Yahoo has had to provide access to Chinese authorities to the details of an email account of a journalist accused of being a dissident. The journalist was then convicted and sent to jail for 10 years. The Chinese government exercises heavy control over the internet, with filters that block some domains from the entire Chinese mainland. Blogspot is not available in China.
This is a disturbing story, but it demonstrates the vulnerability of users online. We are all using all sort of free services, chances are you have one account with either G-Mail, Hotmail or Yahoo. Millions use Flickr and Blogspot. Companies are gathering a significant amount of information about us. Most of the times all that will happen is that you will be the subject of some direct marketing, but what exactly will happen when there is something really important at stake? The company will give your information as fast as possible, you are not a paying customer after all. There’s nothing wrong with that, businesses have to diminish their liabilities.
Those concerned about the vast amount of information out there may have a point.