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Wikimedia Foundation not involved in PRISM, opens up consultation

updated 12:51 pm EDT, Mon June 17, 2013

Joins open letter to US Congress to halt spying program

The Wikimedia Foundation has not been compromised under the PRISM spying program, and has not been asked to collect data on behalf of the National Security Agency (NSA), according to a statement released over the weekend. The foundation is also asking for feedback about what it should do about the threat to the privacy of its users and contributors.

The statement, posted by Wikimedia general counsel Geoff Brigham, claims that the "Wikimedia Foundation has not received requests or legal orders to participate in PRISM, to comply with the Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act (FISA) or to participate in or facilitate any secret surveillance program." The post goes on to state that Wikimedia-controlled servers have not been changed to "make government surveillance easier," as reported to be the case for some technology companies.

Shortly after the initial leak about PRISM, companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook were accused of providing "back door" access to servers, and issued statements denying any involvement. Apple issued a follow-up statement to the issues, advising of the number of law enforcement requests for customer data, as well as the typical reasons for such requests, and reiterating its stance on customer privacy.

Due to the nature of governmental monitoring of communications, Wikimedia states it is obligated to "further understand (and possibly respond to) this issue." It has asked for Internet users to comment about PRISM, how it affects the Wikimedia Foundation values, and what Wikimedia should do about it, by June 21st. The Wikimedia Foundation has also joined in with an open letter to the US Congress, alongside the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, Mozilla and others, with the letter calling for Congress to stop the surveillance and provide all details about the NSA and FBI's data collection activities.

At the time of writing, the "Stop Watching Us" open letter has reached 200,000 signatures.

by MacNN Staff



  1. que_ball

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-14-00

    If the government equipment is plugged in at the major interexchange routing points as it's been implied then they do not need to ask the website operators for any of the data. They simply capture it as the man in the middle.

    How much private data exists on wikipedia anyhow? Maybe you can see the IP address of the poster of new stuff a little more directly. If they already have an IP targeted for surveilance they aren't going to go and pull wiretaps of every website that user is likely to visit. They will wiretap the IP as close to the ISP source as possible to gather everything.

    Makes no sense that the governement would want or need to be plugged into wikipedia infrastructure to get data they are interested in when they are already plugged into all the upstream ISP feeds.

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