NB Referata Wiki:Privacy policy

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This wiki practices responsible communication and responsible journalism. It accordingly follows certain basic principles regarding public issue and other discourse. THIS DRAFT PRIVACY POLICY' HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE PUBLISHER OR WEB HOST. IT IS POSTED ONLY FOR PURPOSES OF FEEDBACK, DISCUSSION AND IMPROVING IT.

  1. NB Referata may be indexed at any time by a search engine. The search engine, not us, has published it, in the sense of the word "published" as it is defined in law in Canada. The most commonly used search engines and indices are in California (Google, Yahoo) and in Washington State (Microsoft) and Florida (Wikipedia) and their laws will apply, not those of New Brunswick. Only those pages marked published in NB (a category) are officially acknowledged by NB Referata as published as finished pieces.
  2. Canada, and New Brunswick, have specific privacy laws which NB Referata obeys. These forbid the arbitrary release of possibly-identifying data without a legitimate reason and legal rationale. Under these laws the only obvious circumstances under which such information would be revealed are:
    1. Clear, specific and imminent threats of violent physical harm against someone specific ("you will die", "I'll kill you") or framing of facts in such a way as to unambiguously suggest that this is the intent. Noxious comments that may be read as to imply this ("I will give your kids' route home from school to every pedophile and suspected child molestor in Moncton") will be instantly removed from plain user sight when discovered and are grounds to invoke the BLOWBACK POLICY or cooperate with any court order. This applies also to bomb threats and 'terrorist' threats.
    2. A specific accusation against a person that they have violated a specific criminal law and are accordingly subject to prosecution as a criminal: "You are a perjuror" or "Shawn Graham exposed his penis to a teenage girl". Accusations that someone *may* be a perjoror or that Graham merely *offered* to expose it, are simply not claims to know of a specific actual crime, and accordingly not subject to disclosure under the criminal law. If Shawn wants to know who says he made this offer, he has to sue and get a court order to find out who said that, if anyone did. Did anyone say that? It is a civil matter since making such an offer is not a crime. Well not if she looks 16.
    3. Child pornography or other inherently illegal material which cannot be distributed without committing a crime. This must not only be removed but sometimes also reported. Note that links to same do not qualify, though the links will be removed and the links themselves possibly reported if the material appears to be evidential.
    4. False statements of fact which are repeated without change or qualification or framing after they are repeatedly proven false. While there is no specific law that requires disclosure of identifying information, and speculation of identity need not be involved (see below), it is obviously in the public interest to share data about a systematic spreading of false statements of fact. NB Referata will do so with other large public wikis (Wikipedia, Sourcewatch, openpolitics.ca, policywiki.theglobeandmail.com, Dkosopedia, and so on) to reduce systematic abuse of the Internet and especially wiki technology. Note that uncommon opinions or unseemly inferences do not count at all, a claim of fact must be extremely specific to be the subject of any co-operation of NB Referata with any peer wiki whatsoever.
  3. Anyone, whether resident in NB or not, is entitled to openly discuss a genuine public issue without fear of intimidation or harassment, period. This right is guaranteed by the ICCPR, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Commonwealth common law in most jurisdictions (all except English Canada and the UK itself have passed an explicit exemption into law for all public issue discourse regardless of its tone). ##The Supreme Court of Canada has recently asserted strongly the rights to opinion and arbitrary inference (meaning you can hint at whatever you want but it's what you actually claim is specific and true that counts in court) and defined responsible communication and journalist privelege limits notably for anonymous sources.
    1. New Brunswick however has no anti-SLAPP law nor such a specific exemption, meaning that all public issue discourse is in theory subject to harassment lawsuits, abusive demands to identify participants when nothing they have said has been found actually libellous or criminal, and so on. This sad situation requires pre-emptive policies that strongly discourage both harassment via falsehoods or via the courts.
      1. The first and most important defense against harassment is the fact that anyone can edit almost any page in this wiki. Use that ability if you see things you think are unjustifiable, know to be false, or believe are motivated by unstated conflict of interest or some other hidden agenda. If all users are regularly reviewing and editing all pages, and helping others who disagree with them to do so, it becomes extremely difficult to claim that the wiki is being regularly abused. This practice puts the focus rightfully on what's currently stated to the public, not the old versions in page version history or debates on talk pages. An upcoming Supreme Court of Canada case, Crookes v. Newton, will likely clarify what is and is not published in Canada. For now you must consider all pages that have been visible for more than a few days or been explicitly linked to by a search engine to be potentially "publishable" or already published, and do your best to keep them current. Users of this wiki are obligated to tell other users that they can and should edit pages they believe are wrong, provide references and learn page format conventions including putting actual quotes around quotes from real confirmed sources. If you do this often the odds of a privacy breach are very much reduced.
      2. The second most important policy is neither confirm nor speculate on identify of anonymous sources. If people contribute to this wiki and choose to leave only an IP address (that is they contribute as an "IP user"), that means that they are not open to discussing the content with anyone else and instead invite them to change it or moderate it. Their contributions need not be treated with any particular respect if there is any doubt about them, they have deliberately left it up to all the other users what to do with them. They are accordingly anonymous sources in the sense of journalism, and those that edit their contributions are reporters or editors. Users are not allowed to speculate or discuss or confirm identities of such users, even in private. Doing so is grounds to deny you further access to this wiki as such speculation degrades the ability to provide anonymity to all sources.
      3. The third most important policy is in case of an actual formal complaint, to refer to the above two policies and strongly encourage the complainant to edit the page and not to engage in speculation, accusation, public analysis of notoriously unreliable IP address data, nor any libel chill or actual lawsuit. Users who resort to any such actions when they have not attempted to edit pages or actually address the content at issue are considered hostile to the overall goals of this wiki and will be named as such. Users who do so anonymously are simply denying a right to others that they are claiming themselves, and this will be reliably removed from users' sight. If you have a complaint, leave it on the user talk page of administrator User:nbreferata by editing user_talk:nbreferata or email administrator. You may be assured that your confidentiality will be respected in any such complaint.
      4. Fourth, response to actual legal communications that reference even the possibility of a lawsuit will follow an extremely predictable protocol or process, as follows:
        1. The actual complaint will be made visible to all users immediately on talk pages or otherwise. They will be invited to respond, gather evidence, and republish it to the entire world. Wikileaks.org will be the preferred and recommended venue for a major public issue, Sourcewatch.org and openpolitics.ca for those that are of less obvious significance. Links to verifiable sources would be strongly preferred. Be warned: Evidence of damaging claims is very often itself damaging and litigious complainants usually find that drawing attention to them is also quite damaging. Most competent libel attorneys do not advise filing actual lawsuits at all but avoiding them because of the scorched earth effect of bringing all evidence of a poor reputation, corruption, rumour or belief of same to light. Its a bad plan.
        2. False statement of fact will be addressed with counter-evidence and/or removed from ordinary user sight. Page version history will not usually be altered unless it seems to violate criminal law to maintain that history. A correct page history is everyone's best defense. The history is useless as legal records unless its sacrosanct and there is simply no way to assure accuracy and protection of other users' privacy if these records are altered for any reason, including permanent page deletions that destroy the evidence itself. Unclear statements will be made specific or removed if unverifiable. You may request a moderator do this for you, but you will have to be extremely specific about exactly what wording you find offensive or unclear and exactly what you propose to replace it with. If a moderator is forced by your complaint to modify any text, you indemnify that moderator against any claim that the continued visibility of older comments in page history or the current page is damaging to you, and you may not name that moderator as an author or as a commentator in a lawsuit. If you do, you are subject to the BLOWBACK POLICY as listed below.
