Wikipedia pages censored in European search results

Last week, the Wikimedia Foundation began receiving notices that certain links to Wikipedia content would no longer appear in search results served to people in Europe. This is the result of a recent court decision, Google Spain v. AEPD and Mario Costeja González, that granted individuals the ability to request that search engines “de-index” content about them under the so-called “right to be forgotten” doctrine.[1]

Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation has made a statement opposing the scope of the judgment and its implications for free knowledge.

As of July 18, Google has received more than 91,000 removal requests involving more than 328,000 links; of these, more than 50% of the URLs processed have been removed. More than fifty of these links were to content on Wikipedia.

We only know about these removals because the involved search engine company chose to send notices to the Wikimedia Foundation. Search engines have no legal obligation to send such notices. Indeed, their ability to continue to do so may be in jeopardy. Since search engines are not required to provide affected sites with notice, other search engines may have removed additional links from their results without our knowledge. This lack of transparent policies and procedures is only one of the many flaws in the European decision.

As part of our commitment to transparency and our opposition to censorship, WMF has created a dedicated page where we will be posting notices about attempts to remove links to Wikimedia under this authority. The Wikimedia projects provide informational, educational, and historic value to the world. Their content should not be hidden from Internet users seeking truthful and relevant information.

Geoff Brigham, General Counsel

Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel

[1] The decision is here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:62012CJ0131.

 

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16 Comments on Wikipedia pages censored in European search results

Juhan 3 months

“Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement.”

Relevant and neutral ??? That is the joke of 2014.

Good news is that Wikipedia is finally being censored. This is exactly what Wikipedia has been doing for years to its editors to the point that nowadays it’s an arena for a few select contributors and clans promoting their agendas.

I can’t imagine a communist regime that would have limited free speech as systematically as Wikipedia does.

Two existing articles, “Kvenland” and the “King of Kvenland” serve as a neutral example.

No historian has ***ever*** connected the king Charles IX to the ancient Fennoscandian area called Kvenland in any way whatsoever, obviously because Charles IX wasn’t the king of Kvenland nor did he even live at the time Kvenland existed.

However, a Wikipedia administrator, Bryndis Yngvadottir, a Cambridge University part time lecturer, has decided to rewrite the history and gathered errand boys around her to have it her way. She doesn’t listen to arguments but bans without a wink those who speak against her own agenda.

The matter has been taken to the administrators’ board several times but to no avail. All they do is to extend a ban to keep the opponent out as long as they see fit.

Is this the free speech Wikipedia was supposed to grant to everyone ?

Alternative view points and interpretations (in most cases) are not welcome in Wikipedia, no matter how well sourced or grounded.

Yngvadottir has played the exact same game with several other historical articles (eg. those concerning runes) and she has taken part in a conscious character assassination (of living persons).

I contacted the Wikipedia foundation a couple of years ago but they did not want to do anything to stop the situation.

I sincerely hope that Wikipedia will be replaced by another organization so that genuinely neutral view points will be available in the internet in the future.

Instead of supporting Wikipedia, all money should be directed to those who do the original research. A forum for the original researches would be an ideal alternative for Wikipedia. A forum where they can present their findings without someone else trying to annihilate or make a biased interpretation of their findings. Let the readers decide what the “truth” is.

Every time one googles something, the first hits are those from Wikipedia. Knowing how Wikipedia is kept up and by who, I say, enough is enough.

prachiz 4 months

Isn’t Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, also part of some Google expert group, touring Europe to fight against the bad, bad, bad, bad, bad RTBF ruling by the ECJ? see http://resultpanther.org
It all comes back in waves, doesn’t it?
the Cookie Directive was utterly stupid as I recall some 9 years ago now yet it did bring us to reflect upon what tools we are actually use to optimize the digital & mobile experiences and how we’re sharing this data with 3rd parties.
Is the ECJ ruling perfect? of course not and dust will slowly but surely settle at some point. In the mean time, the PR battles continue

fabio 4 months

Bad publicity

Some people are using this court decision to remove access to information about them

Rich Farmbrough 7 months

Let us have a look at what this actually means for the English Wikipedia. In the four months since the seminal case:

1. Some searches for an image we have since deleted have been removed
2. Some unknown searches for a biography of a living person have been removed. The article is still the top hit, or a hit, for most of the common searches for that person.

