. In the US they arrested and jailed the owners of a 3 day old online-poker law.
The US decided that even Credit Card companies that are making payments to these 'scum of the earth' would be held liable. Even after the WTO slapped them for it. They even tarried the crap out of our softwood lumber, aing that it was somehow federally subsidized. They took billions. WTO agreed with us.. but that still didn't matter. Good luck getting them to do what is right. But we MUST bow to the almighty walmart.

Even in the recent past couple of years Canada has been playing catchup. With its own set. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050325-4734.html/ [arstechnica.com] http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2016/275/ [michaelgeist.ca]

Yahoo is an ISP? (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624103)

Hey folks. Can someone clarify this for me. I didn't know that Yahoo was an ISP at all--just a search engine and portal.

Do they actually provide internet access in the US?

Repression in Italy? (1)

timbrown (578202) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624125)

What about this case - http://www.indymedia.org/fbi/ [indymedia.org] - or is it okay when it's friends in the war on terror?

Pot, kettle, black (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21624473)

After the New York Times' collaboration with our enemies (radical Islam), they have the nerve to complain about ISPs and China? The pure gall!

Who cares about Yahoo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21624557)

There is a bill HR 1955 in America, that says that if you blog against what our government is doing you are a terrorist. Why isn't this retard up in arms about that? Oppress the Chinese?! We need to start criticizing and fixing our own house for the love of pete.

Wake up.

Why just online content providers? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624609)

Why the blatant hypocrisy? You've got corporations falling out of their chairs trying to outsource everything they possibly can to [large asian nation with only one uber controlling political party known to have murdered millions of their own people] with a pretty dismal and long running bleak human rights record. So it's OK for these other corporations to make money hand over fist "cooperating with the regime", but if ISPs/ web based content providers do it it needs some special laws? How about a binary Yoda level decision instead, nation A is acceptable to do business with because they follow some normal human rights principles, or they do not, so you do not do business with them until they change *first*.

Note: I am not letting Yahoo off the hook, I am saying all these other for profit corporations need to be stuck on the same hook

Pot - kettle - dirty (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21624917)

The NYT might well not like ISPs decisions. They think certain freedoms are important and others must enforce them. However, the NYT is not always so liberal and supports gun control even though it is unconstitutional in the US. Obviously, the NYT doesn't think gun freedom important.


This becomes a question of values, and how far to exert extraterritoriality. What freedoms are truly unalienable? Freedom from torture likely is, gun freedom likely is not. In between there is an area for individual and national discretion.

So let me get this straight: (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625441)

Sharing user info with the US Government: okay. Sharing user info with other governments: not okay.

Paying US workers less than a living wage: not okay. Paying other nation's workers less a living wage: okay.

what about following other laws outside the usa? (1)

hajus (990255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21625483)

It would be hypothetically interesting if the USA were to pass some law fining its companies for hiring people in other countries under the USA minimum wage or bypassing other laws while operating outside the country rather than only violating privacy. Fining people or corps for breaking US laws while not operating in the US sets up precedent where these things may become issues.

Hopefully that proposed law is forward-looking (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626299)

There are other repressive countries in that region ready to retool into the next Sweatshop Country. Nothing like a law that makes compliance the only viable path to get the job done without sacrificing national sovereignty and/or humanity.

Yea, but (1)

di0s (582680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626445)

"...Yahoo is not the only American company helping the Chinese government repress its people ..."
Don't we all do that as consumers when we buy Chinese products? If you think the living standards of most of the Chinese has improved, think again [cnn.com] .

I think the fatal mistake made by the U.S. Government is to assume that as the fortunes of the country improve, so will the hunger for democracy. Couldn't be more wrong. There was a great article in Time that interviewed a few Chinese in their early 20's and for the most part, so long as they could keep consuming stuff, they could care less about their freedoms. The only thing that increased wealth is bringing is a build up in the Chinese military.

Re:Yea, but (1)

MulluskO (305219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21626671)

Couldn't be more wrong
Men as great as Milton Friedman have argued to the contrary. It's worked in South America, and I think it can work elsewhere.

and this is different how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21627225)

Hello? Congress? Where do you get your oil from? Saudi Arabia you say.. Oh, okay, that's fine then..
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