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UK Judge Orders Wikipedia To Reveal User's Identity

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the firstname-lastname-at-someplace dept.

The Courts 260

BoxRec writes with this excerpt from The Daily Mail: "A mother trying to identify a blackmailer who posted 'sensitive' details about her child on Wikipedia has won the right to find out who edited her entry. In the first case of its kind, a High Court judge has ordered the online encyclopedia's parent company to disclose the IP address of one of its registered users."

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Let me be the first to say... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30318804)

Nothing.

Because I don't want you to know who I am.

Privacy doesn't exsit on the web (-1, Offtopic)

gamecrusader (1684024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319840)

Sorry website/ connection = for almost everyone and everything "sensitive data" will end up basically on an international public Auction anyone could buy or look at it can happen to everyone, no way to know where the source came because it could of come thousands of different places

go on a website probably that site will sell what ever you put on it
go into a chatroom its the persons problem if someone knows the username of a person or it "accidently" comes out its public
become a game/ website member = what ever went on application could be fair game websites and programs will take personal info everyone should know that
viruses ,spyware ,key loggers everyone knows what it can do

Rule number 1 Everyone should know this by now its kind obvious. If you don't want sensitive data to be accessed or known on the web don't even bother with a unsecure wifi connection, or internet connection, or even web cafe. Do even type it on a computer which isn't secure.

Tor (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30318810)

What if he/she used Tor?

Re:Tor (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30318904)

Then law enforcement will question whoever ran the TOR node, and will dig more ISP logs to find out more.

Re:Tor (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319408)

it's unlikely that the ISPs have the detail and length of logs required to trace that. Just think of the mass of log files just 50 of their better bittorrent customers could generate in a month.

Re:Tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319440)

They merely log, IP GIVEN TO CUST AT 03:20 02/02/09 | IP FREED AT ...etc.

Logging every connection is much more difficult.

Uh oh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30318824)

Damn it, I'm screwed...

Sarah Palin? (0, Troll)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318846)

Was the posted info true?

Re:Sarah Palin? (-1, Troll)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318978)

Oh wait...it says "business woman" not "stupid MILF"

Wow... (4, Informative)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318856)

So, someone anonymously leaks information about shady financial dealing by a businesswoman, and then sends a letter indicating that the press was notified of these dealings. Apparently no request for payoff has been made. Sounds like a whistle blower not a blackmailer.

Re:Wow... (5, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318922)

She also received anonymous threatening letters suggesting her accuser would reveal information to the press.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1232901/Wikipedia-ordered-reveal-identity-editor-accused-blackmailing-mother-child.html#ixzz0Yfq9nBa3 [dailymail.co.uk]

Doesn't that depend on what was in the letters? If he's demanding something and threatening to reveal it if not, that's blackmail... especially if the supposed "information" is not true.

According to the article, we don't know what the information was or whether it was true or not (emphasis mine).

The amendments made to the woman's entry involved information about her professional expenses claims and details about her child which the judge did not reveal. She has also received two anonymous letters - although it was not possible to say if these were from the same person who altered the website.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1232901/Wikipedia-ordered-reveal-identity-editor-accused-blackmailing-mother-child.html#ixzz0Yfqcw5Yk [dailymail.co.uk]

It does say it involved expense claims, but that isn't proven to be true or false either... so you're believing someone that has presumably sent threatening letters over the businesswoman. She denies the wrongdoing, by the way.

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318948)

Maybe so, but when all of the details are secret we just have to trust the judge who says that according to what he's seen the woman has probable cause to suspect blackmail. This is part of the reason why anonymous internet contributors like ourselves do not take the place of an actual judge in an actual courtroom, so it makes it seem sort of stupid to sit here and second-guess the judge.

Re:Wow... (-1, Offtopic)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319274)

I wish I had mod points to mod you up. Thank you for putting things in perspective.

Re:Wow... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319280)

And judges are never wrong. These details shouldn't be secret if the court is involved it should be a matter of public record.

