We wanted to share two exciting announcements with you. We simply couldn't wait for the "Don't Blink" publication!
***** (1) Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency *****
WHAT: There is a new development in our lawsuit challenging the United States’ Upstream mass surveillance program. We first filed this lawsuit in March 2015, to protect the privacy and free expression rights of Wikimedia users worldwide. Last Friday, alongside the American Civil Liberties Union and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, we filed a petition before the Supreme Court of the United States in which we urged U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to NSA’s Mass Surveillance.
WHY: Under the mass surveillance practices we are challenging, the U.S. government is collecting, filtering, and searching trillions of internet communications that pass through international cables. This data shows what Wikimedia users are reading, and what contributions they make to the projects. This not only violates user privacy, but is also an attack on freedom of expression. Users anywhere in the world should be able to read and share free knowledge without the U.S. government—or any government—looking over their shoulder.
MORE: You can read more about this development in a press release we published on our website: <https://wikimediafoundation.org/news/2022/08/26/wikimedia-foundation-aclu-a…>.
***** (2) 20+ Questions about advocacy and public policy at the Wikimedia Foundation *****
WHAT: The Wikimedia Foundation has published a 'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQ) resource on the Global Advocacy Team's Meta-Wiki page: <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Public_policy/FAQ#General_questions_about_o…>. The list clarifies the Foundation's public policy priorities, who works on what, how various teams within the Foundation collaborate, and much more.
WHY: The free knowledge movement needs to work together to ensure that everyone, anywhere, can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. A small but important step in this collaboration is to help build bridges and make connections. Our FAQ is part of an effort to "Build a Better Front door"  and to "Speak human" . It should be easy to find information, resources and support related to the Foundation's public policy and advocacy work, just as that information should be conveyed in language that is simple, relatable and translatable.
MORE: We hope that our FAQ is useful and welcome feedback. Do you have another question? Do you want more details in one of our answers? Do you love it? Share your feedback via talk page, email to Ziski (fputz(a)wikimedia.org), or comment on the Movement Strategy Forum .
Have a lovely week!
Ziski, on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation Global Advocacy Team
Wikimania is finally live!!
The Wikimedia Foundation's Global Advocacy team has picked a few that closely align with the advocacy priorities of the free knowledge movement.
The array of sessions is incredible. You can see the full schedule here: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/Program/Schedule>. Registration is free & most sessions are virtual. Selecting only ten to share was, of course, an impossible task. There are many sessions beyond this list that feature knowledge equity, access, privacy, human rights, etc...so we'd love to hear from you!
Which sessions are on your radar?
Below are ours. Enjoy the festival,
Ziski & the Global Advocacy team
*** GLOBAL ADVOCACY'S WATCH-LIST ***
1) Digital Security Basics (Thursday @ 10:35 UTC)
Overview: Join us for a beginner-friendly session on digital security best practices. Garner a basic understanding of digital security best practices and steps you can take to protect yourself online. Engage in a discussion session about experiences with digital security from fellow Wikimedians.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Digital_Security_Basi…>.
2) Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines Roundtable (Thursday @ 14:05 UTC)
Overview: Wikimedians will join Revisions Committee members as well as members of the Trust & Safety Policy team staff in a roundtable to discuss. Main topics will include discussion of some changes to the UCoC and the revisions to the enforcement guidelines currently being worked on by a staff-volunteer Revision Committee.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Universal_Code_of_Con…>.
3) Documenting the Chilean constitutional convention on Wikipedia (Friday @ 14:40 UTC)
Overview: This session aims to share experience working inside the Chilean Constitutional Convention’s facilities where the new Constitution is written, documenting this historical event on the web’s largest encyclopedia. To contribute to creating and diffusing relevant, reliable, and easy-to-understand information about the Convention, Wikimedia Chile created a series of strategies to support local volunteers who document this process in Wikipedia, including signing an agreement to have me as a Wikimedian in Residence.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Documenting_the_Chile…>.
4) Evolving Threats of State-Led Censorship and Response Strategies (Saturday @ 00:45 UTC)
Overview: In the last few years, we have witnessed people in positions of power engage in legislative and legal jiu-jitsu to shape the Internet, which has led to platforms to cave into governmental requests and resort to the slicing of the Internet through geo-blocking. This session delves into the unique challenges the Wikimedia Foundation is currently facing as the authorities backed by legislative mandates attempt to compel the movement to fall in line. We will discuss the Russian Government's demands, censorship in Indonesia, the recent resolution of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. v. Turkey, and the strategies the Foundation is adopting to respond to such threats.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Evolving_Threats_of_S…>.
