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Wikipedia founder comes out against UK "Snoopers Charter" draft bill


Wales says the decision to enforce a global blackout as opposed to a US-only shutdown was the result of a close ballot among the Wikipedia community.



Wikipedia founder and elder statesman Jimmy Wales has said his website would encrypt all connections to the UK if the controversial "snooper charter" is passed, the Guardian reported Wednesday. 

The UK government's draft Communications Data bill would require Internet companies to take and maintain records of all activity by citizens, which would include Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook, says ZDNet.

The plans for the bill were first introduced in May, says TechWeekEurope, and it's been the subject of ferocious opposition from Internet freedom groups ever since. 

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Wales suspects that if the bill is passed, it would lead to a rash of encryption moves by other prominent websites, forcing the UK government to resort to the "black arts" of hacking to break the barriers - actions Wales said he associated more with authoritarian governments like China's, said the Guardian.

Wales came out against the bill while speaking to a joint committee analyzing it in Parliament, said TechWeekEurope. 

“That kind of response for us to do is not difficult," Wales said, reports the Telegraph.

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"We don’t do it today because there doesn’t seem to be a dramatic need for it or any dramatic threat to our customers, but it’s something that I think we would do, absolutely.” 

Internet service providers operating in the UK who'd likely be affected include Vodafone and Virgin Media, who fiercely oppose the bill, claiming it would ruin their relationship with customers and render their companies uncompetitive. 

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The "snoopers charter" isn't the only controversial Internet measure under debate in the UK this month: consultations regarding a scheme that would require users to opt-in to view pornographic content come to a close today, reports the BBC. 

Here's what Wales had to say about his testimony, via Twitter:

Here's Jimmy Wales (sometimes known as Jimbo) Wikipedia page. You can edit it yourself! He likes that!