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Yahoo isn't the only villain

By  Nov 13, 2007

Topics: Global Business

[Navarro note: This oped appears in LA times and was inspired by my segment on Power Lunch]

Which company has committed the greater evil? Yahoo Inc. helped send a reporter to prison by revealing his identity to the Chinese government. Cisco Systems Inc. helps send thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet surveillance technology to China.

If bad press is to be the judge, the "stool pigeon" Yahoo is clearly the bigger villain. In 2004, after the Chinese government ordered the country's media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo e-mail account to forward a government memo to a pro-democracy group. When China's Internet police -- a force of 30,000 -- uncovered this, it pressured Yahoo to reveal Shi's identity. Yahoo caved quicker than you can say Vichy France, and Shi is doing 10 years in a Chinese slammer for one click of his subversive mouse.

For ratting out Shi, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has been dragged before Congress, called a "moral pygmy" and forced to issue an apology. In contrast, Cisco and Chief Executive John Chambers have received little public scrutiny for providing China's cadres of Comrade Orwells with the Internet surveillance technology they need to cleanse the Net of impure democratic thoughts.

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 http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-navarro8nov08,0,4782291.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions