On Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 10:03 PM, MZMcBride <z...@mzmcbride.com> wrote:
> Hi.
> I'm of two minds here. I would love for mass surveillance to stop; the
> revelations of the past few years are disgusting. However, this lawsuit
> has the appearance of being the start of a completely un-winnable case
> that's merely an expensive political stunt. Perhaps especially due to the
> SOPA protests, I'm very wary of the Wikimedia Foundation engaging in
> stunts like this. I have a few questions.
> Has the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees passed a resolution
> authorizing the Wikimedia Foundation general counsel and executive
> director to pursue this lawsuit? I understand that one board member
> (Jimmy) is involved, of course, but something of this scale seems like it
> would require explicit authorization.

The board hasn't passed a resolution -- approving actions proposed by
the ED (and in this case general counsel) don't generally require a
resolution -- but we do support this action.

As for cost, remember that the ACLU is filing the suit on the
plaintiffs' (us) behalf. My understanding is our major investment here
is coordination time and our good name.

Whether it's worth us getting involved -- I'd argue of course it is.
The developments of the last few years about mass surveillance have
been egregious, even for the cynical among us. We (Wikimedia) are in a
rare position for an online organization -- of being widely used,
international, beloved, not beholden to corporate or government
interests, and with strong values of privacy, inclusion and openness,
which is reflected in everything from allowing anonymous editor
accounts to not tracking what our readers read. We also happen to be
based in the U.S., so can do things like file lawsuits here.

I trust our legal team to make decisions about what legal actions to
participate in. I also know and acknowledge that this is far from the
only thing that we can do on our own projects to support reader and
user privacy, and also far from the only thing that will have to
happen -- in the courts, in the congress, in technology circles -- to
make any change to policy. But if we could predict the outcome of
every suit before it was filed, the world would be a different place,
and the potential gain here is, I think, certainly worth the risk of


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