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Yahoo! executive called to testify at House hearing on China user data handover

[JURIST] US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos Tuesday summoned [press release] Jerry Yang, chief executive of Yahoo! Inc. [corporate website], to testify before a hearing next month regarding allegations that the Internet giant gave false information to Congress about its role in human rights violations committed by the Chinese government. Yahoo! had testified in a hearing [PDF text] last February in front of the House International Relations Committee [official website], where it admitted that it turned over users' personal information to the Chinese officials but argued that it could not be held liable for complying with a lawful request by a foreign government. The hearing is set for November 6.

In April, the World Organization for Human Rights USA [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Yahoo! on behalf of an incarcerated Chinese activist, alleging that the company 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. 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.

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