Don’t mess with Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia when it comes to Internet freedom, because he will use harsh words to lash out at you. Today, according to The Guardian, Wales had some choice words for the British government and their snooping practices on citizens. Basically, he called them “technologically incompetent.” Yikes.
A quick bit of background here, the British government has been working on a “snooper’s charter” which will track its citizens text and email use. Well that’s wacky. He didn’t stop at calling the proposed charter names, he says that Wikipedia would encrypt all of its connections with Britain if the UK moves forward with this.
Just in case you forgot, Wales called for a blackout of his site during the SOPA outrage. And well, the site blacked out for 24 hours.
If this snooping charter goes into effect, that means that services could be required to hold onto information for twelve months to assist authorities with court cases and other legal requests.
Wales had more to say:
It is not the sort of thing I’d expect from a western democracy. It is the kind of thing I would expect from the Iranians or the Chinese and it would be detected immediately by the internet industry.
By standing up against things like this now, it gives UK citizens a chance to learn about what’s going on exactly and what they face as they communicate daily.
Here’s what companies like Vodafone would face with a mandate like this:
The £1.8bn scheme will require UK-based internet and phone providers to retain and store for 12 months the “traffic data” – who sent what, to whom, from where – of every British citizen’s internet, text and mobile phone use. The move would exclude the contents of messages.
So not only is this an invasion of privacy, contents of the messages or not, but it’s also ridiculously expensive. Double yikes.
[Photo source: Flickr]