People should share information about the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill if they want to oppose it, says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales

Mr Wales has previously called the law 'stupid' and called on Apple to stop selling iPhones if it goes ahead

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Wednesday 13 January 2016 17:57
Jimmy Wales Peoples Operator

The British public should share information about the country’s new spying laws to try and stop them, the founder of Wikipedia has said.

People should be aware of the changes that are proposed and try and help others understand them if they wish to oppose them, Jimmy Wales told The Independent. The Wikipedia founder previously said publicly that the law is "stupid", and suggested that Apple should stop selling iPhones in the UK if the controversial bill goes ahead.

The Investigatory Powers Bill forces internet companies to keep information on their users for a year, as well as giving sweeping new powers to spies. Many technology companies and other experts have opposed the bill, largely on the basis that it appears to ask them to weaken security so that they can be more easily hacked.

Politicians may not understand the importance and meaning of the bill, said Mr Wales, who was discussing his new mobile phone venture the People’s Operator. “You think, ‘Oh, why are you lying?’”, he said, but it may be that politicians simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

That means that sharing that information could have its own political importance, he said. Pointing to issues like Obamacare in the US, Mr Wales pointed out that much of the media presents opinions about the bill — but that online sites like his own Wikipedia outlines the issues that are at stake.

Giving that information to people will help people make up their mind on issues, he said.

The political importance of sites like Wikipedia is often the reason that they appear to be censored, he claimed.

“We just dryly recount the facts,” he said. “And that can be very upsetting if a government is basing their policy on things that are not facts. That’s a source of political conflict.”

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