Journalist Shi Tao Jailed For 10 Years, after Yahoo! Helped

Both T-Salon and RConversation are reporting a Reporters Without Borders story, “Information supplied by Yahoo ! helped journalist Shi Tao get 10 years in prison:”

The text of the verdict in the case of journalist Shi Tao – sentenced in April to 10 years in prison for “divulging state secrets abroad” – shows that Yahoo ! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. provided China’s state security authorities with details that helped to identify and convict him, Reporters Without Borders said today.

Rebecca MacKinnon makes the (good) point:

Human rights organizations, media organizations, and others who are seeking and receiving sensitive information via e-mail from people inside China have a responsibility to educate the e-mailers about the security dangers they face. People must be warned very clearly:

IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING IN TROUBLE, DO NOT USE YAHOO OR GMAIL, OR ANY OTHER SERVICE WHOSE PARENT COMPANY HAS A BUSINESS PRESENCE IN CHINA.

The same goes for blogging tools.

There are some tools (Tor and GnuPG come to mind) that will protect you, if you can install them on your local computer. Some governments may take issue with you having either of them. Neither is as easy to use as they should be. The Tor folks are holding a contest to improve their usability. Please participate and help—Internationalization is explicitly one of our criteria.

My sympathies to Mr. Shi and his family. My disgust to Yahoo, for participating.

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