Last visit was: Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:56 pm
It is currently Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:56 pm



 [ 42 posts ] 
Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announced 
Author Message
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announced
WMF Press Release

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wi ... 22304.html

Quote:
(This press release is also posted on the WMF wiki at
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Pr ... iddle_East)

The Wikimedia Foundation and Saudi Telecom (STC) partner to provide
access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges in the Middle East


Service available immediately to STC customers in Saudi Arabia

San Francisco, California and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- October 14, 2012
-- Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the Wikimedia Foundation announced
a new partnership today to offer Wikipedia free of data charges on
mobile devices to STC customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
By making Wikipedia available to its 25 million mobile customers, STC
and the Wikimedia Foundation commit to increasing access to the free
and open knowledge available on Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero enables
customers to browse the website for free and with high flexibility on
all mobile phones.

This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mobile
strategy, which focuses on reaching billions of people around the
world whose primary opportunity to access the Internet is via a mobile
device. This initiative is particularly important, given that the
Foundation has made Arabic language countries a special priority in
its strategic planning.

“We are thrilled that STC has joined us in removing a major barrier to
accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. Improving access to the
Wikimedia projects in the Arabic speaking world is a strategic
priority for the Foundation, and this partnership is a step forward in
our mission to enable everyone on the planet to access free
knowledge,” said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile, Wikimedia
Foundation. “With Wikipedia Zero, the Wikimedia Foundation is able to
provide free Wikipedia access to almost 230 million mobile users
around the world. We’re very excited that STC is joining us in this
mission.”

In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing
digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now
access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their
mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. A lightweight, text-only version
optimized for slower connections is also available at
zero.wikipedia.org. The move comes as STC continues to consolidate its
leadership in various fields, especially in social awareness and the
fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture. Wikipedia Zero will also be
available through the mobile browser, and features high browsing
speeds despite being a free service.

Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Vice President for Personal Services, said “One
of the principles that STC adheres to is the commitment to spreading
social awareness and the fostering of a knowledge-sharing culture that
accomplishes the aspirations of all segments of our customer-base.” He
then added, “Wikipedia Zero is considered an additional cornerstone
that supports the continuous efforts of STC in the field of social
awareness.”

The launch of Wikipedia Zero comes in line with STC’s strategy to
prioritize customer needs, and is an affirmation of the company’s
commitment to fulfilling customer expectations while meeting their
demands, and to continuously develop its services to satisfy their
aspirations and give them a variety of unrestricted options and
alternatives.

For more information, please refer to the partnership Q&A at:
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mo ... rships#STC

'''About Saudi Telecom'''
www.stc.com.sa

Saudi Telecom Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides
telecommunications services to individuals and businesses primarily in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its GSM segment primarily offers mobile,
prepaid cards, international roaming, and messaging services. The
company’s Landline segment principally provides fixed line, card
telephones, interconnect, and international call services. Its DATA
segment primarily offers leased data transmission circuits, DSL, and
Internet services. The company also engages in the operation of
communications projects; transmission and processing of information;
wholesale and retail trade of recharge card services,
telecommunication equipment and devices, and computer services; sale
and re-sale of various landlines and mobiles telecommunication
services; and maintenance and operation of commercial centers. In
addition, it provides mobile services, international
telecommunications, broad band, and other related services in Bahrain;
and operates third generation mobile network in Indonesia. The company
was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

'''About Wikimedia Foundation'''
http://wikimediafoundation.org
http://blog.wikimedia.org

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 456 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, August
2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 22
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.

'''Media contact'''
For the Wikimedia Foundation
Jay Walsh, Head of Communications


Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:21 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
How does this fit with Wikipedia's SOPA blackout and strong stance against online "censorship"? The Saudi view of all that is clear.

Quote:
The kingdom recently called for an international discussion to lay down new guidelines for Internet accessibility. This marks a new approach for Saudi Arabia, which has already resorted to drastic measures to limit free communication within its own borders.


Should someone warn the Wikipedians about the people the foundation is doing business with?

It should be obvious, but Saudi Telecom is about 80 percent owned by the Saudi government. Saudi Telecom is a bit of an innovator.

Quote:
The digital media company, which provides digital TV channels and video-on-demand for the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), has a "live censorship" room and sophisticated editing facilities to remove content deemed offensive.

"You wouldn't notice the difference," says Mr Daoud. "You'd know that, let's say, a kiss has taken place, but instead of it lasting 12 seconds and being too graphic, it would be just two seconds and appropriate."

Intigral says it does not choose to censor TV shows and films, but complies with the requirements of its clients in making content suitable for specific markets.


Should this be its own topic? Not sure if it fits entirely with this old one.


Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:51 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
It will be interesting to see if any of the Wikimedia hard core will complain about signing any kind of agreement with the Saudi government. After all:
Quote:
As soon as Saudis went online to express their opinions, demand actions, and organize demonstrations, the Saudi government took immediate steps to respond to what it regarded as a national security threat. The government issued warnings banning protests, reminded people via email of the ban, and threatened the youth through the BlackBerry multi-media message service (MMS) to discourage them from participating in demonstrations. The authorities also detained and intimidated hundreds of online political activists and online commentators, implemented strict filtering mechanisms to block sensitive political content from entering the Saudi internet, recruited thousands of online supporters to warn against the call for protests and demonstrations as a counter measure, and continued to apply its excessive monitoring of internet users.

... Service for BlackBerry hand-held mobile devices, however, was banned from August 1-10, 2010 due to concerns over BlackBerry’s encryption services,[13] but the ban was lifted after the company agreed to provide the Saudi authorities with the means to access the devices’ encrypted messages.

...Major video-sharing, social-networking, and micro-blogging sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are freely available, as are international blog-hosting services. However, specific pages particularly on social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are instantly blocked if they contain sensitive political content or call for people to join political campaigns and movements.

... Pages that demanded political, social, or economic reforms or basic human or civil rights were also blocked. More generally, sites that contain “harmful,” “illegal,” “anti-Islamic,” or “offensive” material are routinely blocked, as are those that carry criticism of Saudi Arabia, the royal family, or other Gulf States.

...Another strategy the government employs to manufacture consent about its image is by being very active in online public discussion forums. The government also influences the news reported online by offering financial support to news sites such as Sabq.org in return for coordination between a site editor and the authorities. Blocking an online source from inside the country and thereby limiting the chances of making revenue from advertisements has also proven effective, as revealed by the owners of Al-Saha al-Siyasia who decided to close its website after 15 years in operation because of the block by Saudi authorities, which according to the owners, resulted in their financial ruin.

...the government treats online journalists writing for newspapers and other formal news outlets the same as print and broadcast journalists, subjecting them to close supervision. Bloggers and online commentators who write under pseudonyms face special scrutiny from the authorities who attempt to identify and punish them for critical or controversial remarks. Online writers are often arrested and detained without specific charges, though it is frequently clear which views offend the government. The Ministry of Interior has generally enjoyed impunity for abuses against bloggers and online commentators.


Etc...


Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:40 pm
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
DanMurphy wrote:
Should this be its own topic? Not sure if it fits entirely with this old one.


I've split it off.

DanMurphy wrote:
It will be interesting to see if any of the Wikimedia hard core will complain about signing any kind of agreement with the Saudi government.


I've asked on Wikimedia-l whether access is uncensored, and whether there have been any agreements entered into with STC concerning censorship.

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wi ... 22320.html


Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:14 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
Quote:
I've asked on Wikimedia-l whether access is uncensored, and whether there have been any agreements entered into with STC concerning censorship.

Moushira Elamrawy, who appears to be an Egyptian in the employ of the Wikimedia Foundation, thinks there's nothing to worry about.
Quote:
@Andreas: Censorship! Thats interesting --but my understanding is that
> > Wikiipedia is fine in KSA, except for some visual content that is being
> > blocked.
>
>
> Not exactly.[1][2] ;)
>

Yes, this too, but people always manage to work around it ;) In general it is accessible and better than the censorship status in other countries (Syria!), and the government is investing in increasing Wikipedia Arabic content, so a lot could be done to expand readership and editor base with the current status, even if it isn't perfect.


Well as long as the Saudi government is investing in increasing Wikipedia Arabic content and isn't as bad as those nasty, nasty Syrians (the Saudi government hates those apostate Syrian Alawites, doncha know) why worry?


Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:21 pm
Online
Witchsmeller Pursuivant
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:16 pm
Posts: 6556
Wikipedia User: Vigilant
Wikipedia Review Member: Vigilant
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
Is there anything that these guys can do right?
WMUK is a cesspit of nepotism.
WMF thrashes about SOPA and then signs with the Saudis...

It's like I'm reading the fucking Onion.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:07 am
Gregarious
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:42 pm
Posts: 537
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
Vigilant wrote:
Is there anything that these guys can do right?
WMUK is a cesspit of nepotism.
WMF thrashes about SOPA and then signs with the Saudis...

It's like I'm reading the fucking Onion.

Maybe the Saudis will license their porn-filtering technology to the WMF for use in schools!


Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:56 am
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
Sweet Revenge wrote:
Vigilant wrote:
Is there anything that these guys can do right?
WMUK is a cesspit of nepotism.
WMF thrashes about SOPA and then signs with the Saudis...

It's like I'm reading the fucking Onion.

