Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report/December 2016/Emergency Disclosures/tr

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This page is a translated version of the page Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report/December 2016/Emergency Disclosures and the translation is 8% complete.

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We report two types of emergency disclosures, which happen on rare occasions.

First, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act provides an expedited process for law enforcement to request user data from websites in cases of immediate threat to life or limb. We call these “emergency requests”. Such requests are also addressed in our Requests for User Information Procedures & Guidelines and Privacy Policy.

Second, we proactively contact the authorities when we become aware of troubling statements on the projects, such as suicide threats or bomb threats. We take these statements seriously and assess each one individually, contacting law enforcement as appropriate to help resolve the issue. We call these “voluntary disclosures.”

JUL - DEC 2016
Emergency Requests 2
Voluntary Disclosures 17
Total Emergency Disclosures 19

The stories below are real. They are also meant to be illustrative of the kinds of situations that would warrant a possible emergency disclosure of user information. Please note that these specific stories may not have occurred during the precise time frame that this transparency report covers. Some variables, such as the privacy of our users, may require our postponing the reporting of certain stories.


JULY – DEC 2016
Emergency disclosures by type
Total 19
Individual threats 6
Terrorist threats 8
Suicide threats 2
Other 1
Emergency requests 2


A Deadly Threat

LED Verkehrssicherungsbalken.jpg

Our community shares threats with the Foundation when they find them. When an anonymous poster made an alleged bomb threat, we found that the edit was made from an IP address that was near the apparent threat location. As permitted by our privacy policy, we alerted local police, passing on the IP address and details we had about the threat. The police informed us they had located and arrested the person in question, who allegedly had weapons available and reportedly confessed.

Revealing Presidential Threats


On rare occasions we discover threats against public figures. This is uncommon, but something that happens on large websites. An individual had made specific, graphic threats against President Barack Obama. This is contrary to our policies, and against U.S. law. In cases of potential serious harm to a person, our privacy policy allows us to disclose relevant information. We immediately took action, reporting the user’s IP address, user agent information, and email address to the United States Secret Service.

Dealing with Suicide

Suicide Prevention Day.jpg

Authorities advise contacting emergency services when a loved one threatens suicide. When someone shared what appeared to be a credible intent to commit suicide, we notified their local police department. The person was able to get medical help, and later let us know they were okay. If you are considering suicide, please seek out a mental health professional immediately. You can also contact emergency services; visit an emergency room or psychiatric walk-in clinic; or call a suicide prevention hotline.