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319562)

That's breathtakingly stupid. If it worked that way, it would mean that it would not be possible to take any confidential matter to court.

Re:Wow... (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319796)

And most matters should -not- be confidential. If we are going to waste our tax dollars on a court case all records kept from it should be public. Don't take it to court if it is confidential, otherwise we have press manipulating facts that should be public.

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

nulldaemon (926551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319860)

And most matters should -not- be confidential. If we are going to waste our tax dollars on a court case all records kept from it should be public. Don't take it to court if it is confidential, otherwise we have press manipulating facts that should be public.

So the only alternative would be vigilante justice? How pragmatic of you!

Re:Wow... (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319892)

No, the other alternative would be for people to realize that either A) Their matter is so important that it should be fully public or B) Their matter is unimportant and they should just drop it.

Re:Wow... (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319586)

Yes, I'm sure that'll show those damn blackmailers, "If you go to the Police, they'll force you to reveal to the public the information I'm blackmailing you over! Muhaha!"

Whistle blowers don't involve people's children. (3, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318984)

No excuse. None.

it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (4, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319022)

whistleblowing is when you go to the press and release info of a criminal nature. blackmailing is when you send letters to the target with a threat to release the info, whether of a criminal nature or just a private, sensitive nature

please report to the nearest droid maintenance facility and have your moral circuitry checked out, thanks

Re:it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319248)

All the details are secret; we can not know whether or not there was indeed any blackmail involved, other than the words of a woman and a judge. I myself do not feel that blackmail is a crime, in any case. Immoral, perhaps, but certainly not something to go to court over.

Re:it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (1)

GrubLord (1662041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319454)

That's right.

And if I see you anywhere NEAR that courthouse, those photoes of you are going straight onto Facebook, capiché?

Re:it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (5, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319624)

Blackmail is a crime because if blackmail were not a crime people would be more likely to engage in self-help to rid themselves of the blackmailer. Such self-help could manifest itself in socially destructive ways.

Blackmail is just a variant of extortion, anyway. Surely nobody would doubt that protection rackets are rightfully criminal. Threatening to hurt somebody financially if money is not paid is only a matter of degree less awful than threatening to kick somebody's ass in exchange for money.

Blackmail also is a good way to extort people into doing very undesirable things (like espionage, embezzlement, corrupt political behavior, for example).

Extortion is one more example why free speech must be limited. Words can hurt!

Only a screwed-up unworkable society could ever have unrestrained free speech. One of the best measures of a free society is the care taken to draw equitable lines between unpermitted speech and free speech.

Re:it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (4, Insightful)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319708)

All the details are secret; we can not know whether or not there was indeed any blackmail involved, other than the words of a woman and a judge. I myself do not feel that blackmail is a crime, in any case. Immoral, perhaps, but certainly not something to go to court over.

Interesting. So, say you or your significant other happens to have a STD, say, herpes. And let's supposed that it was contracted in a manner that you don't want to made public. Certainly not to your children or in-laws. This is something that you and your significant other manage pretty well within the privacy of your life.

And say that, I, somehow, legally or not, get a copy of your medical records which include by your own account with luxury of details how the STD got acquired in the first place. And then I send you a photocopy of it with a letter telling you that if you don't wire $10K (or whatever amount you feel like for the sake of argument) I will make that letter document available to your in-laws, your co-workers, your church and your kids.

Blackmail. Now, not finding blackmail in general criminal, or thinking that is criminal only in extreme cases (like the hypothetical one presented here), that will either be immensely idiotic or disturbingly wrong on so many levels that it is horrible to contemplate.

Re:it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319880)

You are a moron. Or do you simply not understand the definition of "blackmail"?

Re:it's not whistleblowing, its blackmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319590)

And it somehow seems appropriate that the blackmailer choose wikipedia as the means to release the information. I guess the folks at Britannica weren't interested.

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319544)

I know a lot of people don't RTFA, but is it to much to ask that you at least read the Slashdot summary?

