by Jacob G. Hornberger
Members of Congress are upset with Yahoo officials for giving Chinese officials confidential online information about one of their customers in China. The Chinese authorities used the information to send the Yahoo customer to jail for 10 years for engaging in subversive, anti-government activity.
Meanwhile, Congress is talking about the importance of giving immunity to U.S. telecommunication companies for illegally giving U.S. officials confidential online information about their customers in the United States. The U.S. officials say that they needed the secret information to ferret out subversive activity against the U.S. government.
Oh, well, no one ever accused Congress of a lack of hypocrisy.
Yahoo’s general counsel, Michael J. Callahan, said that Yahoo employees had little choice but to comply with the Chinese government’s demands.
Ironically, that’s what the U.S. telecommunication companies are saying as to why they complied with the U.S. government’s demands!
The fact is that all these executives are the par excellence of cowardice. Yahoo does have a choice — stand up for your customers or don’t do business in communist countries. And U.S. companies also have a choice — stand up for your customers and tell the feds to take a hike, even if it means they come after you with a retaliatory indictment, as they did with Qwest, which, unlike Yahoo and the U.S. telecommunications companies, said “No” when the little tyrants came demanding their information.
For decades both the American and Chinese people have loved their big governments, mostly because their big governments take care of them like parents with education, health care, social security, and other forms of welfare. But as we are learning with the Yahoo and U.S. telecommunications scandals, there is big price to pay for big government.
Isn’t it ironic that Americans have the most powerful government in history and the most terrified citizenry in the world? It is not a coincidence. Big government produces small, frightened people. As earlier generations of Americans could attest, small and weak government, on the other hand, results in strong, self-reliant, and courageous people.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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