AFTER ALL THE FURORE over Google and China, it looks like we might be seeing it all over again with Yahoo.
The Yahoo email accounts of foreign journalists and activists based in China have been hacked, echoing recent incidents where Google called attention to similar attacks against Gmail accounts.
Freelance journalists as well as reporters for papers like the Irish Times and New York Times have been unable to access their accounts this week, according to reports.
According to Reuters, another compromised account was that of an Chinese exile group called the World Uyghur Congress, which China's government has accused of inciting separatism.
Yahoo said it condemns all online attacks regardless of origin or purpose, and is committed to protecting user security and privacy.
The question is, if Yahoo really condemns these hacking attacks on its users, what is it going to do about it? Google moved its operations out of China, because arguably it could afford to do so.
Other companies like Yahoo have made no such move, but if it turns out that the Chinese state was behind these attacks that will put the company in a very difficult position due to the action that Google has taken.
Yahoo won't want to be seen as allowing to this to happen without any consequences for those responsible, but if it does do a Google style pull-out it will likely lead to it losing part of a lucrative revenue stream.
As for China, if it is the Communist government doing this it is showing its muscle and that it can't care less about its image in the world or any potential consequences of its actions. But it might not yet fully appreciate the power of free information. µ