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October 5, 2011 9:13 AM   Subscribe

In a protest against the Wiretapping Act that is set to be discussed in parliament this week, the Italian edition of Wikipedia has been blocked, with all access being redirected to a single page statement (also available in five other languages); so far no timeframe for the protest action has been stated. Comment in support by Wikimedia on this unprecedented initiative; an editor leaves in disagreement; other users discuss.
posted by progosk (24 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are at at the very least some moving trains one cannot be neutral on. Wikimedia using its site to show the Italian people what making it.wikipedia impossible would look like is not only consistent with its values but also a wise thing to do. Wikipedia must stand for truth, neutrality is only one part of that.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:37 AM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is kind of silly. Wikipedia is essentially out of reach of the Italian legal system, so I'm not sure what they think they would have to worry about if this law were to pass.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:38 AM on October 5, 2011


Do not disrupt wikipedia to make a point. —WP:POINT
posted by ryanrs at 9:39 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


suppose I should have linked WP:POINT
posted by ryanrs at 9:42 AM on October 5, 2011


This is kind of silly. Wikipedia is essentially out of reach of the Italian legal system, so I'm not sure what they think they would have to worry about if this law were to pass.

If you think this is a message to the Italian government only, you may need to do some readjustment of your scope...
posted by DreamerFi at 9:43 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


One more dead town's last parade, the argument I'm seeing made is that while Italian WIKIPEDIA isn't bound by Italian law, Italian Wikipedia EDITORS (most of whom live in italy, presumably), may be prosecuted under this law if it passes. No one really knows if this would happen, but the argument is that it COULD happen, and would thus have a chilling effect on contributions to the Italian Wikipedia.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 9:43 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This is kind of silly. Wikipedia is essentially out of reach of the Italian legal system, so I'm not sure what they think they would have to worry about if this law were to pass."

The wikimedia foundation may not have much to fear, but 12,000 euros is an awful lot of money for Italian contributors to risk in order to tell the truth about their government.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:44 AM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


one more dead town's last parade: Wikipedia is essentially out of reach of the Italian legal system

Erm, not: Wikimedia Italy already have a €20million defamation suit pending.
posted by progosk at 9:44 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


The wikimedia foundation may not have much to fear, but 12,000 euros is an awful lot of money for Italian contributors to risk in order to tell the truth about their government.

How would they be fined if the government doesn't know who they are? (Wikipedia could loosen its policy on sockpuppets to allow them when the regular account owners fear retribution from the government.)

Erm, not: Wikimedia Italy already have a €20million defamation suit pending.

Do the plaintiffs have any actual chance of collecting if they win?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:47 AM on October 5, 2011


I'm hearing rumblings that there are efforts being made in the Italian Parliament to limit the bill now to only news bureaus, etc, and exclude Wikipedia. I don't read Italian, but people who do, and some weak gtranslating, say that this news article describes the potential modifications to the law that would be favorable to Wikipedia
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 9:50 AM on October 5, 2011


Wikipedia could loosen its policy on sockpuppets

Actually, it looks like you're already allowed to do have a sockpuppet that hides your real-world identity if you're editing a controversial article.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:52 AM on October 5, 2011


I see your WP:POINT and raise you a WP:IAR.
posted by hat_eater at 9:56 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Based on that article, badgermushroomSNAKE, it sounds like they will exclude blogs and "non-registered" entities entirely, though they do not specify what "not-registered" means. Presumably, ddl intercettazioni will now only apply to registered news media sites, but I could be wrong. But again, the act has not passed yet. This is just clarifying what the amended act would entail.
posted by lydhre at 9:59 AM on October 5, 2011


> Do the plaintiffs have any actual chance of collecting if they win?

It doesn't matter. This politician is trying to make good on a threat of having the Italian foundation go under due to legal expenses.
posted by Tobu at 10:02 AM on October 5, 2011


I suppose I understand; it is not fair that, when an anonymous party decides to produce defamatory blog posts about another person, that person has no recourse. However, I don't think that Italy is going about it in the right way.
posted by 200burritos at 10:18 AM on October 5, 2011


200burritos: I suppose I understand; it is not fair that, when an anonymous party decides to produce defamatory blog posts about another person, that person has no recourse. However, I don't think that Italy is going about it in the right way.

Wikipedia actually already has mechanisms to deal with this, starting with undoing problematic edits and/or blocking the user and going all the way up to protecting the page from editing and permanently and completely removing problematic edits from the database. Hitting it with a blunt instrument like the Italian law, when that wouldn't be an improvement over what it already regularly does, is a bit of a waste.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:25 AM on October 5, 2011


"I suppose I understand; it is not fair that, when an anonymous party decides to produce defamatory blog posts about another person, that person has no recourse. However, I don't think that Italy is going about it in the right way."

Yes, however, the allegations of offense aren't required to be reviewed by a disinterested third party, if that statement on wikipedia is correct. It's totally an abusive chilling effect clause.

And I find it hard to sympathize with the editor who quit over this — they seem to be taking an idealistic position for no good reason. Luckily, editors on Wikipedia are easily replaced.
posted by klangklangston at 10:25 AM on October 5, 2011


Italy is not the only country considering making dumb laws about the internet.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:26 AM on October 5, 2011


(and I realize that was pretty much your point, 200burritos. Just wanted to clarify Wikipedia's existing work on the topic of defamatory info being added)
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:26 AM on October 5, 2011


Meta.Wikimedia also has a good discussion going (with lots of see also links).
posted by stop sign at 10:59 AM on October 5, 2011


> If you think this is a message to the Italian government only, you may need to do some readjustment of your scope...

True, that.

NY State Senators Say We've Got Too Much Free Speech; Introduce Bill To Fix That
posted by mmrtnt at 12:07 PM on October 5, 2011


This is not that different from the situation in New Zealand, which has a fairly light-handed privacy regime. Principle 7 of the Privacy Act 1993 - if you receive a request for correction you have to either make the requested change or attach a statement setting out the change sought (but not made).

It's a right to have your point of view be seen - seems that this is what's being proposed here, isn't it?
posted by Sebmojo at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2011


It's a right to have your point of view be seen

There's a big difference between the right to state your point of view and the right to have your point of view be seen by others. One does not imply the other, especially at a third party's expense.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:39 PM on October 5, 2011


A note has been added clarifying that access will remain blocked at least until the proposed law is discussed in parliament, currently scheduled for tomorrow morning. The initiative has had quite an impact, with reactions ranging from a politician's amendment proposals to a journalist's "good riddance".
posted by progosk at 2:52 AM on October 6, 2011


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