Freedom of speech is essential to the Wikimedia movement—the projects cannot flourish in an ecosystem where individuals cannot speak freely. Our users trust us to protect their identities against unlawful disclosure, and we take this responsibility seriously.

 

However, every year, governments, individuals, and corporations ask us to disclose user data. Often, we have no nonpublic information to disclose because we collect little nonpublic information about users and retain that information for a short period of time. But when we do have data, we carefully evaluate every request before considering disclosure. If the requests do not meet our standards—if they are overly broad, unclear, or irrelevant—we will push back on behalf of our users.

 

If we must produce information due to a legally valid request, we will notify the affected user before we disclose, if we are legally permitted and have the means to do so. In certain cases, we may help find assistance for users to fight an invalid request.

 

Below, you will find more information about the requests for user data we receive.

 

This report covers requests we received between January and June, 2019. For historical data, please see our archived report.

25

total requests for user data (January - June 2019)

0

total requests for user data granted (January - June 2019)

Summary

January – June 2019


Request type

Total user data requests 25
Informal non-government requests 13
Informal government requests 8
Administrative subpoenas 2
Civil subpoenas 2
International court orders 2
Court orders 0
Criminal subpoenas 0
National security requests 0
Search warrants 0
Information Produced 4

 

 

Requests by country

Country Total requests Requests granted
United States 9 0
India 5 0
Australia 1 0
Brazil 1 0
France 2 0
Italy 1 0
Japan 1 0
Netherlands 1 0
United Kingdom 1 0
Unknown 3 0
Total 26 0

User accounts affected

January – June 2019


User accounts potentially affected 95,898
User accounts actually affected 0
User accounts notified 0

Type of information requested

We divide the requests we receive by the type of information requested: “content” or “non-content.”

 

Most content information on the Wikimedia projects is the public content of articles and project pages; “non-content” information refers to information such as IP addresses or user agent information. The distinction comes from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA. Please see our FAQ for more information.

 

Content requests 0%
January - June 2019
Non-content requests 100%
January - June 2019

Compared to other companies, we received relatively few requests*

Requests Granted Total %
LinkedIn 101 241 41%
Twitter 3,866 6,904 56%
Google 42,309 63,149 67%
Facebook 80,786 110,634 73%
Wikimedia 4 25 16%

* Due to the inconsistent release dates across different organizations, comparison data for the period covered by this report (January 2019–June 2019) was not available, so we are presenting the comparison data above for July 2018–December 2018. Please also note that figures for Wikimedia include additional types of requests for user data that are not included in the other organizations’ figures. See the FAQ for more details.

Government requests breakdown

Total government requests 10
January - June 2019

 

January – June 2019


Informal government requests Total 8
Brazil Federal police 1
India Cyber police 4
Italy State police 1
United States Former judicial official 1
Politicians, candidates, & political parties 1
International court orders Total 2
France Local court 2

Preservation requests

Total preservation requests 6
January - June 2019

 

Occasionally, we receive a preservation request from the U.S. government under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. A preservation request is an order to retain information that would otherwise be deleted, anonymized, or aggregated within 90 days, according to our Data Retention Guidelines. If we receive one of these requests, we are legally required to retain the specific information indicated. However, we will not turn this information over to the requesting party unless they subsequently follow our Requests for User Information Procedures & Guidelines, and obtain a legal order, such as a subpoena or warrant, for the information in question.

 

Here, we provide the number of new preservation requests we received during the period covered by this report.

Emergency disclosures

Total emergency disclosures 23
January - June 2019

 

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."

 

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.

 

Total 23
Individual violent threats 8
Suicide threats 6
Terrorist threats 8
Emergency requests 1

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