French Intelligence Forces Volunteer Sysop to Delete Wikipedia Article
In what seems like something straight out of an updated version of 1984, the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur, or DCRI, a French intelligence agency, apparently recently summoned and subsequently forced a Wikipedia volunteer to delete an article on the online encyclopedia. This came after the agency first attempted to get Wikimedia France to remove what it considered classified information from an article about a French military compound in March. They declined to remove the offending bits, so DCRI took more drastic measures.
By “more drastic” I actually mean “threatening to hold and prosecute a Wikipedia volunteer sysop.” The unfortunate position the volunteer found themselves in, despite having had nothing to do with the creation or editing of the specific article, is a little mind-boggling. Again, this is a volunteer that held not official position with Wikimedia being coerced to do something Wikimedia had decided not to do.
Wikimedia is clear to note in their statement on the debacle that this is an article that’s been available for years, and that they’d have likely removed the offending bits if they were given sufficient evidence. With DCRI’s decision to bully a volunteer, though, they’ve likely earned themselves and the information they wanted gone far more publicity than it ever would have received before.
As of writing, the article on the French compound is still up, having been reinstated by other users.