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2023:Program/Lightning talk showcase/7JHK7D-Age-Verification on Wikimedia Projects

From Wikimania

Title: Age-Verification on Wikimedia Projects



I am the policy guy in Brussels.

Pretalx link

Etherpad link

Room: Plenary Hall

Start time: Fri, 18 Aug 2023 17:55:00 +0800

End time: Fri, 18 Aug 2023 18:00:00 +0800

Type: No (pretalx) session type id specified

Track: No (pretalx) track id specified

Submission state: confirmed

Duration: 5 minutes

Do not record: false

Presentation language: en

Abstract & description

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Lawmakers across the globe are demanding and voting on legislation that requires age-verification for online content. Wikimedia projects have so far dodged the issue, but it is a matter of time until we have to answer some hard questions and make some decisions.


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Age-verification and age-appropriate content on Wikipedia and its sister projects has be a thorny and non-consensual issue for a long time. So far the Wikimedia Foundation has not been forced by law to introduce mandatory age-verification. This might change

Legal proposals in the UK (Online Safety Bill), France (Loi visant à instaurer une majorité numérique et à lutter contre la haine en ligne) include mandatory age-verification which would cover Wikipedia. The European Commission is in parallel working on a “Code of conduct on age-appropriate design”. It is only a matter of time until such obligations start popping up in jurisdictions across the planet.

How should the Wikimedia movement react to such proposals? What arguments do we use when talking to policy makers and the public? Could we agree to some sort of age-verificaiton system on Wikimedia projects? Is it possible to have one without collecting additional information about users?

As a movement, it is time to figure out where we want to stand on these questions.

Further details

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Qn. How does your session relate to the event themes: Diversity, Collaboration Future?

Wikimedia projects are under pressure to collect more information about their users and to protect their users from inappropriate content globally. Legal obligations globally are increasing and we see that governments are more than willing to copy each other’s playbooks.

We must find ways to respond to these pressures as a global movement and to comply, where necessary, in a way that protects our users from harm and censorship.

Qn. What is the experience level needed for the audience for your session?

Everyone can participate in this session

Qn. What is the most appropriate format for this session?

  • Tick Onsite in Singapore
  • Empty Remote online participation, livestreamed
  • Empty Remote from a satellite event
  • Empty Hybrid with some participants in Singapore and others dialing in remotely
  • Empty Pre-recorded and available on demand