        3. The US law has been stable since 1964 (NY Times vs. Sullivan) and requires proof of malice, proof of actual damages, specificity to the plaintiff as a person (no accusation against a group can be used by a member of that group as a pretext to sue), and since public issue discourse cannot satisfy any of these conditions, it must not be a public issue under debate. Proof of all of this will be requested before any information would be provided without a court order. The position of NB Referata and its users is that the US law is correct, sufficient, stable and that Canadian law is strongly tending in its direction. The ICCPR, further, states that reputation of persons (not corporations) cannot be subject of 'arbitrary' or 'unlawful' (meaning criminal) abuse, but neither word could apply to a civil dispute on public issues where the subject or motives or interests discussed are public business. These will be the positions of NB Referata and its attorneys in any court proceeding, revealing any information about logged-in users will occur only after these rights have been weighed by a court and the balance of public interest found to favour revealing it.
  4. BLOWBACK POLICY': For those who engage in overly contradictory claims or who falsify evidence or perjure themselves in a court, or harass broad groups of people or all those of a particular view or opinion or political or ethical group or affinity, the lack of a formal anti-SLAPP law in NB necessitates citizen vigilante action to discourage anyone from abusing bad laws and defying ICCPR and other human rights. Nothing in the following should be understood to mean that human rights of plaintiffs or persons threatening lawsuits or demanding information are suspended or irrelevant, but where they themselves force people incapable of responding in a court process into a position of choosing silent compliance or noisy public spreading of uncomfortable or unwelcome opinion or inference, NB Referata very strongly endorses the latter in the absence of an anti-SLAPP law which is mandatory to meet ICCPR standards of free political expression. This must and will be guaranteed regardless of a local law or power structure: Participation from foreign or technologically sophisticated activists will be invited, most of which will be unidentifiable and beyond all reach of New Brunswick civil or criminal courts. Accordingly we take no responsibility for the consequences, civil or criminal, of invoking the BLOWBACK POLICY on persons and corporations who systematically violate the ICCPR or seek to expose their public issue opponents using abusive unreformed laws. The specifics of the policy are as follows:
    1. All public remour, speculation and accusation regarding your corporation or your person (if you have used your corporation as a vehicle to file suits or make claims) is considered relevant. Editors and users of NB Referata, either in this wiki or otherwise, will consider all your motives to be legitimate public debate. You may respond but moderators will be warned explicitly against helping you at all if you have previously attempted to accuse or impose liability on moderators for doing so. This is the only exception to the standing policy of helping all users engage in an equal-power discourse with each other to get to the truth on any given page.
      1. In the worst case, your privacy and confidentiality become subject to whatever technology and activist motives allow to be discovered and republished on any web or P2P forum whatsoever anywhere in the world. This is not our fault nor problem, we simply provide the evidence of falsification, contradiction, perjury or otherwise, and the existing networks of hacktivists do the rest. Political libel lawsuits are simply not tolerated worldwide, and using absurd local laws and procedures to harass opponents won't be either. The public has an interest in shutting you down permanently so that no business assets of yours can ever be used again to expose dissidents or debaters. You will have given the public an interest in breaking your facade and your bank account. And believe us, they can, and they will, and they have.
      2. More likely, all your opponents and critics and competitors unite into untraceable nameless masses of anonymous commentary, turning you into a whining public example of why not to threaten lawsuits against wikis, anonymous citizen journalists, or trolls. As the vast majority of these people have no money anyway, your success at invading their privacy would not yield a financial reward. No court precedents in the US or UK or Canada suggest that online users can generate liability for big companies such as blog hosts (Google, Yahoo), and only Wayne Crookes has ever tried to impose same on a wide range of hosts of public issue discourse. You would be wise to look into his reputation and business and personal life to see what may happen to yourself.
    2. You lose the ability to edit pages or have others edit them on your behalf. If necessary a restraining order will be sought to explicitly prevent you from doing so, in order to prevent you from editing pages to insult yourself and then suing us for it. NB Referata will be forced to assume that you have actually done this, if there is any evidence of perjury, contradictory claims, falsification of evidence, or any other sign that you are engaged in an integrity-free exercise to invent some liability and impose it on your critics. Speculation that you have done this will be allowed and is the only exception to the standing policy of refusing to allow speculation on identity of anonymous sources.