Maybe the Saudis will license their porn-filtering technology to the WMF for use in schools!

:) Wikipedia has a List of articles censored in Saudi Arabia.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:17 am
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:14 pm
Posts: 3325
Location: London
Wikipedia User: Peter Damian
Wikipedia Review Member: Peter Damian
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Guys can you stop this. I'm trying to write a book about the mess that is Wikipedia, and every book needs to have an ending. Why do you keep on adding more to the mess?

_________________
"It is an act of evil to accept the state of evil as either inevitable or final"


Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:17 am WWW
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Peter Damian wrote:
Guys can you stop this. I'm trying to write a book about the mess that is Wikipedia, and every book needs to have an ending. Why do you keep on adding more to the mess?

Make it a series, and just think to yourself that the other stuff will go into the next volume. :)


Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:25 am
Regular
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:51 am
Posts: 499
Location: Basement
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
@Dan... mostly

Out of professional interest, how would you rate the press release?

For such a large organisation, my vote is for "fucking terrible". In accordance with the standard wikimedia approach, they have eschewed, most clearly, any expertise.

_________________
-----------
Notvelty


Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:47 am
Gregarious
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:42 pm
Posts: 537
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
HRIP7 wrote:

It beggars the imagination that the list of articles censored in Saudi Arabia is not itself on the list of articles censored in Saudi Arabia. Do the Saudis not care if their citizens have a list of what they're not allowed to see?


Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:37 am
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Notvelty wrote:
@Dan... mostly

Out of professional interest, how would you rate the press release?

For such a large organisation, my vote is for "fucking terrible". In accordance with the standard wikimedia approach, they have eschewed, most clearly, any expertise.

It reads like it was written by a small-time bureaucrat and public relations guy.

It is filled with management-speak and misdirection. Though I suppose this was inevitable -- since there's no there there.

What on earth is the agreement with the Saudis? If they want to make some phone services free, what does that have to do with Wikimedia? I'm sure the full text of the agreement (information wants to be free! go team!) will be made available in short order.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:43 am
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
From the press release:

Quote:
In collaboration with “Intigral”, a company specialized in providing digital media solutions to telecom operators, STC subscribers can now access the free service in both Arabic and English by pointing their mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org.


In case anyone missed it, Intigral is the company that runs the "live censorship" room for Saudi Telecom (referenced in my post further up thread quoting the Intigral manager explaining how they edit kisses from video). They are also now in charge of getting Wikipedia content to Saudi Telecom customers.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:50 am
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:10 am
Posts: 1041
Location: New York, New York
Wikipedia User: Michaeldsuarez
Wikipedia Review Member: Michaeldsuarez
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
HRIP7 wrote:


Someone should make an Arabic version of each of the English articles listed and see how the Saudi government and those responsible for censorship react.

_________________
"Wikimedia Foundation '''cannot''' host materials that infringe copyrights or are not allowed by laws - let alone instructions about how to overthrow a government."


Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:53 am WWW
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:14 pm
Posts: 3325
Location: London
Wikipedia User: Peter Damian
Wikipedia Review Member: Peter Damian
Unread post Re: Improve content about the Arab world on Wikipedia? Well.
Sweet Revenge wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:

It beggars the imagination that the list of articles censored in Saudi Arabia is not itself on the list of articles censored in Saudi Arabia. Do the Saudis not care if their citizens have a list of what they're not allowed to see?


That said, if you look at the actual list, it includes many of the outrageously stupid and unencyclopedic articles discussed here, often.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... udi_Arabia

_________________
"It is an act of evil to accept the state of evil as either inevitable or final"


Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:41 pm WWW
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
As far as I can tell the list is generated by people who have tried to access a page in Saudi Arabia and failed. I guarantee you far, far more than 3 Wikipedia Arabic articles are censored in the Kingdom. I suspect many more scientific articles to join "Theory of evolution" on the Saudi blacklist.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:11 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Just a reminder of the rather astonishing double standards at play. Remember last month when Wales chimed in on England's internet monitoring plans?
Quote:
But Mr Wales told MPs and peers yesterday that it would be relatively easy for Wikipedia to thwart any snooping on how people had been using the site by encrypting data. This would ensure that while information held by ISPs would show that users were accessing the online encyclopaedia, it would not show what subject pages they were looking at.

He said: “If we find that UK ISPs are mandated to keep track of every single web page that you read at Wikipedia, I am almost certain we would immediately move to a default of encrypting all communication to the UK, so that the local ISP would only be able to see that you are speaking to Wikipedia, not what you are reading.


