The company behind the world’s largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, claims a French intelligence agency summoned one of its volunteers, forcing him to delete content after the website turned down their request to remove ‘classified’ information.
French Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur) demanded that Wikipedia management delete a part of an article on the French-language Wikipedia about a French military compound, claiming it contained classified information, the Wikimedia Foundation said in a press release published on Saturday.
The request was submitted in early March regarded the article, created in July 2009, which had information about the military radio station of Pierre-sur-Haute in south-central France.
After through consideration, Wikimedia refused to grant it, saying it “did not have enough information.”
According to the company, it “receives hundreds of requests every year asking for the deletion of articles, and always complies with clearly motivated requests.”
Unsatisfied with the result the French intelligence agency summoned a Wikipedia volunteer on April 4.
“This volunteer, which was one of those having access to the tools that allow the deletion of pages, was forced to delete the article while in the DCRI offices, on the understanding that he would have been held in custody and prosecuted if he did not comply,” the Wikimedia release said.
The volunteer had no link with the article, has never edited it and did not even know about it, Wiki management explained.
Wikimedia was outraged by the actions of the French authorities calling their methods “bullying and coercive.” “As Wikimedia France supports free knowledge, it is its duty to denounce such acts of censorship against a French citizen and Wikipedia editor,” the statement said.
The company called for an independent investigation into the case, saying national security should not be ensured through such measures in France. The intelligence agency has not yet responded to the allegations.