From Index on Censorship:
Important efforts have been made in recent years to hold US corporations doing business abroad accountable under US law for aiding and abetting acts of torture and other major human rights abuses. In 1997, a groundbreaking case successfully initiated by EarthRights International challenged the practices of two US and French oil and gas companies – Unocal and Total – which supported and participated in forced labour, torture, and executions, in connection with the construction of a gas pipeline in Burma.
That precedent was taken a step further this year when two Chinese Internet users and their families filed a suit against Yahoo! for its complicity in handing over their identifying information to Chinese authorities, resulting in their arbitrary arrest, long-term detention, and abuse and torture, all for doing no more than exercising their right to expression. At issue in the case is whether US corporations doing business abroad have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that their actions do not materially contribute to torture and other major human rights violations. This is the first lawsuit against a US Internet company for its involvement in major human rights abuses. [Full Text]