Monday, April 8, 2013

Streisand Effect > Government of France

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The Streisand Effect made a rather powerful government its bitch last weekend. Expect more of this type of thing as the internet becomes ever more encompassing over society.

In April 2013, the radio station attracted attention after the French interior intelligence agency Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI) attempted to have an article about the facility removed from the French language Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation asked the intelligence agency what precise part(s) of the article were a problem in the eyes of the intelligence agency, noting that the article closely reflected information in a freely available television broadcast. The DCRI refused to give these details, and repeated its demand for deletion of the article. The Wikimedia Foundation refused to delete the article, and the DCRI pressured Rémi Mathis, a volunteer administrator of the French language Wikipedia and resident of France, into removing the article. The administrator, an employee of the state-owned Bibliothèque nationale de France and president of Wikimédia France, obeyed. According to a statement issued by Wikimédia France on 6 April 2013:
The DCRI summoned a Wikipedia volunteer in their offices on April 4th [2013]. 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 responsibility 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.
Later, the article was restored by another Wikipedia contributor. The French ministry of the interior told the Agence France-Presse that for the moment it did not wish to comment on the incident.] As a result of the controversy, the article became the most-read page on the French Wikipedia, with over 120,000 page views during the weekend of 6/7 April 2013. It was translated into multiple other languages. The French newspaper 20 minutes, Ars Technica, and a posting on Slashdot,[15] noted it as an example of the Streisand effect in action.