Category Archives: Wikipedia

Wikipedia continues to violate my privacy

I’ve been a small part of Wikipedia’s community since 2006. In July of 2012, I wrote to Wikipedia requesting that my username be grated permission to edit Wikipedia via the Tor network, in order to further protect my physical location. I kindly explained that I was a participant of the Washington State Address Confidentiality Program, citing Washington State RCW 40.24 and offering a photocopy of my A.C.P. identification card. I even went into detail, which I didn’t feel I legally needed to do, about me and my family being victims of extreme domestic violence. Here’s their response:

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Hello Yawnbox,

Our privacy policy is very strict. When you edit Wikipedia when logged in to your account, nobody will generally be able to get any information from your IP address. The only few people have access to this information are only allowed to access this information under very specific situations. These people are personally identified to the Wikimedia Foundation, and their work is checked for violations of the stict access rules. For the policy pertaining to these people, see ser Also consider that it is possible to connect to Wikipedia through https, securing communications even further.

This means that as long as you are logged in to your account, no information is ever public. Our policy on IP Block exempts shows that there needs to be (quoting our policy) “highly exceptional circumstances”. I do realize that your circumstances are indeed exceptional, and that it is a bit of a hassle to turn off your VPN/TOR to edit wikipedia, but seeing that we have strong means in place to protect your privacy, I can’t say that your need to reach Wikipedia specifically through an anonymizing proxy or TOR is exceptional.

In other words, your clearly exceptional need for privacy doesn’t demonstrate an exceptional need to edit Wikipedia through VPN or TOR. Therefor, I am currently denying your request for an IP Block exempt to be used for anonymous proxy editing.

Kind regards,
M. H.
English Wikipedia Administrator

Ideas to support the Tor Project: Wikipedia IdeaLab proposal

Special thanks to my open-access comrade-in-arms Lane Rasberry.

Lane emailed me this morning asking for my input on a current proposal that’s on Jimmy Wales very own Wikipedia talk page.

After CC’ingĀ Runa Sandvik from the Tor Project to verify the factuality of my feedback for the Wikipedia community, I posted my comments.

The ongoing issue, that Jacob Appelbaum repeatedly vocalizes, is that Tor users, Jacob included, is not able to protect his identity and contribute to the knowledge base that exists on Wikipedia.

Political activists and dissidents create a critical feedback loop into the controversial dialogue that is only made possible through the Internet and social media. Not only are these people self-empowering, they are the ones most likely to seek out the truth.

From Lane:

If you would be willing to write a brief set of proposals about what Wikipedia should do with Tor, then [Lane] would format those with you in the IdeaLab. This is a space where ideas are stored on Wikipedia so that they would always be found if anyone ever wanted them. I think it would be a good idea just to establish the conversation.

[If] it is of interest to you, I would help you start a proposal, format it properly, publicize it, and if you know anyone in the Tor community that might want to make a grant proposal for funding to establish and document the relationship between Tor and Wikipedia, then I might be able to advise on how to do that also.

This conversation is happening now live and it does have Jimbo Wales’ attention. It would be awesome to get input from established Tor supporters.

If you would like to create a proposal and have the support of a Wikipedia veteran, please contact Lane directly, and ask for other peoples input! I’m also extremely interested in supporting, I just don’t know what an ideal proposal would look like, and I don’t want to speak on behalf of Tor Project.

Thank you!

Spearheading a Wikisource repository for political speeches

How did President Obama think about a politically-sensitive topic that concerns you a year before his presidency? How about 5 years before his presidency? 10 years? How far back in his public service does his opinion matter?

Politicians talk a lot. Everyday. Their public speeches should showcase their absolute and relative opinions about how they think Government should affect you. Where can you go to see what they said? How compassionate were they about the issues that matter to you? Did they lie? Did their opinion change? Why did it change? We can’t even begin to answer these questions unless we document them.

This project aims to have citizens use their cell phone’s video recorder to document the speeches of local, state, and national representatives. These videos will be uploaded to, openly licensed using the Creative Commons, and transcribed so that search engines can index these important words.

The goals of phase one:

  • Develop a standard Wikipedia-modeled framework for properly documenting public political speeches
  • Spread the word to everyone so people know to record their representative’s public speeches
  • Spread the word to netizens who wish to transcribe and verify the transcriptions
  • Spread the word to journalists and researchers to constructively use this data
  • Wiki 1,000 political speeches within a one-year time span

Example: Remarks by the President on Osama bin Laden