Microblogging service Plurk has been pretty successful outside the U.S, but having already been the victim of a ban in China (followed by MSN China cloning the site with their own product), the service has now been asked by Taiwan police to provide the IP addresses of some Plurk users, without being supplied with a court order by police.
Unless a court deems it necessary, what the police are asking is technically illegal. But it turns out that it appears to be usual practice for the police, who have confirmed that they would make around 10 such requests to Plurk every month. Since Woon is not located in Taiwan, and the Plurk servers are in America, he hasn’t complied with the request.
But obviously Plurk isn’t the only website being asked for user details and IP addresses, and other companies are being more cooperative with police enquiries. Given current laws being proposed and implemented in the UK, U.S and Australia, along with the approach of China to internet freedom, it’s more important than ever to have an understanding of your rights, your privacy, and the attititude of any social network/blog/hosting company/ISP that you use. One book I’d recommend for a greater understanding of the nature of law on the internet and how it can be changed by Governments would be Code: Version 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig