[JURIST] Yahoo! [corporate website] filed a motion in federal court in California Monday seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] alleging that the Internet giant aided and abetted human rights violations committed by the Chinese government by providing Chinese officials with information, including e-mail records and user ID numbers, that helped them to identify pro-democracy activists. Yahoo! admitted that it turned over users' personal information, but argued that it could not be held liable for complying with a lawful request by the Chinese government. The World Organization for Human Rights USA [advocacy website] filed the lawsuit on behalf of imprisoned Internet activist Wang Xiaoning, under the Torture Victim Protection Act [text] and the Alien Tort Statute [text].
A 2006 Amnesty International report criticized [JURIST report] Yahoo! and other Internet companies for so-called "Internet oppression", alleging that Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google have been complicit in efforts by the Chinese government to silence government critics in violation of stated corporate policies. Amnesty urged the companies to petition the Chinese government for the release of "cyber-dissidents." The Washington Post has more. MarketWatch has additional coverage.