Yahoo & China

I hardly ever use Yahoo in China without a proxy, but when I recently logged into my account with my VPN turned off I got the message above. Yahoo is specifically asking its customers if they mind that their data would be stored on servers located in China. They note that ‘privacy protections provided by China may be different from those provided by your country‘.

Do any other foreign Internet companies that are active in China also give users the choice where their data will be stored? This is the first time I have seen a message like this on any website that I access from China.

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  1. Hi Marc,

    Having been a longtime Yahoo user and having lived both in the Netherlands, the UK and now China I can confirm that this is a standard practice for Yahoo. For example: whilst living in the UK they frequently requested for my data to be stored in Australia or Canada (not the most geographically logical choice I would say).

    From a data protection point of view, depending in which country you signed up and under which clauses and conditions, Yahoo is obliged to ask your permission when storing your data in another country.

    Hope the above makes sense. I've dealt quite a bit with data privacy/protection from a commercial sense, though I am not a lawyer so don't have the know-how to go into further detail than the above 🙁



    PS. Just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and really like it. Congrats on your 5 year anniversary!

  2. Roger,

    Thanks for letting me know, so this is not China specific. I wasn't aware of that, never saw a message like this before while traveling (guess it shows I don't use Yahoo a lot).

    I assumed it had to do with the problems that Yahoo had over the years after people were put in jail in China because of user information that they provided.

  3. Marc,

    May I ask what VPN service you are using or recommend?

    I'm trying out witopia right now.

  4. @Ben I also use Witopia. Make sure you take the USD 60/year version, not the USD 40, and change the settings (set nameserver) otherwise you still cannot use it in China.

  5. Yep, that's what I've done so far. I find the speed not bad, but a bit inconsistent, ie sometimes great, sometimes very slow.

  6. You still recommend Witopia?
    Now 2 weeks past in Shanghai, and I guess it's time to buy a VPN service 🙂

  7. @Dincer I don't use Witopia much anymore, I use a private proxy now. Witopia should still work fine, although you may need to tweak the settings a bit (different gateway etc.)

  8. Tomorrow, probably, I will be trying their VPN service..
    I hope it will be a useful 60$ to spend 🙂

  9. I've just bought one-year membership of "personalVPN SSL" service of WiTopia..
    Without changing default settings, I was be able to connect their servers..
    It's working now, though a bit slower…