5) Copyright and the Wikis roundtable: know your rights when using copyrighted material for the public good (Saturday @ 10:45 UTC)
Overview: Copyright related concepts that provide for copyright exceptions for public benefit, such as Fair Use and Freedom of Panorama, are important to both Wikipedia editors and contributors to Wikimedia Commons. Many of these concepts remain poorly understood within the Wiki Community creating confusion and uncertainly which hurts our ability to edit the Wikis for the public good. This round table event intends to discuss and clarify copyright exceptions when editing Wikipedia.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Copyright_and_the_Wik…>.
6) Responsible community governance: Equity and access to mental health information on Wikimedia projects (Sunday @ 10:45 UTC)
Overview: How can community governance models adapt to subjects that require additional expertise, including mental health-related topics? Join us for a virtual card game show focused on Wikipedia-specific challenges related to community governance issues, sensitive topics, and content moderation, followed by an open discussion with expert panelists. Learn how community governance models can be extremely effective at handling content moderation at scale and in ways that are less biased than top-down models...and at the same time, how inconsistent communication among subject matter experts, platform representatives, regulators, and volunteer editors can result in policies which fail to address the actual needs of users.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Responsible_community…>.
7) Open Culture, Brighter Future? An international policy outlook (Sunday @ 8:15 UTC)
Overview: Cultural heritage institutions face many difficulties in realizing their missions in digital environments as copyright laws often represent a significant barrier to the missions of cultural heritage institutions, limiting individuals' rights to culture and education. Creative Commons argues that copyright must be reformed to be conducive to GLAMs’ missions. This session aims to gather experiences of on-the-ground national reform to help us move from a theoretical policy document to a practical resource that addresses the urgent need of realizing open culture for all: the forthcoming CC copyright guide for policymakers on open culture.
Session details: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Open_Culture,_Brighte…>.
8) Growing WikiForHumanRights: Learning from a Global Topics for Impact Campaign (Sunday @ 15:55 UTC)
Overview: In this panel conversation, we will share what we learned from running the second version of the Earth Day \Right to a Healthy Environment campaign\ and how it can help us think about. We will present first what happened this year, invite several local event organizers to describe their experience working with at the intersection of human rights and environmental issues, and how to iterate the campaign and combine it with a pilot Wikimedia Foundation training later this year focused on what we have learned from the campaign and topic for impact organizing.
Session info: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Growing_WikiForHumanR…>.
9) Democracy and Wikimedia - sharing insights on how our work strengthens civil society (Sunday @ 17:25 UTC)
Overview: Join for a reflection on how Wikimedia activities increase information literacy skills, which in turn boosts people's capacities to become engaged, skilled, and informed citizens - something that the world needs at this moment. This session highlights how important Wikimedia programme activities are in the context of fake news and the shrinking civil society space globally.
Session info: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Democracy_and_Wikimed…>.
10) Workshop: Community-Centered Implementation of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Human Rights Policy (Sunday @ 17:45 UTC)
Overview: Learn about the progress the Foundation is making to implement its Human Rights Policy and discuss solutions to addressing specific human rights challenges facing our platforms - including harmful content, harassment, government surveillance and censorship, and challenges to knowledge equity.
Session info: <https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2022:Submissions/Workshop:_Community-C…>.
To all of you lovely, subscribed, free knowledge-loving folks,
The WMF Global Advocacy team has released our "Don't Blink" monthly
retrospective for July: <https://diff.wikimedia.org/2022/08/10/dont-blink-public-policy-snapshot-for…>
The blog post covers the actions we’ve taken this past month to advance fundamental rights
online. Highlights include:
* How the Wikimedia Foundation gained accreditation as an observer by the United Nations and what that means for the movement
* Details about the Wikimedia Foundation's Human Rights Impact Assessment and how you can get involved
and Protection Act
* Argentina’s Supreme Court protects Freedom of Expression
* Launch of a Wikimedia-wide public mapping project to counter disinformation.
We hope you enjoy the read! We also welcome any thoughts/comments on how these monthly
digests can be improved to suit your interests.
Ziski & The Global Advocacy Team
Dear public policy pals,
An exciting announcement: this month the Global Advocacy team's conversation hour will focus on copyright!
Our monthly conversation hours are always open to all, but a special reminder is in order given how beloved this topic is. We are hosting two calls in different time zones:
* August 26 @ 14:00 UTC
* August 27 @ 8:00 UTC
In the first half of the call we will discuss community approaches to copyright advocacy, featuring Dimi Dimitrov from the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU as well as Amanda Lawrence from Wikimedia Australia. After that, it is up to you!
The conversation hour will be on Zoom and will be recorded. The recording will be uploaded to our Meta-Wiki page. All details including how to add to the agenda can be found on on Meta .
Please share with your network. Hope to see you there!
Ziski (on behalf of the Global Advocacy Team)
The EU institutions, as most of Europe, are shutting down
for the next few weeks, so we are giving you an update of all relevant
files before we do the same. It is way longer to read than usual, sorry!
