Part of promoting political art and providing spaces for artistic resistance is support for the freeflow of ideas and the rights associated with free expression. Yahoo! is a rapacious company that eschews these principles, and as another ugly chapter emerges in the story of the company that pulled in $1.57 billion US in 2006, resistance is getting legal.
Recently, a class action lawsuit has been launched against the Sunnyville, CA, company by The World Organization for Human Rights USA on behalf of Shi Tao and others. Shi Tao has was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 after Yahoo! provided the Chinese authorities with all the information they needed to convict him of spreading “confidential government information.” The information Shi Tao was privately emailing in his Yahoo! account was all about media censorship in China. Little did he know that Yahoo! has no concern for his rights to privacy, nor his rights to expression and freedom from prosecution for emailing criticisms of the government.
Last week, Shi Tao's mother, Gao Qinsheng, accepted the Golden Pen of Freedom Award on behalf of her son, for his bravery in reporting truths at the cost of incarceration.
Yahoo! has helped the Chinese authorities prosecute and imprison scores of human rights activists in the country, so it may be no surprise that today the BBC reports that the lucrative company's shareholders voted overwhelmingly against adopting any kind of policy that opposes censorship on the internet.
The BBC reports that shareholders overwhelmingly shut down a proposal to merely set up a committee that would look at human rights issues and related policies in China and around the world.
Yes, it's time to close your Yahoo! account.
The King's Highway Blog has a list of things you can do, although the “replacements” suggested for your email, after you close your Yahoo! account are also problematic. There are scores of non-corporate email services on the net, just look around.