[Wikimedia-l] Legality under French law of hosting personal details such as race and sexuality in Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 19 12:21:04 UTC 2012

A contributor has raised an interesting questions on wikien-l that concerns
French Wikimedians. As French Wikimedians are unlikely to see it there, and
wikifr-l seems moribund, I've appended a copy of the post below.



"Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race,
sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is punishable by
five-year prison sentences and fines of up to euro300,000 ($411,000)."

— http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/jew-or-not-jew-iphone-app_n_1111730.html

Doesn't this technically make the French Wikipedia illegal? I don't
really understand this law's nuances, so I'm wondering if someone with
more knowledge could elaborate.


The underlying question concerns what is often deprecated as "Jew tagging"
and "gay tagging", i.e. adding Jewish or LGBT categories to biographies of
living people.

France (and quite likely other countries as well) has laws created after
the holocaust that make it illegal to collect personal details on people's
race, religion, or sexuality without their consent. An Apple app called
"Jew or not Jew?" that allowed users to look up whether a celebrity or
public figure was Jewish or not was withdrawn by Apple from worldwide
circulation after they were taken to court in France.

The question at issue is whether French Wikimedians might be individually
liable for violating French law if they add such categories in Wikipedia.

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