[Foundation-l] Wikipedia tracks user behaviour via third party companies #2

John at Darkstar vacuum at jeb.no
Sat Jun 6 19:16:32 UTC 2009

You can make claims about what you yourself wants or believe, but do
*not* claim that your personal beliefs reflects legal issues for
Foundation. If Foundation needs to make claims about what is and whats
not a legal issue, then such claims should be made by Mike.


Brian skrev:
> I also have not seen a clear explanation of what those who would like to
> generate statistics using web bugs plan to do with that data. How do they
> plan to use the data, and why aren't the plethora of statistics now made
> officially available by the WMF not satisfactory?
> You have bypassed the correct procedure. The amount of time that it takes
> the WMF to accomplish goals can be frustrating. Getting them to make your
> goal their goal can be frustrating. But it all has to start with you
> presenting them with a coherent goal that takes all the constraints into
> account. Then you need to get WMF approval which often involves getting
> community approval.
> Let's be clear that the privacy policy is a legal issue for the WMF.
> Volunteer admins cannot take user privacy into their own hands, under their
> own interpretation. That's just not how it works!
> 2009/6/6 Brian <Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu>
>> This is another e-mail on this subject that just strikes me as flawed.
>> These are not vague privacy fears - they are real privacy fears. I see a
>> fundamental failure by those involved in this controversy to understand this
>> point.
>> On Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 1:31 AM, Tisza Gergő <gtisza at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Robert Rohde <rarohde at ...> writes:
>>>> You may not be aware, but the relaying of page view data to third
>>>> party analysis platforms has been tried on a number of occasions in
>>>> the past and consistently shutdown.  (I think this even includes cases
>>>> before the Privacy Policy was adopted.)
>>>> However, to my recollection there has never been a case that quite
>>>> mirrors yours since we are talking about a privately hosted server
>>>> administered by a highly trusted community member.
>>> The (WM-DE-owned) toolserver ran a statistics script called WikiCharts for
>>> a few
>>> years, which worked with data relayed by Common.js from several
>>> wikipedias,
>>> including de and en. While that is not exactly the same situation (as the
>>> WMF
>>> has access to the toolserver), I think it proves my point that passing IP
>>> data
>>> to an (in the strict organizational sense) third-party server does not
>>> necessarily violate the privacy policy, neither letter nor spirit, as long
>>> as
>>> that server remains within the larger WM community.
>>> It is important to understand that this is a much more general question
>>> than
>>> that of web statistics: any third-party service that interacts with the
>>> standard
>>> wiki user interface receives private data, whether it needs it or not,
>>> because
>>> the user interface (the HTML page) is "executed" in the user's browser,
>>> and the
>>> browser has to contact the third-party service, and it cannot hide its IP
>>> in
>>> that process. For example, we considered setting up some sort of spell
>>> checking
>>> service for hu.wp. That is something that cannot be done well centrally -
>>> there
>>> is too much difference between languages. And if you do it with a local
>>> server,
>>> it has to communicate with the user's browser, and could in theory log
>>> requests
>>> and correlate them with edits on the wiki, thus it has to conform with the
>>> privacy guidelines. It would be a shame if all such uses would be blindly
>>> forbidden because of vague privacy fears.
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