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Tue, 08 Jan 2019 15:06:04 -0800

Hi Fae,

I'm curious what nation you have in mind for your stable Plan B. Is it
Brexit Britain? France of the Yellow Vests and Front National? Perhaps
Orban's Hungary, Putin's Russia, or Germany with its recent right-wing
resurgence?

Maybe you'd prefer Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil? I suppose in Italy we'd worry
about Beppe and criminal libel statutes, while BJP would hardly seem
welcoming in India and I can't imagine you'd suggest a home on the other
side of the Great Firewall.

Maybe you're hinting at Canada, but otherwise, I'd love to understand what
island of liberal stability and legal safeguards you think is safe from the
vagaries of electoral politics or rigid authoritarianism.

The countries I list above have their own flaws (although in each case, I
believe, many desirable traits as well) as does any other alternative.
Anyone could reasonably argue it's unfair to stigmatize any of them by
glaringly public flaws.

To my mind Steve Walling has it right - the very nature of Wikipedia is
maybe the best protection there could be, even against the absurdly
unlikely circumstance of a United States government takeover of Wikipedia.

Nathan

On Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 12:17 PM 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. free online bettinghttps://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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