Wales' Wikimedia Foundation has just entered into an agreement with the telecoms provider of a government that routinely snoops on its citizens online, in far more invasive and frightening ways than mooted for the UK. Reading between the lines, it is collaborating with the Saudi government's main web censor in writing code. The Saudi government makes encryption like Wales "threatened" the UK with in September strictly illegal and brought Blackberry to heel over this issue. The Saudi government routinely tracks down the identities of internet users and harasses them. Any Saudi who has something critical to write about the monarchy or Saudi history would be very, very foolish to edit Wikipedia, particularly via Saudi Telecom. That would be very dangerous. It is almost criminally irresponsible to encourage young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential consequences.

I'm surprised this isn't more of a story yet. Am I missing something?


Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:26 pm
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:51 am
Posts: 1912
Wikipedia User: TungstenCarbide
Wikipedia Review Member: TungstenCarbide
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
DanMurphy wrote:
I'm surprised this isn't more of a story yet. Am I missing something?


Each language Wikipedia is run by the members of that community, not the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation just provides support, like servers and bandwidth, theoretically. So what's important is that the Arabic Wikipedia community is happy with the arrangement. That might be the rationale.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:44 pm
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Article on The Next Web:

http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2012/10/14 ... e-devices/

Quote:
Browsing Wikipedia is now completely free for 230 million mobile users globally

Thanks to a new partnership between Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Wikimedia, 25 million STC mobile customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait can now access Wikipedia free of charge – with zero data fees. This deal raises the total number of mobile users with free Wikipedia access to an impressive 230 million, as part of the Wikipedia Zero program; an initiative to bring free mobile Wikipedia access to developing countries.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:58 pm
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:41 pm
Posts: 1032
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
DanMurphy wrote:
Wales' Wikimedia Foundation has just entered into an agreement with the telecoms provider of a government that routinely snoops on its citizens online, in far more invasive and frightening ways than mooted for the UK. Reading between the lines, it is collaborating with the Saudi government's main web censor in writing code. The Saudi government makes encryption like Wales "threatened" the UK with in September strictly illegal and brought Blackberry to heel over this issue. The Saudi government routinely tracks down the identities of internet users and harasses them. Any Saudi who has something critical to write about the monarchy or Saudi history would be very, very foolish to edit Wikipedia, particularly via Saudi Telecom. That would be very dangerous. It is almost criminally irresponsible to encourage young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential consequences.

I'm surprised this isn't more of a story yet. Am I missing something?

I'm not sure this will amount to much of a story. The WMF isn't really an active partner in these arrangements once they are agreed. If STC wants to give people free access to WP, there isn't anything the WMF can do about it anyway. The spin will be that some access to the sum of all human knowledge is better than none, is isn't it? What will be interesting is when Intigral replaces, rather than censors, certain articles. But that would never happen...


Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:52 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
HRIP7 wrote:
Article on The Next Web:

http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2012/10/14 ... e-devices/

Quote:
Browsing Wikipedia is now completely free for 230 million mobile users globally

Thanks to a new partnership between Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Wikimedia, 25 million STC mobile customers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait can now access Wikipedia free of charge – with zero data fees. This deal raises the total number of mobile users with free Wikipedia access to an impressive 230 million, as part of the Wikipedia Zero program; an initiative to bring free mobile Wikipedia access to developing countries.


Sterling "Silver Seren" Erickson reliably brings the stupid in the comment section on that article:

Quote:
I wonder how this will affect politics in the region, especially if the users in those countries read from the English Wikipedia, which is likely to contain information that isn't wholly positive of their governments.


It won't have any effect on the politics of the region at all you ignorant, naval gazing child! People in the middle east don't need mediocrities like you editing the English wikipedia (in a language very few of them speak anyways) to tell them about their governments. They know full well what their governments are about.

This commenter, on the other hand, knows what he's talking about:

Quote:
STC is owned by the Saudi government, and they are specialists in seamless censorship.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:52 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Moonage Daydream wrote:
DanMurphy wrote:
Wales' Wikimedia Foundation has just entered into an agreement with the telecoms provider of a government that routinely snoops on its citizens online, in far more invasive and frightening ways than mooted for the UK. Reading between the lines, it is collaborating with the Saudi government's main web censor in writing code. The Saudi government makes encryption like Wales "threatened" the UK with in September strictly illegal and brought Blackberry to heel over this issue. The Saudi government routinely tracks down the identities of internet users and harasses them. Any Saudi who has something critical to write about the monarchy or Saudi history would be very, very foolish to edit Wikipedia, particularly via Saudi Telecom. That would be very dangerous. It is almost criminally irresponsible to encourage young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential consequences.

I'm surprised this isn't more of a story yet. Am I missing something?

