Is Yahoo More Evil Than Google?
Yahoo's providing information to the Chinese government in the case against Shi Tao was the right thing for a multi-national corporation endeavoring to control the destiny of the internet to do, but was it the right thing to do in a social sense?
Yes and no. In a nutshell, we as Americans can not impose our belief system on other cultures no matter how strange or wrong it seems to us. In China they put people in jail for breaking through their firewall. Perhaps we seem strange as a country for not putting people in jail for criticizing our government or major corporations. So Yahoo's behavior i not evil, they were complying with the legal process of another country. The interesting question here is would Google have done the same thing. You can bet that the higher ups at Google are blessing their lucky stars that they don't have to deal with anything like this right now because I think that they would have handled the situation exactly the same way. Becase it is the right thing to do. If someone in the US had broken a law like emailing government secrets using a Gmail or Yahoo account, or sending MP3 files of copyrighted works through these same accounts, no one would have a problem with these companies turning information over to the government. In fact, when you sign up for the account, you are agreeing to accept that Yahoo or Google can turn over any information they have about your use of that account to the government. That doesn't just mean the U.S. government, it means all goverments.
Then there is the bigger issue of social justice and freedom of information for all. Right now unfortunatly that issue is taking a back seat to profits. Still, it isn't right to go against a soverign nation's ability to determine it's own path by providing information deemed illegal in that country in an effort to undermine that government. That would be as dangerous and potent as hiring assasins to go in and neutralize the leader of another country. The U.S. isn't, some would debate this now, but that is beyond the scope of my blog, in the business of overthrowing governments, no one would want someone to come into our country and overthrow our government. That just isn't right. I don't think that Yahoo is evil because they followed their terms of service that Mr. Tao agreed to when he signed up to use the service. In fact, I believe that both Yahoo and Google are as evil or as good as a global corporation can be, and I'll leave it up to you to decide whether that is indeed good or evil.