Yahoo could stay in China and stop sending its users to jail

Rebecca McKinnon expertly skewers Yahoo's spin on its ongoing assistance to the Chinese government in arresting dissidents — Yahoo accuses its critics of calling on it to leave China altogether; McKinnon points out that most of us would be satisfied if it would just structure its business so that it couldn't be compelled to fink on its users and get them sent to jail.

Yahoo! executives keep framing this issue as black and white: Either you're in there and do everything the Chinese authorities tell you without question, or you can't do business in China at all. That is false. Companies can and do make choices. You can engage in China and choose not to do certain kinds of business. Yahoo! has placed user e-mail data within legal jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China. Google and Microsoft have both chosen not to do so. Why did Yahoo! chose to do this? Either they weren't thinking through the consequences or they don't care.


(via Dan Gillmor)