Yahoo! and Ethics

A friend of mine sent me a devastating article today:

"Internet giant Yahoo has been accused of supplying information to China which led to the jailing of a journalist for 'divulging state secrets'.

"Reporters Without Borders said Yahoo's Hong Kong arm helped China link Shi Tao's e-mail account and computer to a message containing the information.

"The media watchdog accused Yahoo of becoming a 'police informant' in order to further its business ambitions.

"A Yahoo spokeswoman said it had to operate within each country's laws.

"'Just like any other global company, Yahoo must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based,' said Mary Osako.

"Shi Tao, 37, worked for the Contemporary Business News in Hunan province, before he was arrested and sentenced in April to 10 years in prison.

"According to a translation of his conviction, reproduced by Reporters Without Borders, he was found guilty of sending foreign-based websites the text of an internal Communist Party message.

"Reporters Without Borders said the message warned journalists of the dangers of social unrest resulting from the return of dissidents on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, in June 2004."

Read the full article here.

Read the Reporters Without Borders article here.

Yahoo has signed an agreement with the Chinese government called the "Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for the China Internet Industry." I'm still at the beginning of my research, so I don't know if other US based companies have signed this "pledge." One assumes it is a trade off for being able to make billions of dollars in China. In my mind, this isn't enough to pay for the 10 years Shitao will spend in jail; but of course Yahoo doesn't agree.

I would like to know from fellow Radreffers if there is an email service that operates within ethical guidelines like the ones that guide our profession? Could Yahoo have decided to destroy their records, just as libraries destroy the records of books checked out by their patrons?