Streisand effect? (5, Insightful)

auntieNeo (1605623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318946)

Is it wrong that I'm curious as to what the editor posted to get himself in trouble? Seems like the Streisand effect might backfire on the girl if the Internet is as cruel as I think it is.

Re:Streisand effect? (2)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319084)

Indeed - the edit was apparently made to the woman's entry, so come on - can anyone tell us what the article was? And we should be able to see the actual edit itself in the history, unless that gets tampered with...

To be honest I think my view on this depends on what we're talking about - is it blackmail about either false or private details? Or is it a whistleblower case?

On another note, it's sad how every story covering this (well, the Mail, the Telegraph) likes to bash Wikipedia with other example mistaken edits. But how much false information has been published by these same newspapers? At least with Wikipedia, it's often quickly reverted (and in most cases they wouldn't even know if it wasn't possible to go trawling through the history), yet newspapers often never retract their bullshit.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319114)

an anyone tell us what the article was?

Her name has not been released and is being kept secret. You should read the article :)

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319164)

I did :) But it only takes one person to leak it. There are sometimes cases where the mainstream press are restricted by a court order, whilst it's common knowledge with a simple Google (not to mention court orders generally only applying to one country).

Re:Streisand effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319212)

The businesswoman is called "G" in the court case. The G stands for Great Britain. It's the queen.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319332)

Doh. Accusation refuted and withdrawn.

Good point, but it does appear to be kept pretty secret, anyways. Not even any speculation from the DailyMail.

Re:Streisand effect? (3, Interesting)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319174)

And we should be able to see the actual edit itself in the history, unless that gets tampered with...

Which is very easy to do. MediaWiki (the wiki software Wikipedia runs) has a feature that allows privileged users to hide the contents of edits from a page's history.

Re:Streisand effect? (3, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319240)

On another note, it's sad how every story covering this (well, the Mail, the Telegraph) likes to bash Wikipedia with other example mistaken edits. But how much false information has been published by these same newspapers?

Clearly a case of the consolidated media industry fighting off new technology startup that could shine a light on all their misdeeds

I'm shocked and amazed. (5, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318960)

Not by the court's order, but that the Daily Mail actually published a decent, non-sensationalistic article.

Re:I'm shocked and amazed. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319320)

If you think that's weird, check out the comments - they're fairly sensible. I think they must have a problem with their server.

Jurisdiction? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318974)

Can this order really be enforced? What country's laws is Wikipedia bound by?

Re:Jurisdiction? (4, Informative)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319028)

USA - Florida From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:General_disclaimer [wikipedia.org]

Re:Jurisdiction? (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319506)

The servers are in Florida.

But that doesn't exclude the possibility that the Wikipedia or its managers may have a significant legal presence and exposure elsewhere.

The Wikipedia database is stored on a server in the State of Florida in the United States of America, and is maintained in reference to the protections afforded under local and federal law.

Jurisdiction and legality of content [wikipedia.org]

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319042)

Wikipedia is run by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is based in the U.S, so I believe that they are bound by U.S law.

Re:Jurisdiction? (2, Informative)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319254)

Wikipedia is run by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is based in the U.S, so I believe that they are bound by U.S law.

and the US probably has a mutual legal assistance treaty with the UK, including whatever local legal framework is necessary to give such treaties effect. Which means if wikipedia refused to comply then a letter can be sent over to a DA or somebody responsible for this stuff in the US with a copy of the court order and that would be obligated by the treaty to go to a US court and request a subpoena which the court would be obligated to enforce pursuant to the treaty. if wiki then refused to comply it would be found in contempt of the US court. (not to mention the UK court).

obviously it depends on the exact wording in the treaty but generally thats how MLATs work.

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319420)

Ehhh, not really. If you have a judgment from UK courts you might be able to get it enforced here, but injunctive relief is a lot trickier.

Re:Jurisdiction? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319108)

Can this order really be enforced? What country's laws is Wikipedia bound by?