In other words, this ruling, against which the Foundation establishment has spoken out so strongly, arrogating to itself the right also to speak for the movement, has had precisely zero measurable effect on the English Wikipedia.

thekohser2 8 months

An example of relevant and neutral information would be Jimmy Wales’ court records regarding his second divorce, correct? If a link to those freely-available records were to be published (such as: http://mywikibiz.com/File:Wales_divorce_compressed.pdf ), the Wikimedia Foundation would support that commitment to transparency, yes?

hydeparknewcairo 8 months

you are a good person i really need this subject it’s very needful, god bless u

moress 8 months

All the best to you, my friend, thank you for writing and transparency , my My knowledge is search engine love Wikimedia and its just notices

Damien 9 months

I am in favour of “right to be forgotten” but I can’t understand how wikipedia articles could be considered personal data.

singingpianolessons 9 months

” It is a human basic right to be able to speak up and express herself/himself.
No one has a right to suppress or stop freedom of speech. “

Ta 9 months

The right of wrting articles is also banned for a large number of students to publish scientific articles in many domains like social studies, history, … My college is banned from Wikipedia to access Wikipedia from within college.
Yet, there is a number of individuals that may vandalize Wikipedia-articles or write fake articles…

Ta 9 months

The right to be forgotten is also an act to remove articles that contain errors. Rebelling against this ‘right to be forgotten’ also means that if someone harrasses you, their articles may remain published and the victim has to live with this harrasment. Someone takes pictures in the school shower of your child and publishes it on the Internet. Please tell me that your child has the right to be forgotten.
Why should my poor schoolwork remain online? Why should an article about a false accusation remain online? Keep the Internet clean. Thank you.

Ossip Groth 9 months

Wenn jemand nun einmal nicht in einem gewissen Kontext benannt werden möchte, ist es sein gutes Recht, nicht in einem image-PDF an einen Webschandpfahl gestellt zu werden.

Die Seite http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Notices_received_from_search_engines ist einfach nur trotzig und wird dem Recht auf informationelle Sebstbestimmung nicht gerecht.

Es besteht eine bindende EU Rechtssprechung und wenn irgendjemand sich nunmehr übergangen fühlt, kann er ja Verfassungsbeschwerde dagegen einlegen, wenn nicht schon 14 Tage abgeeiert sind – dann geht es nur noch über inszenierten Medienterror wie z.b. http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/wikipedia-veroeffentlicht-google-loeschantraege-a-984833.html

Fred 9 months

You have to apply law, like everyone else. Stop complaining and go to work. Law is the same for everyone. If you have problems with that, that YOUR problem not ours.

Jose 9 months

So if somebody wrote an article on Wikipedia about Geoff Brigham or Michelle Paulson posting their private addresses and/or where do they children go to school, would they just leave the article for Google to index it?

Yes, some people are using this court decision to remove access to information about them, probably because of bad publicity; But that is exactly what this is for. Governments and courts already keep records and delete them when necessary, so important information, like criminal records, are not in jeopardy. What you will miss is gossip.

Furthermore, the same way than a person retains the rights to a picture with them on it, any other information deriving and/or inherent from a person can be thought as his property and thus, the person shall have the right to publish (give away) or “unpublish” (take away) his property.

The fact that some media allow easy copying of data (in this case, duplication of somebody’s property), does not means that the owner lost all rights over it. Otherwise we would not have “copyrights”.

Kristian 9 months

Excellent initiative, let the Streisand effect take hold!

Daniel 9 months

Please see my article (in German, but will be translated to English) concerning this judgement. In my view, it sacrifices pivotal rights such as freedom of expression and information.

http://www.infosperber.ch/data/attachements/sui-generis_11.pdf

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