First off, what follows are my opinions and only mine. They’re mine, mine, mine and belong to me. Are we clear? Good.
Ok, so yeah, i read about the Y!China thing and how they turned over information about the reporter. Explain to me why Y!China shouldn’t have done this?
Let’s put it a different way. Say you’re working at your company in China. You get a knock and standing at the door are various law representatives brandishing a warrant for you to turn over information about account Bobo123. Let’s put a few things into perspective shall we?
1) Chances are, you’re not on a first name basis with all 35 million (or however many) customers, the multiple aliases they may have or what they happen to be sending around.
2) Your customer base, not being filled with nice guys, probably has it’s fair share of child pornographers, defrauders, racketeers, and miscreants to justify the several dozen or so requests for information you get from authorities on any given day.
3) China, not being run by nice guys itself, takes a fairly dim view of anyone who doesn’t play nice by their standing. Not wanting your company to be shut down that particular afternoon or have any number of your employees disappear that night, you decide not to tell said government official bearing legitimate court orders “Can you hang on a tick? We’d like to ask the guy if this is OK”
4) The court papers in question probably didn’t note precisely what the offense was or what the suspects job was, instead simply stating something like “Suspected of divulging state secrets abroad”. Well, that’s espionage, which i’ll note usually gets the death penalty here, in not China.
So, why is Y!China getting the “Bad Guy” rap for divulging information about a suspected criminal of a serious crime to federal authorities bearing legal documents requiring the company to do so?
If this was the BTK murderer who was sending the cops his taunting notes using a Hotmail account, wouldn’t you expect Microsoft to turn over that information?
If this was a guy trying to blackmail you using a gmail account, wouldn’t you hope the judge would issue a warrant for that information?
Yes, it’s terrible that China is persecuting it’s reporters. Yes, it’s sad that they don’t really give political dissidents a fair trial. But for the love of God people, don’t shoot the damn messenger. Or the messaging service. Particularly since they were doing exactly what they should have done.
Heck, even the articles citing it say that there wasn’t anything the company could have done, other than say “This is atrocious, here’s the info you required.”
And yes, i would absolutely feel the same about ANY company in the exact same position, even AOL.