If any of its officers want to ever travel to the UK, then yes, it can be enforced.

Re:Jurisdiction? (2, Interesting)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319110)

Why wouldn't the Wikipedia comply/help even if they didn't legally have to? I don't think there's any compelling reason to protect the anonymity of someone who's blackmailing someone else from your website.

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319564)

The woman has no basis for any expectation of protection against editing "her" page on Wikipedia, any more than if someone defaced the "I Love You" I scratched in the sand on Waikiki Beach. If someone changed it to "I Love Sally" then my wife has no reason to consider it true.

Wikipedia should refuse to comply. We do not want to establish any more precedence that social information sites are resposible for the actions of their users.

Re:Jurisdiction? (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319784)

BLACKMAIL.

Repeat it with me, BLACKMAIL.

This isn't about "Oh! Johny said I was a lousy bint on Wikipedia!" it was about someone threatening someone and their child with public humiliation if they didn't give into whatever demands were made.If you can't say BLACKMAIL, then try EXTORTION, either way regardless of the medium being used, it's illegal.

Re:Jurisdiction? (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319476)

Can this order really be enforced? What country's laws is Wikipedia bound by?

The order can't be enforced, as the Wiki Foundation is based in Florida. However, if you RTFA it says the Wiki Foundation has already caved in and agreed to reveal the IP address.

Which is great news for anyone in somewhere like China "anonymously" editing Wikipedia. Doing so could easily cost you your life if it's The Wiki Foundation's whim to expose you to your Government that day.

There's at least some possibility that this isn't a blackmailer but a whistleblower. Just another reason to question the practices of what goes on in the Wiki Foundation. Just another potential blow to truth at the hands of Wikipedia.

Re:Jurisdiction? (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319626)

It's always been the case that Wikimedia could reveal an IP address - just as Slashdot, or any other site could. When people leave comments on my blog, I get the IP addresses - if they annoyed me, or maybe for no reason at all, I could make their IP addresses public. No need for a court order.

I don't think it follows that just because Wikimedia reveals it in the case of a UK court order, for blackmail (something that is illegal in the US too, and is reasonably seen as illegal and unethical), not to mention vandalising Wikipedia, that they would also do so in the case of China for doing something that was entirely legal in the US, and where the edit was entirely reasonable.

Just because someone is not required by law to do something, doesn't mean they can't decide to do it anyway. Remember we're talking about someone vandalising the site - if I trolled some website, I could hardly go pleading sympathy if they revealed my IP address, whether or not a court was involved.

Re:Jurisdiction? (2, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319874)

A whistle blower is someone who alerts the media or authorities to wrong doing, by coming forward with evidence of this wrong doing.

A blackmailer is someone who alerts a victim that they have evidence of either wrong doing or simply humiliating facts and will go to the media or authorities if steps aren't taken by the victim.

Our "Mr. X" updated a Wikipedia article with possibly true information concerning our woman's expense reports and her child. They then sent two letters which implied they had more information they were going to share and had possibly already done so with part of it.

It really doesn't take a bright bulb to pick which slot Mr. X fits in here chief. Stop over reacting and realize that sometimes, just sometimes, the legal system is working.

Somebody had to add it (1, Offtopic)

kwiqsilver (585008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30318990)

Re:Somebody had to add it (1)

kwiqsilver (585008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319078)

Sorry...I clicked the wrong news article. This would have made much more sense on the printer story.

Re:Somebody had to add it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319172)

Yeah, you could have been the 1,000,000th person to post that reference in that thread and would have won a brand-new car!

Re:Somebody had to add it (2, Funny)

Auraiken (862386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319324)

I thought that this was way funnier without your disclaimer.

Why is this news? (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319014)

Why is this news? The victim showed a judge a blackmail letter. In that situation, of course a judge is going to sign documents forcing people with relevant information to disclose it to the police and/or DA.

Re:Why is this news? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319596)

Because it's the Internet! And censorship!

Have to drive up page views to get ad revenue, donchaknow.

