Talk:IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation/Archives/2021-05

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Heads up: Massive update to the IP Info subpage in March 2021

Seems like interesting information regarding progress of development/policy drafting is available there. --Count Count (talk) 13:56, 17 May 2021 (UTC)

Jeez, that would have been good to have posted here at the time. Thanks for raising it, Count. Nosebagbear (talk) 00:45, 19 May 2021 (UTC)

dissenting voice from the outside

I see reference of previous discussions on meta and a current request for feedback on Wikidata, but nothing yet on the Wikipedia, the by far biggest communities being affected by this.

And then i read a line like:

Please understand that sometimes, as lawyers, we can’t publicly share all of the details of our thinking; but we read your comments and perspectives, and they’re very helpful for us in advising the Foundation.

Which is frankly speaking legalese bullshit, suggesting again a rather intransparent process (from the community's perspective) and it is again a recipe to piss off large parts of Wikipedia communities.--Kmhkmh (talk) 03:59, 11 May 2021 (UTC)

Yes. The legal team is correct in saying that this must happen, but they need to stop making incorrect statements like, "as lawyers, we can’t publicly share all of the details of our thinking". What they should be saying is, "We don't want to share all of the details of our thinking because it would damage the WMF", which is correct. --Gnom (talk) 09:48, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
I agree with your statement with regard to "can't" and "don't want to".
However at least at first glance I disagree with the rest.
Why exactly is it correct that it must (rather should) be done. Which law is requiring that? And if so why did it take for legal team 20 years to figure that out? Which laws have been ignored for 20 years or have changed in the mean time?
The damage to WMF or WP is impossible to assess without knowing the exact reasoning and what type of damage is to be considered here. As far as the often difficult and contentious relationship with the community is concerned, I'd probably argue that repeated intransparency and potentially not clearly/openly stated (aka hidden) agendas are doing the most damage.--Kmhkmh (talk) 10:48, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
I am a lawyer specialising in data protection laws, and I have been asking myself about the lack of privacy compliance at Wikipedia for a number of years. From my own professional experience, I am confident that this can be implemented in a way that protects logged-out users and at the same time does not hinder our anti-vandalism efforts. Happy to talk about this in more detail. --Gnom (talk) 11:20, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
I have no issue with hiding IP (in particular since IP6) assuming it is done right and support it. My issue is with the process, information policy and intransparency of arguments surrounding this feature.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:51, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
Kmhkmh: Just to explain how we've reasoned around where to start conversations, this page on Meta has been our main conversation (and we've flagged it in various ways, including on a lot of Wikipeidas), but in order to make sure we hear from various communities (e.g. not just Wikipedias, not just in English and so on), we've started conversations on various wikis to get different local perspectives. A number of those have been Wikipedias. You can find the links to (and summaries of) the conversations on French, Chinese, Swedish and Arabic Wikipedia here. I wrote a piece for the Signpost in English at w:en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2020-11-01/Op-Ed with conversation below. This is of course not exhaustive. We will have something tangible to present in how we plan to give access to IPs for people who need them soon, at which point we hope to invite more people who haven't seen this yet to comment. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 28 May 2021 (UTC)

Quite frankly I don't see the point of this initiative. Seemingly it has already been decided that action needs to be taken while we still haven't read about one single valid reason to even consider it.

I'm very happy with the status quo of users who can either log in, contribute via IP or abstain from editing. In Germany we have some very nice twitter-bots alerting us about edits from IP-nets owned by various federal authorities and that is a watchdog-function I'd dearly miss, and that's just one minor example. --Eloquenzministerium (talk) 22:46, 16 May 2021 (UTC)

The point is that this is something we have to do as norms and regulations around internet privacy has changed quite a lot in the last twenty years. See Gnom's comments above, too. I do realise the statement at IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation#Statement from the Wikimedia Foundation Legal department has very little actual content at the moment.
The conversations have been important to guide the technical development, not to form a yes/no decision – legal decisions has never been a matter of community consensus. In order to not cause significant harm, we need to a) be careful about how we do masking and b) make sure that people who need access to IPs for vandal fighting still have that, even if we hide them from the rest of the world. We're not going to just take the situation as it is today and then remove visible IPs and do nothing else to balance that, which I think is how a lot of editors visualise this change. We'll be presenting our ideas (based on previous conversations here) on how to what to hide and from whom within a few weeks. These conversations has been core in guiding our work. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
@Johan (WMF): I actually agree with hiding IPs (assuming it is done right) and probably agree that this not suited for yes/no by the community and that the WMF has to push it independent of that for legal reasons. However imho if the latter is case the case the WMF needs to communicate those legal reasons clearly and transparently, pseudo explanations like the one I quoted at the beginning of this sections should be no-go and vague references privacy and changed laws are not enough. Note this is not just about lack content with regard to implementation specific, but this is about intransparency and a lack of content with regard to the legal reasoning, that is which laws and changes in law in what countries force the WMF legally to hide the IPs. Or is the whole thing more a voluntary service to protect the privacy of anonymous contributors (which can be seen good thing on its own). All of is rather unclear to me at the moment (and I suspect for the communities at large) and that is my issue with the process. The legal argument/requirements (and what they are based) should be communicated openly from the start.--Kmhkmh (talk) 07:02, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
@Kmhkmh: Given that they have failed, for now closing in on 3 months, to even provide the "meta" reasons for not providing their reasons, I doubt Legal are going to give us anything approaching answers any time soon. Given this timeline, it's gone beyond the traditional slow legal turnaround time and Covid-19 and entered culpable rudeness. Something that would actually be viewed as bitey on most projects.
@Johan (WMF):, in terms of a discussion that doesn't involve Legal *directly* (but may), you said you were going to talk to your team a while back about the point I raised that while proximate info will be enough for some, the numbers needing full details was going to be fairly large (on en-wiki, much larger than the admin corps, for example) and the number needing some of that info even larger, have you had any further thoughts on that?
Finally In the most recent update on interim IP-masking steps, there have been various questions and concerns raised by a couple with far more SPI/proxy knowledge than I, could we (they) get answers to that as soon as, please? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:35, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes, we are working on getting all the last details down for how we envision this and the process and the requirements; we should get that here in a couple of weeks. Regarding the proxy questions, they are important; unfortunately, this is something we haven't had time to look into yet, partly because the team had to urgently work on SecurePoll to make sure the board elections can finally take place. I have hope Legal will be able to comment soon, too, although not as soon as we can present ideas on who and how will have access. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 02:43, 31 May 2021 (UTC)