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Tue, 08 Jan 2019 11:32:48 -0800

Great question to think about for our long term sustainability. I think we
already have a universal "plan B" however? It's providing all content under
free licenses and regularly distributing complete dumps of our content.

Many larger and more well-funded technology organizations (Google,
Facebook, etc.) regularly do disaster recovery scenarios that account for
not just governmental disruption or civil unrest but events such as a major
earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area. The movement doesn't really have
the resources to do this effectively in the same manner.

It seems like decentralizing our ability to recover from a disruption is
the most effective defense we have, *especially *in the scenario involving
government intervention because the Foundation's infrastructural and legal
presence in the United States is actually one of the more brittle pieces
within our movement.

On Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 9:18 AM F? <fae...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear fellow Wikimedians, please sit back for a moment and ponder the
> following,
>
> For those of us not resident in the US, it has been genuinely alarming
> to see highly respected US government archives vanish overnight,
> reference websites go down, and US legislation appear to drift to
> whatever commercial interests have the loudest current political
> voices. Sadly "populism" is happening now, and dominates American
> politics, driving changes of all sorts in response to politically
> inflated and vague rhetoric about "security" and "fakenews". It is not
> inconceivable that a popularist current or future US Government could
> decide to introduce emergency controls over websites like Wikipedia,
> virtually overnight.[1][2][3][4]
>
> The question of whether the Wikimedia Foundation should have a hot
> switch option, so that if a "disaster" strikes in America, we could
> continue running Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons from other countries
> has been raised on this list several times over many years. The WMF
> and its employees are heavily invested in staying in Silicon Valley,
> and that will stay true unless external risks become extreme.
>
> However, there has never been a rationale to avoid investing in a Plan
> B. A robust plan, where the WMF can switch operations over to a
> hosting country with a sufficiently welcoming with stable national
> government and legislation, that our projects could continue to meet
> our open knowledge goals virtually uninterrupted and without risk of
> political control. A Plan B would ensure that if the US Government
> started to discuss controlling Wikipedia, then at least that published
> plan would be a realistic response. If they tried doing it, we could
> simply power off our servers in the USA, rather than compromise our
> content.
>
> If anyone knows of committed investment in a practical WMF Plan B, it
> would be reassuring to share it more widely at this time. If not, more
> of us should be asking about it, politely, persistently but perhaps
> less patiently than indefinitely. :-)
>
> Links:
> 1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46739180
> 2. http://www.lse.ac.uk/ideas/research/updates/populism
> 3.
> https://www.cnet.com/news/obama-signs-order-outlining-emergency-internet-control
> "... this order was designed to empower certain governmental agencies
> with control over telecommunications and the Web during natural
> disasters and security emergencies."
> 4.
> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418
> "The president could seize control of U.S. internet traffic, impeding
> access to certain websites and ensuring that internet searches return
> pro-Trump content as the top results."
> 5. Bizarro, as used in the title of this email:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_World
>
> Thanks,
> Fae
> --
> fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>
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