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Users shut down Italian Wikipedia to protest Wiretapping Act

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Italian Wikipedia has been hidden in protest at a new Act making its way through the Italian Parliament. The Wiretapping Act or "DDL intercettazioni" could make Wikipedia legally untenable in Italy if it passes into law.

Visitors to any page of the Italian Wikipedia site yesterday were redirected to a letter signed "from the users of Wikipedia" which outlines Wikipedia's objections to the proposed law and threatens the permanent deletion of Italian Wikipedia pages:

"Today, unfortunately, the very pillars on which Wikipedia has been built - neutrality, freedom, and verifiability of its contents - are likely to be heavily compromised by paragraph 29 of a law proposal, also known as "DDL intercettazioni" (Wiretapping Act)."

According to Wikipedia, the core problem with the new legislation is its requirement for websites to publish a correction of any content that an applicant deems to be detrimental to his/her image. The correction must be made within 48 hours of the complaint being received and requires no 3rd party to judge the validity of the request.

Wikipedia state that they have their own processes for achieving balance and accuracy:

During all these years, the users of Wikipedia (and we want, once more, to point out that Wikipedia does not have an editorial staff) have always been available to review – and modify, if needed – any content deemed to be detrimental to anyone, without harm to the Project's neutrality and independence. In the very rare instances it was not possible to reach a mutually satisfactory solution, the entire page has been removed.

They added that being required to write certain things as demanded by complainants was "an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia". They argued that it would leave a neutered website which avoided covering controversial or troublesome people and topics.

The Wikimedia organisation has issued a statement in support of the Italian Wikipedia community.

Freedom of "communication" is guaranteed under Article 21 of Italy's constitution. ®

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