What a Bunch of Yahoos


Did Yahoo rat on a Chinese journalist for leaking state secrets? (By the way, the secrets turned out to be routine instructions on how officials should safeguard social stability during the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen democracy movement.) It's not really clear, but this line from a New York Times piece by Joseph Kahn makes you wonder: "The companies have often said that they must abide by laws and regulations of countries where they operate."

Really? Not breaking the law is one thing, but supplying information to make an arrest (if that's what happened here) is quite another. Since when is Yahoo, or any other Internet company, a law enforcement body? And how do Yahoo and Google justify censoring "sensitive" information from Chinese searches? Is it breaking Chinese law to merely link Web surfers to information they might be looking for? And what qualifies as sensitive? The companies have apparently crossed the line into self-censorship. Then again, no one is willing to be deleted from the Chinese market.