In the company’s first transparency report, Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has revealed some information regarding the site’s censorship under infamous European “right to be forgotten” laws — and it’s clear that he’s not very happy with the people who take advantage of them. This isn’t the first time Wales has spoken out against censorship, but now he’s making it very clear that he feels governments are going just a bit too far.
But it must be clear that Wales doesn’t have a problem with Google as much as he has a problem with censorship legislation. He calls Google’s results “editorial judgement” much like that of any publication and that it’s when governments get involved with this process that it truly becomes a problem. Google does a fair job of notifying websites when they’re required by law to remove search results, but Wales says that not all search engines do this and is concerned even those that do may not be capable of doing so for much longer.
Wales says that Google has been asked to remove five links to the site in just the last 7 days, and asserts that the contents of Wikipedia are effectively history and that those who attempt to remove search engine links to the site are impeding on a basic human right:
“History is a human right and one of the worst things that a person can do is attempt to use force to silence another,” he said. “I’ve been in the public eye for quite some time. Some people say good things, some people say bad things … that’s history, and I would never use any kind of legal process like to try to suppress it.”
Wikipedia has uploaded the most recent notices it got from Google, all of which were removed from search results due to European “right to be forgotten” laws. Links removed vary widely – from a picture of a man playing a guitar, to a page about Renato Vallanzasca.
And to take things just a step further in terms of the company’s openness about censorship, Wikipedia has released many more details in its first transparency report outlining takedown requests and the like. Between July 2012 and June 2014, Wikimedia received 304 content takedown requests — but amazingly did not grant a single one. According to the report, the company was asked for personal information 56 times and complied with 14% of requests.
(via The Guardian)