‘Will Disrupt Model’: Wikipedia to IT Minister On New Guidelines

Wikipedia has told the Union IT Minister that new guidelines set by the government will severely hurt is model. 

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A non-profit organisation that funds online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has written to Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, saying that the Indian government's proposed guidelines would severely disrupt its model, The Indian Express reported.

The online encyclopedia, in its letter to Prasad, said that the automated filtering and quick take-down requirements put forth by the Indian government would disrupt its volunteer model of real-time editing of information, the report added. It said this is because the resource is curated by language and not geographic market, and the rules would have to change for the entire website, can't be specific for just India.


"The collaborative system of people would be severely disrupted by obligatory filtering systems that monitor for and automatically remove illegal content across the website. Short response times for removals that would essentially require the use of automatic systems would interfere with people’s ability to collaborate in real time on Wiki, the collaborative, open editing model that has been crucial to Wikipedia’s growth," the letter was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.

It further said that it’s impossible to restrict changes inside a Wikipedia article from being visible in one country and not another. It said that fulfilling mandatory regulations from one country would leave "problematic gaps" in Wikipedia for the whole world.

The letter said that these might prevent people from accessing information that is legal in their country.

In the letter, the company also urged the IT minister to release the latest draft guidelines and suggested a layered definition to social media intermediaries similar to the Data Protection Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha earlier this month.

It also pointed out how the traceability requirements from the government of India were a serious threat to freedom of expression.

Further, The Indian Express also laid down the proposed guidelines, that include informing users periodically about the rules and regulations, traceability of the originator of the information, companies with more than 50 lakh users to set up a local office in India, along with a nodal officer to answer to the law enforcement agencies, removal of malicious content in 24 hours, and deploying a technology-based tool for identifying unlawful information or content.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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