But we will use this ourselves as a cheat sheet to refresh our memories
during la rentrée <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rentr%C3%A9e> in
Dimi & Anna
The Digital Services Act has been agreed upon. The good news is that it
shouldn’t disrupt community moderation processes, it focuses on the service
provider, i.e. the Wikimedia Foundation. It also gives a decent framework
for notice-and-action procedures. Our analyses: [1a][1b]
Procedure: It needs to pass another Council vote in September. Then it will
be published in the Official Journal of the EU and enter into force 20 days
after the publication date. The DSA obligations will apply fifteen months,
or from 1 January 2024, whichever comes later. However, obligations on very
large online platforms (VLOPs) will apply earlier: Four months after a
platform has been designated as such by the European Commission.
Much of the actual work on the DSA is still to be done. For one, the
European Commission needs to set up a process for designating VLOPs.
Depending on whether Wikipedia is declared one (possible, but not certain),
a number of additional obligations will apply. One such obligation will be
to carry out an annual risk assessments that analyse issues such as
disinformation or election manipulation, cyber violence against women, or
harms to minors online. Based on the results, mitigation measures might
need to be put in place by the service provider. There are many details
here that will need to be figured out, for instance exactly which criteria
the Commission will use to designate VLOPs and whether they will issue
additional guidelines for assessments and mitigation measures.
The Digital Markets Act has been pushed through the trilogue negotiations
even faster than the DSA with the final agreement on 24 March. It will
adopted by the European Parliament during the plenary session in Strasbourg
between 12-15 September. The main win, from our perspective, is the expansion
of interoperability measures.
Interoperability had been drafted narrowly in the European Commission’s
proposal [2a], obligating gatekeepers to offer interoperability for
so-called ancillary services, like payment or identification services, that
wish to operate within their systems. In the final version [2b] it
emcopasses messaging services and voice and video calls, but the
functionalities will be developed and added gradually over years. For more
details see this: [2c]
After the September vote, the new law will be published in the Official
Journal and will enter into force in 20 days after. Two years after that
the DMA has to be reviewed and a decision will be taken by the European
Commission whether to expand interoperability requirements to social
The so-called E-Evidence Regulation is trying to come up with a
straightforward process by which a prosecutor or judge from one EU Member
State can request electronic evidence from a service provider based or
represented in another Member State within criminal proceedings. The
Wikimedia Foundation gathers very little information about users and
editors on its projects. However, the Foundation’s servers do record the IP
addresses of users who have accessed Wikipedia, and the individual articles
they have viewed. The proposed regulation would have packaged the
information about the individual articles viewed under an “access data”
category, meaning a prosecutor or judge in a EU member state could have
requested it in the process of any criminal proceeding. 
The European Parliament had suggested making it much harder to access data
about what a user read, while the Council wanted to keep the proposed
processes. After two and half years of stalemate, a partial compromise was
reached last month. Within any criminal investigation, prosecutors and
judges will be able to request “IP addresses [...] for the sole purpose of
intensifying the user". On the other hand "electronic communications
metadata" and data identifying user ID, which would give away which
articles a user read, may only be requested only "for criminal offences
punishable in the issuing state by a custodial sentence of a maximum of at
least 3 years". In other words, if a user is investigated for a crime where
the potential imprisonment is longer than three years, a judge or a
prosecutor would be allowed to ask for this data. See the negotiation
While the new text is an improvement as compared to the original proposal,
it is a step down from what the European Parliament suggested. One major
aspect still being debated is the involvement of authorities of the country
where the service provider is represented. Say that a Bulgarian prosecutor
orders user content from an e-mail provider in The Netherlands. Should the
Dutch authorities have a role in this procedure? It looks like there is an
appetite to set up a common exchange platform which would at least notify
the host country’s authorities. The details are still being hammered out.
The European Commission is tyring to establish rules on tackling Child
Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) online. The proposed provisions cover our
projects and would require us, upon judicial order or order by a relevant
authority, to scan our projects for CSAM content or grooming activities.
That being said, as our projects’ content is open, anyone can scan it
already, even without an order. [5a]
More worrisome is a provision that would require service providers to scan
all private conversations (e.g. chats, direct messages) for CSAM. While
this would also only by judicial order or order of a relevant authority,
serious questions about basic principles arise. Upon receiving such an
order a provider would have to scan *all* private conversations on its
platform for specific or similar content. In practice, such orders would
trigger searching through the conversations of millions of people. This
would also not be possible on systems with end-to-end encryption, which
could lead to them being de facto outlawed. [5b]
The Artificial Intelligence Act[6a] deals with three instances of AI use:
prohibited, high-risk, and one that requires special transparency. That
last category includes instances of individuals interacting with an
AI-based bot, when emotion recognition or biometric categorisation is
required, or in the case of deep fakes. The discussion around deep fakes is
of particular interest to us, as Wikimedia content can be used for their
creation, but also such content could become a misleading source of
The AI Act has been mulled over in a number of parliamentary
committees[6b]. It seemed that JURI (Legal Affairs Committee) was on track
to vote on it even before summer recess, but disagreements prevailed. Next
opportunity will be in September, if they are resolved.