I'm not sure this will amount to much of a story. The WMF isn't really an active partner in these arrangements once they are agreed. If STC wants to give people free access to WP, there isn't anything the WMF can do about it anyway. The spin will be that some access to the sum of all human knowledge is better than none, is isn't it? What will be interesting is when Intigral replaces, rather than censors, certain articles. But that would never happen...

Uh, I dunno. Rather than assisting the Saudi government in gaining more control over Wikipedia content they could do... the opposite somehow? Where's the press release announcing encryption for all the Saudi traffic, like Wales promised for those thugs in the UK?


Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:56 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Wales was apparently in Saudi last year. From a Q&A:


Quote:
Q: That’s a very benevolent take. By the same token you can use the greater capacity to communicate directly and individually to promulgate the most awful messages...

Wales; But when you look at the capacity to do that, the sheer mini to mini-ness of it is a certain averaging factor, as compared to the top-down controlled press that you would see in Saudi Arabia for example.

When I was in Saudi Arabia recently I made very strong remarks. I was actually surprised – I shouldn’t have been; I didn’t do enough homework – when I gave my lecture, that the women were in a different room listening in. And I just said that this is incredibly offensive and quite backwards, and I’m sorry to have to say that.

They asked me about some efforts we’re doing in India, and about what’s next. And I said one of the things is we’re considering different regions of the world to open offices to support the local language communities, and one of the communities of interest that we may get to next year would be the Arabic community. We think it’s an important language and we’d like to give more support to the Arabic-speaking community and we’ll open an office somewhere. And they said, well, what about Saudi Arabia? And I said, no, because of the human rights situation it would be impossible.

Q: You said this in your talk in Saudi Arabia?

Wales: No, in an interview there. You can go and look up the story: The headline is: Jimmy Wales considers office in Saudi Arabia. (The online Saudi Gazette indeed has a headline declaring “Wikipedia chief hints at office” in the kingdom, and reports: “Answering a question, Wales said opening an office in Saudi Arabia is also a possibility. ‘We are even exploring possibilities of opening an office in Saudi Arabia, which can help Wikipedia to enhance its Arabic content,’ Wales said.) And so there’s this, “Yay for our tech industry. We’re attracting talent from around the world.” I’m like, absolutely [not]! This is ridiculous. I complained. They didn’t even answer me.

Q: You might not get invited to Saudi Arabia again...

Wales: I don’t know. Maybe I would. It’s diverse.

Q:Where else have you been in the region?

Wales: Egypt, Jordan. I got invited to go to Syria once, but it got canceled, unfortunately. I’ve got two passports, because I have tons of Israeli stamps in my passport...


Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:12 pm
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:41 pm
Posts: 1032
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
DanMurphy wrote:
Moonage Daydream wrote:
DanMurphy wrote:
Wales' Wikimedia Foundation has just entered into an agreement with the telecoms provider of a government that routinely snoops on its citizens online, in far more invasive and frightening ways than mooted for the UK. Reading between the lines, it is collaborating with the Saudi government's main web censor in writing code. The Saudi government makes encryption like Wales "threatened" the UK with in September strictly illegal and brought Blackberry to heel over this issue. The Saudi government routinely tracks down the identities of internet users and harasses them. Any Saudi who has something critical to write about the monarchy or Saudi history would be very, very foolish to edit Wikipedia, particularly via Saudi Telecom. That would be very dangerous. It is almost criminally irresponsible to encourage young Saudis to edit Wikipedia without warning them of the potential consequences.

I'm surprised this isn't more of a story yet. Am I missing something?

I'm not sure this will amount to much of a story. The WMF isn't really an active partner in these arrangements once they are agreed. If STC wants to give people free access to WP, there isn't anything the WMF can do about it anyway. The spin will be that some access to the sum of all human knowledge is better than none, is isn't it? What will be interesting is when Intigral replaces, rather than censors, certain articles. But that would never happen...

Uh, I dunno. Rather than assisting the Saudi government in gaining more control over Wikipedia content they could do... the opposite somehow? Where's the press release announcing encryption for all the Saudi traffic, like Wales promised for those thugs in the UK?

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that I don't see this becoming a big story. There are elements of this that will be lost on the general public. For one thing, there is currently no article about Intigral (T-H-L) on WP.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:13 pm
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Now raised on Jimbo's talk page by Silver Seren.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:03 pm
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:32 pm
Posts: 8413
Location: yes
Wikipedia User: EricBarbour
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Quote:
Wales: Egypt, Jordan. I got invited to go to Syria once, but it got canceled, unfortunately. I’ve got two passports, because I have tons of Israeli stamps in my passport...

If Saudi immigration sees this article, Wales might find himself banned from Saudi Arabia (and many of its neighbors) for life.
The two-passport act is a common practice, but the Saudis have NO sense of humor about it.