Caught? (3, Insightful)

ebonum (830686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319032)

How do people get tripped up on this stuff? If you are going to post something you KNOW you shouldn't post, use a proxy from a country like China or Russia. Then China gets the blame, and you stay hidden. Com'on. This isn't that hard.

Sadly, stuff you shouldn't post can include stuff you should post, but powerful people don't want you to post.

Re:Caught? (4, Funny)

auntieNeo (1605623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319052)

Heh, something tells me that Chinese proxies wouldn't work well for editing Wikipedia. :(

Re:Caught? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319072)

Of course, if it actually WAS blackmail, I'm glad the blackmailer was stupid and I hope he gets caught.... one fewer blackmailer in the world seems like a good thing to me.

Re:Caught? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319144)

We don't actually know yet if the person has been caught. They may well have been using a proxy. Even if they were not using a proxy there are other ways they could minimize information (such as using a public wireless network in a busy location).

Re:Caught? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319196)

If she's smart she'll ask for every IP/timestamp he ever edited under.

Re:Caught? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319336)

Must be hard to edit something with an IP or timestamp looming above your edit like an umbrella... ;)

Re:Caught? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319464)

If you are going to post something you KNOW you shouldn't post, use a proxy from a country like China or Russia.

Or you could just try not to blackmail people.

Re:Caught? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319620)

If you are going to post something you KNOW you shouldn't post, use a proxy from a country like China or Russia. Then China gets the blame, and you stay hidden. Com'on. This isn't that hard?

Can someone tell me why the geek thinks China won't rat him out in a heartbeat? It makes perfect political and ideological sense.

Mental harm != non gratis (2, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319064)

People need to know the limits of their freedom on the internet. I am all for freedom of the internets, expressing an idea, deploring stupid thoughts, but personal attacks and blackmail we need to have protections. Not because it causes social harm, people need to think before they act, but because it causes mental harm, long term mental harm. Mental harm our society will have to pay for in lost wages/taxes, mental assistance, and of course the sympathy/empathy we feel for these people. To become null to their pains is to become a person living in a warzone, not caring about those around us. We should not be that society.

Re:Mental harm != non gratis (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319098)

I meant to put more in there relating to my title, that just because it is free in monetary terms does not exempt it from personal harm statutes.

mental harm is your own problem (4, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319334)

Do you think slave holders were not offended by being called murderers and inhuman? Do you think Catholics were not deeply disturbed by Protestants calling the Catholic hierarchy illegitimate and corrupt? The right to offend is an essential part of free speech rights.

In a democracy, you have a right to be protected form libel and criminal blackmail. You don't have a right to be protected from "mental harm" resulting from speech you find disturbing.

Re:Mental harm != non gratis (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319534)

In related news:

People need to know the limits of their freedom on the internet.

Signed: Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-il, Chinese Communist Party, The Saudi Royal Family at al.

... because it causes mental harm, long term mental harm ...

As evidenced by heretical thoughts and actions, actions against The Party, The State and The Leader!

We should not be that society.

Most certainly, we should not become a society of whiny infants who have to be protected from reality by the all-powerful, all-seeing, all-digitally-surveying-all-the-time, Daddy Government who decides what is and what is not "proper" for us to see and read. For our own good, naturally.

Did you ever occur to you that every tyrannical machinery of censorship and suppression started as an effort to "protect" the poor, helpless us from some "evil" too big and great for us to confront, lest we be "mentally harmed", and so we are to perform the adult equivalent of hiding under the blankets and listening for Mommy to come tell us what we - oh so dearly - want to hear?

Re:Mental harm != non gratis (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319890)

Let's see ... someone gets hold of private data, and tries to use that to force you to whatever, then releases your private data to the internet. This is good, because information wants to be free! Then, someone uses governmental force to get information from the internet (Wikipedia), and this is bad, because everyone has the right to privacy!