The Data Act was supposed to be a central pillar of the EU’s data economy
framework, but frankly reads more like a medley of decent ideas. 
Perhaps the most important for us (and Wikidata) is that the sui generis
database right cannot be invoked when a user wants to share data generated
by a device they use. A small step, but in the right direction. We will, of
course, try to extend this. Nevertheless, we are also demanding the
European Commission to include a full-blown revision of the Database
Directive in its next work plan. 
A key element of the Data Act are provisions which mandate all devices that
generate data (think IoT) to allow users to access this data by default. Users
may also mandate that the data is shared with third parties, e.g. a
competing producer or service. We do welcome the approach here. Legislators
until now had the reflex to create new exclusive rights whenever they
wanted to give someone control over data. Instead the Commission is trying
to boost user control and sharing by creating access rights that trump
A somewhat worrisome provision is that during “public emergencies [...] a
data holder shall make data available to a public sector body or to a Union
institution, agency or body demonstrating an exceptional need to use the
data requested”. This comes from the Coronavirus pandemic and the thinking
that the public sector could have reacted better and in a more targeted
manner if it had certain data at its disposal. However, the term public
emergency is not well defined and could be used in many situations.
One more welcome provision targets “switching between data processing
services”, so cloud providers. Providers of cloud services will not be
allowed to create commercial, technical, contractual or organisational
obstacles when a customer decides to switch to another provider.
Furthermore users will be allowed to terminate contracts with a maximum
period of 30 days. The vision is that changing cloud and processing
providers should be as easy as changing a mobile phone subscription.
In June the EU Commission presented a new Code of Practice on Disinformation.
 It is essentially a beefed up version of the 2018 Code of Practice.
Back then Wikimedia participated in the drafting process, but didn’t sign
it, since it mostly focused on advertising and paid content. The same is
true for the measures in the new code, which include:
demonetisation of disinformation
tackling advertising containing disinformation
transparency with regard to political advertising
efficient labelling of political or issue ads
political or issue ad repositories with API functionalities for access
commitments with respect to empowering users and the research community
The code is voluntary, but signing and adhering to it will be considered by
the Commission as fulfilment of some of the obligations under the Digital
Services Act. Which, we must admit, is a clever way to give it some
After the Court of Justice of the EU confirmed that zero rating music
streaming apps breaches the bloc’s net neutrality rules, the Body of
Telecoms Regulators (BEREC) updated its guidelines. Offering zero-tariffs
or different speeds, for instance at night or during weekends, will still
be possible, as long as they apply to all traffic, not just to specific
Meanwhile large european telecommunications companies are trying to
convince the Commission to propose regulation that would make the largest
online platforms pay for parts of their infrastructure. We are expecting a
public consultation after the break. 
The European Media Freedom Act is still on the drawing board. It is still
unclear what it will contain. It will aim to provide protections for media
pluralism and to increase the safety of journalists. It might also increase
transparency and accountability mechanism already laid down in the
currently active Audiovisual Media Services Directive. 
One thing that many broadcasters and publishers will attempt is to add a “media
exemption” to the EMFA. This was already attempted with the DSA, but
failed. Many media houses want to have protections against their content
being deleted from social media. Such suggestions in the past boiled down
to a prohibition for online platforms to remove content by registered
media, which is very troublesome and which we also oppose. It is unclear
whether Wikimedia projects would even fall into the scope of the
definitions, so we will wait to see the actual proposal. A compromise
between social networks and media houses that has been floated in the past
is that registered media get a notice when their content is taken down and
get a fast-track for contesting such decisions.
The ePrivacy Regulation could set a firm standard on how online tools
can and cannot be used in contacting, profiling and surveilling
individuals. Currently, in several Member States, based on the ePrivacy
Directive and subsequent national laws, nonprofits have the right to
contact individuals who they were in touch with before, on an opt-out
basis. This option is used by some Wikimedia chapters for fundraising. In
practice it means that a chapter may contact people with whom there was
previous interaction, as long as they provide a possibility to refuse
further communication. Naturally, our position is that we want to maintain
this opportunity. See our ideas here: 
During the French Presidency of the Council (January-June 2022)
negotiations were practically stalled, probably mainly because of conflict
on how to reshape cookie notices and behavioural advertising rules. We will
see if the Czech Presidency can unblock the talks.