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2 Nov 2007

[opinion] Michael Likosky, Univ. of Wisconsin Law School & Social Risks LLC; Michael Shtender-Auerbach, Social Risks LLC, in San Francisco Chronicle

When American corporations deliver U.S. foreign policy...

...Yahoo's policy of sharing personal records of its users with Chinese authorities has led to arrest, alleged torture and lengthy prison terms [in four cases]... [S]ome American companies promote and reinforce authoritarian capitalism and suppress democratic movements. The question is: How endemic is corporate-facilitated authoritarianism? In places such as China, one worries that legitimate reform and resistance will be squelched with the help of U.S. corporations... Yahoo's director of global public affairs, Tracy Schmaler, maintains that Yahoo's legal counsel provided "truthful" testimony in 2006 [to Congress on the case of journalist Shi Tao] and that Yahoo is working "to develop a global code of conduct for operating in countries around the world, including China." Corporate codes are important... However, we must be wary of private solutions in which the regulator and the regulated are one and the same. [also refers to Cisco, Google, Microsoft]