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A campaign to Booyahoo! has been launched!

Last year, Yahoo! turned over the email of a Chinese journalist, Shi Tao, to the Chinese government. Subsequently, the journalist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“In 2004, Shi emailed some notes regarding the government’s instructions on handling media coverage of the Tiananmen Square anniversary. He was detained on 24 November 2004 and formally arrested on December 14 on a charge of leaking state secrets. Shi was found guilty in April 2005 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The incident sparked a controversy about the business practices of Yahoo, whose Hong Kong arm provided technical information connecting the message and email account with Shi Tao’s computer. Yahoo was criticized by Reporters Without Borders for acting as a “police informant”.”

Source: Wikipedia

Was Yahoo! wrong?

Here is how the law stands in America.

Interestingly, messages that have been read but remain on the Internet provider’s computer system have very little protection. Prosecutors can typically gain access to an opened e-mail message with a simple subpoena rather than a search warrant. Similarly, lawyers in civil cases, including divorces, can subpoena opened e-mail messages.

Source: nytimes.com

If Shi Tao was a jounalist in America, Yahoo! would have had to turn over the information once a subpoena was ordered to do so. If he had broken an American law, the court would have had the right to see his email.

So, my question is should it matter that Shi Tao was a journalist in China? And, that he lives in a country where freedom of speech is not allowed? Should Yahoo! have made a stand against a dictorship and lost the right to do business in China?
Or, is Yahoo! right in turning over the information because they must operate by the laws of China. When a person or company live or do business in a country the laws of that country should be respected, right?

Just so you know, Yahoo! is not alone in their willingness to sell their soul to China.

Google has been courting China hot and heavy. And, in Google’s love affair with China, it has been willing to give up it’s strong belief in democracy and the freedom to all information without censorship. Now, I call that some kind of love…the green kind, money.

To the question: Does Google censor search results? (Help Center). The answer before January 27, 2006 was: It is Googles policy not to censor search results in any way. We dont manipulate our search results. We strongly believe that you have to let the democracy of the Web decide about the inclusion and classification of sites in our search results. After this date, the answer has been modified.

Source:Window to France

Google’s modified answer:

It is Google’s policy not to censor search results. However, in response to local laws, regulations, or policies, we may do so. When we remove search results for these reasons, we display a notice on our search results pages. Please note: For some older removals (before March 2005), we may not show a notice at this time.

Source: Google Help Center

Is is o.k. that these internet search engine giants are falling to the “local laws, regulations, or policies” of China? Should we Booyahoo! or google another Google? If we do nothing and continue to use these companies services are we supporting their decision to bow to China?

Keep in mind that both these companies are American based. You know. The country that is based on democracy and freedom of speech. So, when will the love of money be set aside for the love of mankind? When will one man’s life and freedom be more important than making more money? These companies are the leaders in the world. So, why toss aside basic beliefs and morals just to do business with China? For some reason I cannot get this image out of my head when I think of this topic.

The image of the devil holding out a contract and telling Yahoo! and Google to sign on the dotted line.

Think about it.

I would like to thank Amerloque for inspiring me to write about the bigger issues in life.

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