The US Congress condemns Yahoo!, but this should not come as a surprise.What is amazing is that nobody rethinks the role of the ISPs in this particular situation.
Yahoo! claims: “The fundamental point remains unchanged: we did not know the case related to a journalist … We did not know this was a political case.” But this is not the point: China will never tell them that it is political! Nobody in an extradition case will ever tell the other country they want the extradition because the person is a political opponent: they know that doing so leads to refusal of extradition. So why is Yahoo! not thinking further ahead? and why lawyers in the Western world are not changing their perception of what Yahoo! is: Yahoo! is not a company anymore, it is a law enforcement agent! the same rules should thus apply to Yahoo!
and for another case of helping law enforcement officers, this time by … YouTube! http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071129/105357.shtml (29 November 2007)
The ambiguity is probably at its peak when one sees that Yahoo! settles some cases. The ironic argument is that it probably costs Yahoo! pitance to negotiate the end of the court cases in comparison with the damaging effect of a court case in the public opinion. So people, be warned!
At least, ISPs should wait for legal orders (although is legal compliance with HR, that is an other question) http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071127/025958.shtml (November 2007)
or should be recognised as such as the French government bill suggests (26 Novembre 2007) http://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/0,1000000097,39291067,00.htm “France cracks down on illegal file-sharing” and the enlighting TechDirt article http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071126/021329.shtml (26 November 2007)