French agents at the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI), apparently turning their attention to Wikipedia for the first time in years, demanded last month that the Wikimedia Foundation delete an entry about a military radio relay station written in 2009.
When Wikimedia refused, the DCRI approached a French man with administrative editing rights on Wikipedia about taking down the page. The man told them that he had no involvement with the page’s creation or hosting. And that his mother told him not to talk to strangers.
Wikimedia released a statement today saying it is confused about the DCRI’s desperate actions given that all of the information on the page seems to be readily available through other internet sources. There is even a video of the chief of the radio relay station, station hertzienne militaire de Pierre sur Haute, giving an interview about the station’s functions and taking a reporter on a tour of the facilities. In a statement, Wikimedia wrote that, “without further information, we could not understand why the DCRI believes information in the article is classified.”
We requested more information from the DCRI, such as which specific sentences or sections they believed to contain classified information. Unfortunately, the DCRI refused to provide any more specific detail and reaffirmed their demand that the entire article be deleted. Therefore, the Foundation was forced to refuse their request pending receipt of more information that we could use to fully evaluate their claim.
With word of the incident spreading, the military station’s Wikipedia page has gone from receiving two or three views a day to thousands. Focus up, people: when trying to keep state secrets secret don’t call attention to them by having a temper tantrum on the internet. Everyone understand? OK, good hustle. [Wikimedia via Boing Boing]