French homeland intelligence threatens a volunteer sysop to delete a Wikipedia Article


French homeland intelligence threatens a volunteer sysop to delete a Wikipedia Article | Autour de Wikipédia et des projets Wikimedia

In early March, the DCRI (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur) contacted the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization which hosts Wikipedia. They claimed that an article on the French-language Wikipedia about a French military compound contained classified military information, and demanded its immediate deletion. The Wikimedia Foundation considered that they did not have enough information and refused to grant their request.
The Wikimedia Foundation has often collaborated with public authorities to follow legal decisions. It receives hundreds of requests every year asking for the deletion of articles, and always complies with clearly motivated requests.

Unhappy with the Foundation’s answer, the DCRI summoned a Wikipedia volunteer in their offices on April 4th. This volunteer, which was one of those having access to the tools that allow the deletion of pages, was forced to delete the article while in the DCRI offices, on the understanding that he would have been held in custody and prosecuted if he did not comply. Under pressure, he had no other choice than to delete the article, despite explaining to the DCRI this is not how Wikipedia works. He warned the other sysops that trying to undelete the article would engage their responsability before the law.

This volunteer had no link with that article, having never edited it and not even knowing of its existence before entering the DCRI offices. He was chosen and summoned because he was easily identifiable, given his regular promotional actions of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in France.
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