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Wikipedia Hypocritical In NSA Lawsuit

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The Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, joined the American Civil Liberties Union and a group of other human rights organizations to challenge the government’s mass surveillance program.

The lawsuit specifically targets the NSA’s large-scale search and seizure of telephone and Internet traffic, which is referred to as “upstream surveillance,” for violating the First and Fourth Amendments.

The NSA is collecting, via its upstream surveillance, any and all communications with “non-U.S. persons” that could be construed as relating to national security or foreign affairs.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Maryland federal court on Tuesday, alleges that the spy program hinders the “backbone” of the Internet in an attempt to capture communications with non-U.S. citizens.

“We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in a statement. “Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear.”

Wales, in an op-ed for The New York Times, went on to describe a hypothetical situation where a user in Egypt who wants to edit a Wikipedia page will hesitate because that user is scared of a government sanctioned reprisal brought about by the Egyptian government cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency.

However, Wales has, in the past, had no problem turning over control of an entire country’s Wikipedia page to that country’s government.

According to a 2011 post on the prime minister of Kazakhstan’s official website, “(The) “Kazaksha Wikipedia” project is implemented under the auspices of the Government of Kazakhstan and with the support of Prime Minister Karim Massimov.”

The Kazakh language Wikipedia page is funded primarily by the state-supported Samruk-Kazyna Foundation, which sponsored the Kazakh Wikipedia with over $300,000 in funding and the licensing rights of the “official” state-sanctioned Kazakh encyclopedia, which was then copied into the Kazakh wikipedia page.

The Kazakh government, which ranks 126 out of 174 on the Transparency International list of most corrupt governments (tied with Pakistan and not far behind Iran), is not averse to censorship when it deems it necessary. In 2012, the government ordered an opposition newspaper to shut down for printing a story critical of its hiring of Tony Blair for a consultancy deal worth over $8.5 million.

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