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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trying to get their name cleared back from Wiki

Modern technology and its global reach can create a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas, especially in the cases when the policies of 2 different countries combine while the same site is available in both countries.
In this case, 2 people were convicted of a murder in Germany in 1990, and they served their time. Under German law, after serving their time, they are entitled to prevent their name from re-appearing with respect to the crime once they have served their time, while the American First Amendment ensures that the right to free speech is protected. As a result, the German language version of Wikipedia has already removed their names, but the quest is to remove the information from the English language versions (link to article):

The legal fight pits German privacy law against the American First Amendment. German courts allow the suppression of a criminal's name in news accounts once he has paid his debt to society, noted Alexander Stopp, lawyer for the two men, now out of prison. "They should be able to lead a life without being publicly stigmatized" for their crime, Stopp said. "A criminal has a right to privacy, too, and a right to be left alone."
Now Stopp, in suits in German courts, is demanding that the Wikimedia Foundation, the American organization that runs Wikipedia, do the same with the English-language version of the article. That has free-speech advocates quoting George Orwell.

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