This kinda reminds me of a bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to 'Sweet Home Alabama'.

slashhordes: (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319142)

blackmail is blackmail is blackmail

whatever you think of your rights online, criminal activity renders some of your rights null and void

of course you have rights in a free society: as long as you also abide by your responsibilities. this is true of actual, flawed societies that are not entirely free, and also true of any hypothetical societies you can imagine that function perfectly: when you break your responsibilities you have in a free society, you have abdicated your rights. do you honestly think there is any way around that fact? a society of individuals who do not abide by their responsibilities is by direct consequence a society with few rights as well

the government is a side issue: most of your rights are violated in this world by your fellow citizens, not the government. of course the government also violates your rights. in a society trying to improve itself, this is revealed, discussed, and punished. just like individuals who violate your rights deserve to be punished. sorry, they don't deserve to be punished, they MUST be punished to show there is genuine consequences for abdication of responsibility in this world. without such enforcement, there's no reason to respect anyone's rights, whether by government, or a fellow citizen

to most of you, the previous paragraph is eye-glazingly obvious

however, i feel the need to say it, because underneath this story we will see a lot of howling of the government violating people's rights. when the fact is, if you blackmail someone, you HAVE to have your rights violated, for the sake of a functioning free society, actual or theoretical

we see a lot of complaints on these forums and in general about rights. what we don't see much discussion is one about responsibilities. please do your small part and keep that in mind: for every right you claim, you are also taking on an implied responsibility you must keep if you wish to maintain the rights you cherish

Re:slashhordes: (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319230)

I wonder if wikipedia should just publish the IP address of edits by default in the revision history. That way it would be clearer to people who need privacy that they should take steps to hide their identity.

Strawman: (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319286)

Can you point me to the comments where the "slashhordes" have been outraged by this court order? I mean, your rant is all very nice, I just don't see who it's directed against? "we will see a lot of howling", "we see a lot of complaints on these forums and in general about rights"? Where?

what we don't see much discussion is one about responsibilities.

There's plenty of discussion. Indeed, if X is a right, then that surely implies the discussion that not infringing X is a responsibility.

Re:slashhordes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319340)

You seem to have confused rights and privileges. Irrespective, the only responsibility you have when it comes to anonymity is making sure you do it properly.

Re:slashhordes: (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319362)

blackmail is blackmail is blackmail

And what if it isn't blackmail? We have one person asserting something and demanding information. We don't have a DA filing charges and issuing a warrant. We have what may be the beginings of a civil suit, but nothing criminal that I see. In fact, the order is to identify the person so that the woman offended can "identify" that person, and not because of any court action against the unidentified person.

As far as the court is concerned, there is no search for the truth for a court case, but because someone who feels wrong asked for it, the court said "yes." If there was any blackmail, there is not any current legal action regarding it, so this request isn't related to blackmail charges, just some woman who wants to know who is saying bad things about her.

Wikipedia complies? (1)

genjix (959457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319184)

What would happen should Wikipedia hand over false information? Surely the courts wouldn't know any better.

Can Wikipedia claim it's doesn't keep IP info?

Re:Wikipedia complies? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319520)

What would happen should Wikipedia hand over false information?

Why would they want to do this? It is not in their interest to protect people who use the encyclopedia as a blackmail tool. That is not part of their objectives.

If this was someone trying to suppress a legitimate entry (hyperthetical example: a certain B. Streisand forcing the removal of the Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org] page) then they might feel the need to be less than helpful.

And what of the person who owned the false IP address that was handed out. They might (and should) start suing Wikipedia for falsely accusing them.

Re:Wikipedia complies? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319806)

And what happens when the IP address is an open WiFi point, a local library, etc, etc... NOW who do you blame? The more I think about this, the more rats I smell.

Two men can keep a secret if one of them is dead. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319926)

What would happen should Wikipedia hand over false information? Surely the courts wouldn't know any better. Can Wikipedia claim it's doesn't keep IP info?

You can't take back the lie.

You never know what will be exposed in a civil and criminal investigation.

What will come out at trial.

