Chilling effects of surveillance are visible on Wikipedia

Why care about privacy? …

Well, here is possibly the best example on how free societies can be insidiously chilled. With the Snowden leaks, it came to public that the NSA with its “Upstream” program was collecting information on who read what on wikipedia.

Here it is very clear the chilling effects. In other words: Because people know they are being watched they are less likely too find out information on wikipedia about sensitive topics

The following image shows just that. It’s from the scientific article Penney, J.W. (2016) Chilling Effects: Online Surveillance and Wikipedia Use. We can clearly see that after the Snowden revelations there was a significant drop in the number of wikipedia articles being read.


The Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s non-profit) has been suing the US Government and the NSA in particular for this activity. The case is still ongoing and you can read more about it here:

In conclusion, if someone ever asks you, why care about privacy, bring this up and explain that without privacy people don’t even feel free to seek out information and that, means the end of our free society!

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