I've been there, and Saudi customs spends a great deal of time trying to determine if would-be entrants have had any
dealings with Israel. They even confiscate products made by companies that they think have close relations with Israel,
like Coca-Cola and Crest toothpaste. Along with any drugs (prescription or not), anything containing alcohol, and
publications containing photos of naked or half-naked women.
Plus any objects likely to be used in witchcraft, such as candles or Ouija boards. Plus Bibles and other "blasphemous"
religious materials. (But gay pornography is okay, apparently.)

_________________
Image


Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:21 pm WWW
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
EricBarbour wrote:
Quote:
Wales: Egypt, Jordan. I got invited to go to Syria once, but it got canceled, unfortunately. I’ve got two passports, because I have tons of Israeli stamps in my passport...

If Saudi immigration sees this article, Wales might find himself banned from Saudi Arabia (and many of its neighbors) for life.
The two-passport act is a common practice, but the Saudis have NO sense of humor about it.

I've been there, and Saudi customs spends a great deal of time trying to determine if would-be entrants have had any
dealings with Israel. They even confiscate products made by companies that they think have close relations with Israel,
like Coca-Cola and Crest toothpaste. Along with any drugs (prescription or not), anything containing alcohol, and
publications containing photos of naked or half-naked women.
Plus any objects likely to be used in witchcraft, such as candles or Ouija boards. Plus Bibles and other "blasphemous"
religious materials. (But gay pornography is okay, apparently.)

Nah. Any trip he makes to Saudi Arabia will be official, and the Saudi's will be looking for some reflected prestige/street cred. They'll look the other way on stuff like this.

But being a semi-recognizable public figure and telling a newspaper that you have two passports so that the Syrian's don't know you've been to Israel, is not exactly good op-sec. He's a strangely unworldly man.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:24 pm
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:08 pm
Posts: 243
Wikipedia User: Musikfabrik
Wikipedia Review Member: The fieryangel
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Peter Damian wrote:
Guys can you stop this. I'm trying to write a book about the mess that is Wikipedia, and every book needs to have an ending. Why do you keep on adding more to the mess?


WHY do you think that I gave on the idea of ever writing anything definitive about Wikipedia? There is not way to ever get to the end of this rabbit hole. It's complete insanity. I decided that I didn't want to be incurably insane. You are completely free to try to dot the final phrase on this particular zen koan, but I really seriously doubt that ANYONE will ever be able to completely do this insanity justice.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:30 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
RSF considers Saudi Arabia 39745.html,an enemy of the internet

Quote:
New regulations on Internet publications aimed at strengthening Net censorship and discouraging Internet users from creating a website or blog were announced on 1 January 2011 by the Minister of Culture and Information, Abdul Aziz Khoja.

...The media must also indicate the name of their hosting service, which gives the government the option of forcing the service to eliminate the site or its content. All forms, blogs or personal Internet sites, distribution lists, electronic archives or “chat rooms” will henceforth have to be registered. Bloggers may identify themselves “if they wish to.” The obvious intent is to chip away at their anonymity.

...Under Article 17, any violation of these provisions is punishable by fines and a partial or total, temporary or permanent, blocking of the website. Fines may be as high as 100,000 Saudi riyals (20,000 euros), which constitutes an indirect form of economic censorship, given that many sites cannot afford to pay such a sum. The Ministry reserves the right to expand the scope of these measures.

Etc...


Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:59 pm
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:32 pm
Posts: 8413
Location: yes
Wikipedia User: EricBarbour
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
oscarlechien wrote:
Peter Damian wrote:
Guys can you stop this. I'm trying to write a book about the mess that is Wikipedia, and every book needs to have an ending. Why do you keep on adding more to the mess?

WHY do you think that I gave on the idea of ever writing anything definitive about Wikipedia? There is not way to ever get to the end of this rabbit hole. It's complete insanity. I decided that I didn't want to be incurably insane. You are completely free to try to dot the final phrase on this particular zen koan, but I really seriously doubt that ANYONE will ever be able to completely do this insanity justice.

"Job security". :D

_________________
Image


Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:17 pm WWW
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2265
Wikipedia User: Bali ultimate
Wikipedia Review Member: DanMurphy
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
A Wikimedia Foundation employee has confirmed that Wikimedia programmers are working with Saudi Telecom and/or Intigral programmers on the Saudi Arabia product, among other things.

Quote:
To implement a zero-rated version of Wikipedia we engage and work directly with an operator on multiple levels. Besides spending time with their business/marketing and/or corporate social responsibility staff to take on this program (because it does cost them time and resources) we work with on the technical side to adapt, customize and debug a light-weight version of Wikipedia (i.e., Wikipedia Zero) that their customers can access on their network. Sometimes this includes, but is not limited to, creating a country-specific landing page, developing banners so customers know they are not paying when they are using it, and some feature development. We also need to make sure that it works within their billing systems so customers don't get charged for using it. Operators have varying technical infrastructures (some completely different from others) so we have to make adjustments for each one. Then we spend a lot time testing with them to make sure it's running properly.