It makes no sense to open the door to deeper and more dangerous inquiries into your own conduct.

dubious (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319194)

European free speech and whistle-blower protections are too limited, and the UK has been trying to impose its rules on other countries for a while. Fortunately, they don't have jurisdiction over Wikipedia.

IP address released - oh my (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319206)

So they have the ip address. Big whoop. It doesn't reveal WHO posted, just the modem that was used.

Could have been a wifi user out at the street corner, a virus.. someone broke into the home and posted.. An IP in a vacuum isn't evidence.. its a suggestion..

Re:IP address released - oh my (2, Insightful)

FliesLikeABrick (943848) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319314)

Nonetheless, it was a court order forcing Wikipedia to reveal user data that otherwise wouldn't have been exposed. Whether or not it is useful is more or less irrelevant in this case, the precedent is probably the larger component to the story.

Re:IP address released - oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319342)

PHEW.

I thought IP address meant Internet Person address and was a form of government issued identifiers! Thank Dog I have nurb432 here to inform me of how the real world works!

Re:IP address released - oh my (2, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319380)

However, if the IP address goes back to an already suspected person, who has special interest in the situation, it will be hard for THEM to argue it was some random spammer controlling their computer with a zombie bot.

Re:IP address released - oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319538)

BUT BUT, the article clearly states:

"Wikipedia does not store the names of those writing or editing its entries - but it does keep the Internet Protocol (IP) address, which identifies every computer on the Internet."

It identifies every computer!

Good luck enforcing it (1)

andrewagill (700624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319208)

Ah, Daily Fail...you seem to have forgotten that the Wikimedia Foundation isn't in the UK. Oh, wait. They didn't. They just ignored the implications.

Do you believe everything someone tells you? (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319278)

Excuse me for asking the question nobody seems to be asking: How do we actually know she's being blackmailed?

1) Person says something about you don't like
2)Claim they're blackmailing you
3)Judge orders person's identity revealed
4)Lawsuit
5)Profit! (And jail time for the accused Blackmailer)

Re:Do you believe everything someone tells you? (2, Informative)

Steve Franklin (142698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319574)

Good article on this at the Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/03/wikipedia_blackmail_case_disclosure/ [theregister.co.uk]

According to The Register article, Wikipedia WILL release the IP address when presented with an order by the court.

There appears to be some kind of business dispute behind all of this: "One of G's companies is in dispute with a person whom she believes is also behind a smear campaign against her. An anonymous letter she received appeared to be a threat to claim that her expenses claims amounted to theft. Another anonymous letter disclosed the information that was later published on the Wikipedia page."

Re:Do you believe everything someone tells you? (2, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319588)

You missed 2.5) Judge looks at the post and all the other evidence offered by the plaintiff and decides if there is sufficient likelihood that the plaintiff would prevail to justify ordering the identity to be revealed.

Re:Do you believe everything someone tells you? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319694)

Great minds harbour similar suspicions... damnear what I said up above before reading down this far. It all just seems too convenient.

And anyone can print a blackmail letter these days... hell, you can even get a font that mimics the old "glued characters from newsprint cutouts" trick.

Re:Do you believe everything someone tells you? (0, Flamebait)

Raisey-raison (850922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319810)

This is the problem with where you balance free speech versus everything else. In the USA with the exception of national security, judges err on the side of free speech. In the EU it's on whatever is opposing it. eg blackmail., libel, hate speech, offensive speech, privacy etc. And in this case if the information is publicly available and is accurate then IMHO it's a great shame that it's been censored. I also think that the crime for blackmail should be to make the threat but NOT to publicize already public information.

Secondly it seems this is just another example of the law online going down to the lowest common denominator. What is the point of having the first amendment in the USA if some foreign court can gut it when they see fit (and Wikipedia is incorporated in the USA)? Part of the point of living in the USA is that you trade in some security (eg high gini coefficient, little welfare state compared to Europe) and in return you get more liberty (both personal and financial). Here though you get screwed both ways - getting the stringencies of both systems.

