Yahoo settles with "cyber dissidents"

Yahoo settles with "cyber dissidents"

Search giant agrees deal with human rights organisations after it handed over user details to Chinese authorities

Yahoo has settled a lawsuit from human rights organisations in the US alleging the internet firm aided China's prosecution of several "cyber-dissidents".

Terms were not disclosed in a joint court filing by attorneys for the human rights organisations as well as dissidents Wang Xiaoning, Yu Ling, Shi Tao and defendants Yahoo.

The dissidents - who spoke out against the Chinese government online - were convicted of breaking the country's freedom of speech laws after their personal details were handed over to the Chinese government by Yahoo.

Yahoo has admitted handing over the email and IP addresses of the activists, but claimed that it was legally bound to comply with the laws of the countries in which it operates.

Critics said that the search company wanted to maintain good relations with China, the world's second biggest internet market.

The suit, advanced by the Washington DC-based World Organization for Human Rights USA, maintained that Yahoo had benefited financially by working with Chinese authorities.

The World Organization for Human Rights said Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang had met with families of the jailed dissidents after a recent hearing and agreed to the settlement.