The same employee also says freedom of expression issues were not brought up at all in discussions with Saudi authorities. It does not seem to occur to him that Intigral's role as a censor in general for Saudi Telecom may be relevant.

Meanwhile Mr. Wales would like you to understand that he knows nothing about anything.

Quote:
I personally know nothing about this partnership. I am deeply concerned about any collaboration with people who practice censorship. But I also acknowledge there are many complexities and possibilities. I'll investigate and if I'm unhappy about it, I'll let you know. And if I'm happy about it, I'll let you know. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:41, 16 October 2012 (UTC)


I don't expect he will be letting us "know." Do you?


Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:55 pm
Trustee
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:07 pm
Posts: 6196
Location: Pennsylvania
Wikipedia User: Thekohser
Wikipedia Review Member: thekohser
Actual Name: Gregory Kohs
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
DanMurphy wrote:
I don't expect he will be letting us "know." Do you?

I'd say there's a 50% chance he never utters a word about it again, and a 50% chance that he makes a statement, but one so loaded with his wishy-washy catch phrases ("it's a bit tricky", "we have to be very, very careful ... but", "I have thoughtfully considered both sides of this issue", "the process may not please everyone, but we will continue to work on this", "some are very upset by this arrangement, but I think that is a good thing, actually") that you still won't know if he likes the deal or not.

_________________
"...making nonsensical connections and culminating in feigned surprise, since 2006..."


Last edited by thekohser on Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:02 pm WWW
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:18 pm
Posts: 3301
Wikipedia User: Nastytroll
Wikipedia Review Member: Lilburne
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
DanMurphy wrote:

I don't expect he will be letting us "know." Do you?


video: show

_________________
They have been inserting little memes in everybody's mind
So Google's shills can shriek there whenever they're inclined


Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:30 pm
Gregarious
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:01 am
Posts: 692
Location: Troll country
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
DanMurphy wrote:
Meanwhile Mr. Wales would like you to understand that he knows nothing about anything.
And thanks heavens for that; it is a great improvement. :dry:

Earlier, whenever Mr Wales commented on anything relating to the Middle East, I was reminded of another American idol:
video: show


Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:08 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:54 pm
Posts: 5418
Location: San Diego
Wikipedia User: Stanistani
Wikipedia Review Member: Zoloft
Actual Name: William Burns
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Moved off-topic PvP posts out of sight. Stay on topic, folks.
*Yes, I used an axe to give a haircut. Bite me.

_________________
♪♫ Isn't it enough to know I ruined a pony making a gift for you? ♫♪


Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:39 am
Habitué

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 3:51 pm
Posts: 1292
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Er, not sure why they (The Saudi's) need WMF coders to work on it. If a mobile carrier wants to zero-rate something its trivial to implement. Most modern ones can do it overnight for numbers, and within a few days for individual websites. (Its even quicker with smartphones if there is an app associated with it)


Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:33 am
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
The German Wikipedia Kurier (their Signpost equivalent) now has an article on the partnership. There is also an article on heise.de, a German IT news site ("Saudi Arabia: mobile Wikipedia free, but censored").

Quote:
The English Wikipedia documents a list of 141 articles that are apparently blocked in Saudi Arabia. Many of these have sexual content, but they also include articles on Muhammad caricatures and an Arabic article on evolution. The block can be relatively easily circumvented, by using a https connection to access the article, but this is unlikely to work when using the mobile offer.


Quote:
In der englischsprachigen Wikipedia ist eine Liste mit 141 Artikeln dokumentiert, die in Saudi-Arabien gesperrt sein sollen. Darunter sind viele mit sexuellen Inhalten, aber auch Artikel über die Mohammed-Karikaturen und ein arabischer Artikel über die Evolution. Diese Sperre lässt sich mit dem Artikelabruf über eine https-Verbindung relativ leicht umgehen, was allerdings bei dem Mobilfunkangebot nicht funktionieren dürfte.


Includes a reference to the mailing list discussions, as well as Jimbo's statement on his talk page. Also a statement from Jay Walsh saying the WMF has no way of knowing what articles are censored in Saudi Arabia (the Kurier article sarcastically asks, "How could they know?", with a hyperlink to Wikipedia's own list of Wikipedia articles censored in Saudi Arabia). On the talk page, HaeB (T-C-L), who now works for the WMF, explains that the way Jay was quoted was suboptimal, and that of course Jay was aware of the list of censored articles. What Jay meant was that WMF has no technical means to discover which articles are censored, and relies on reports from Wikipedians.


Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:21 pm
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 am
Posts: 5444
Location: UK
Wikipedia User: Jayen466
Wikipedia Review Member: HRIP7
Actual Name: Andreas Kolbe
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Funnily enough, here is Jimbo speaking on the subject in an article published yesterday:

Quote:
Even in established democracies with a lineage of free speech protections, privacy rights have a history of being infringed upon or subjected to uneven applications. So, in the case of a fledgling democracy such as those popping up in the Middle East, creating institutions that protect these rights, the rights of the individual, and their privacy is “non-trivial…even in the best cases”, Wales said.

Part of the mission of Wikipedia – and the internet as a whole – is to spread this information freely in the absence of any institutional safeguards, a mission the website’s founder takes seriously. “I will continue to support freedom of speech worldwide”, he told the audience. “I think it’s incredibly important.”


Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:57 pm
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:41 pm
Posts: 1032
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
HRIP7 wrote:
The German Wikipedia Kurier (their Signpost equivalent) now has an article on the partnership. There is also an article on heise.de, a German IT news site ("Saudi Arabia: mobile Wikipedia free, but censored").

Quote:
The English Wikipedia documents a list of 141 articles that are apparently blocked in Saudi Arabia. Many of these have sexual content, but they also include articles on Muhammad caricatures and an Arabic article on evolution. The block can be relatively easily circumvented, by using a https connection to access the article, but this is unlikely to work when using the mobile offer.


Quote:
In der englischsprachigen Wikipedia ist eine Liste mit 141 Artikeln dokumentiert, die in Saudi-Arabien gesperrt sein sollen. Darunter sind viele mit sexuellen Inhalten, aber auch Artikel über die Mohammed-Karikaturen und ein arabischer Artikel über die Evolution. Diese Sperre lässt sich mit dem Artikelabruf über eine https-Verbindung relativ leicht umgehen, was allerdings bei dem Mobilfunkangebot nicht funktionieren dürfte.


Includes a reference to the mailing list discussions, as well as Jimbo's statement on his talk page. Also a statement from Jay Walsh saying the WMF has no way of knowing what articles are censored in Saudi Arabia (the Kurier article sarcastically asks, "How could they know?", with a hyperlink to Wikipedia's own list of Wikipedia articles censored in Saudi Arabia). On the talk page, HaeB (T-C-L), who now works for the WMF, explains that the way Jay was quoted was suboptimal, and that of course Jay was aware of the list of censored articles. What Jay meant was that WMF has no technical means to discover which articles are censored, and relies on reports from Wikipedians.

Yes, because it would be impossible to find out what articles were blocked. I mean, even if you had someone in Saudi Arabia who was willing to do it, let's assume they could only type quickly enough to look at one article per minute. With over four million articles, that's 6667 hours, which is 278 days, which is like 10 years or something. And then there's the Arabic wiki, which is pretty much impossible to figure out because they use meaningless squiggles instead of a normal font.


Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:32 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:32 am
Posts: 2339
Location: Boise, Idaho
Wikipedia User: Carrite
Wikipedia Review Member: Timbo
Actual Name: Tim Davenport
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
EricBarbour wrote:
I've been there, and Saudi customs spends a great deal of time trying to determine if would-be entrants have had any
dealings with Israel. They even confiscate products made by companies that they think have close relations with Israel,
like Coca-Cola and Crest toothpaste. Along with any drugs (prescription or not), anything containing alcohol, and
publications containing photos of naked or half-naked women.
Plus any objects likely to be used in witchcraft, such as candles or Ouija boards. Plus Bibles and other "blasphemous"
religious materials. (But gay pornography is okay, apparently.)


Too easy..........

RfB


Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:27 pm
Online
Habitué
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:32 am
Posts: 2339
Location: Boise, Idaho
Wikipedia User: Carrite
Wikipedia Review Member: Timbo
Actual Name: Tim Davenport
Unread post Re: Partnership between Wikimedia and Saudi Telecom announce
Okay, here's how this goes...

(1) The Saudis block access to all language encyclopedias outside of Arabic. QED.

(2) The increased readership of WP in Saudi immediately skews new contributions of Arabic content to the right.

(3) The Saudis work with Arabic Wikipedia to "clean up" their content. They've got lots of money and we've seen what drives action with local WM groups...

(4) The Saudis peek in to see who is reading "subversive" content and take steps they deem appropriate.

(5) If it gets to be a problem, they just shut the mother down.


RfB


Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:32 pm
 [ 42 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Capsot, DanMurphy, Google [Bot], Randy from Boise, Thracia, Vigilant and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.