What about judges in other countries? (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319282)

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be legal oversight. The problem is which is the authority?

When are we going to have the first incident of someone paying off a third world judge to obtain private information?

Where is the Switzerland of the internet?

Think of the children (1, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319310)

Whenever there is a child involved all notions of common sense and rational thinking go out the nearest window.

No law is too draconian, too invasive of one's privacy if there is even .1 of a % chance that it will ever prevent a child from having to experience the smallest noticeable amount of pain

I cant help but think that if Wikipedia don't comply and donate 100,000 GBP to some children's charity for their 'sin' in merely being involved in this whole thing they will be made out to be the bad ones and accused of sheltering paedophiles, rapists and other undesirables.

WARNING - DAILY FAIL (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319414)

This news article was taken from the Daily Mail, a far-right tabloid newspaper which contains more foaming-at-the-mouth madness than a month of Fox News. This story was in all probability sandwiched between an article about how the eeevil not-quite-as-right-wing government are spending *your* taxes on a Christian Vegan Lesbian Holistic Nicaraguan Islamic Learning-impaired Whale-Yoga Ashram, and how the Fish-People really run the BBC which is why they showed eeeevil Nick Griffin and not an episode of Last of the Summer Wine.

Believe pretty much any article you read on Wikipedia before you believe the Daily Mail.

Re:WARNING - DAILY FAIL (3, Funny)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319552)

Check out the awesome photo selection on this article. [dailymail.co.uk]

God knows why they're using a distorted aspect-ratio video screen cap for Mr Cable thou down the bottom.....

Re:WARNING - DAILY FAIL (2, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319662)

One of the comments said something to the effect of "I smell a scam, I just can't put my finger on it".

I think it's simple enough:

1) vandalize your own Wikipidia page
2) scream "blackmail"
3) blame someone with deep pockets or that you have a grudge against
4) ...
5) profit!!

Re:WARNING - DAILY FAIL (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30319750)

Does the U.K. actually have any newspapers that aren't tabloids these days?

Does the left in the U.K. still try to dismiss anyone who isn't as left as they are by labeling them as "far-right" and "foaming-at-the-mouth"?

Crossing Borders (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319530)

Does this court feel that the individual who committed the offense lives within their jurisdiction? Or does this court feel that it has the right to extend its grasp into other nations?
            This treaty nonsense is an offense to liberties of free men around the world.

web connect= little privacy No web= more privacy (1)

gamecrusader (1684024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319744)

not that i believe posting "sensitve data" is right on wikipedia, but isn't blackmailing spose to mean that person x is threating to put person y's somthing real personal for example not actually doing it unless person y didn't do what they asked them, after all what wikpedia meant for i mean all sorts of things are on that site, biographies of people, peoples histories, histories of countries, famous people, informations about everything that can be written down?

and how bout the affairs and personal life/ data leaked to the media or anyone about people of general public interest, famous people, or anyone in the media could get their hands on, especially like elections, I mean come on sensitive data covers just about anything that means a lot to someone or almost anything that might mean somthing to someone? How do they know that a person who posted the data was another faction/ person/ ect. posing as a the unfortunate possible victim that the true black mailer is using?

so many questions, its hard even for the government to figure out at times what is the 'truth' and what isn't online? or do we have the ultimate way to blackmail a person the mother blackmails the other guy?

The internet, you go on to be warned things will spread that you don't want to, or you will be impersonated, like some one using the same name as me on face book, real name, if the kids info was on facebook and he played any of their games it's possible to get access to that. or even get friends in the game.
Better not be facebook, beacuse if it is its going to go to become a lawsuit.

Face it People, The internet, don't post information on any site unless you know its secure, especially sites like facebook, and games that then run using face book or any other similar application as people can get into the friends list and look around. If people go your data will be sold to others come on. I see a lawsuit coming with this "the Black mailer" suing family its bound to happen

What's exactly the problem? (1)

vegetasaiyajin (701824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30319748)

Wikipedia editions are not anonymous

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