The popular US-headquarted online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has expressed concerns that new guidelines by the Indian government could disrupt the working of its model, Indian Express reported on Monday.
The guidelines that are intended to be enforced by mid-January 2020 include traceability of the origin of information and activation of automated tools that would filter and remove public access to "unlawful" information among other features.
In a letter addressed to India’s federal Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Wikimedia, Wikipedia’s parent organisation has expressed concerns that automated filtering of information and immediate requirements to pull out content would interfere with the online encyclopaedia’s working model that allows real-time editing of data on its website.
Information is not categorised geographically, but language-wise on Wikipedia. Hence, new rules from the Indian government would not only alter the working of the website in India, but it would meddle with the over-all functioning of the encyclopaedia.
“It is impossible to restrict changes inside a Wikipedia article from being visible in one country and not another. Fulfilling mandatory content removal requirements from one country would leave problematic gaps in Wikipedia for the whole world and prevent people from accessing information that may be legal in their country", media reports quoted Wikimedia’s letter as saying.
On average, Wikipedia, which is one of the most visited websites in the world, garners over 18 billion page clicks every month and has 27 million registered users.
In its own reports, Wikipedia claims it adds over 20,000 new articles per month.
As of now, it remains unclear if the government will take the plea into consideration and agree to a common ground for tech giants operating in India.
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp had earlier raised questions on how guidelines demanding the traceability of information, meddle with the end-to-end encryption for chats it offers its 400 million users in India.