Tag: jimmy wales

Wales prefers his Waterloo Sunsets

jimmy-walesWikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales prefers his Waterloo Sunsets to Silicon Valley claiming that  London’s cultural assets make it a better place to live.

However he said that the capital needs to have a tech community if it is ever to rival Silicon Valley.

Speaking at the launch of the Tech.London, news site, Wales said he meets people around London and they ask “when do you go back to San Francisco? assuming I’m here for a few days, but I live in London.”

“There’s always this bit of British self-deprecation about ‘oh well, things are so great in Silicon Valley’. But I can tell you, things aren’t that great in Silicon Valley. London has all these incredible advantages of a tech scene, but it’s also a place people want to live. Nobody wants to live in Silicon Valley – it’s dreadful out there.”

Wales said that London was an incredible cultural city, it’s at the crossroads of the world. In the US you have San Francisco for tech, Los Angeles for movies and Washington for politics. In London you have all these things. It’s a great place to do business.

While the London’s tech scene is “incredibly important” to the city  it must be fostered if the country is to remain on the world stage as it transitions to a knowledge based economy.

“London has a tech community but it’s a bit disparate,” he said. “Entrepreneurs feel very alone and are unsure what will happen if it doesn’t work out. Having a fantastic, vibrant community, it makes it easier, safer for people to do a startup.”

He said that it is possible to get closer to Silicon Valley culture if you do a startup and it doesn’t work out, you can get a fantastic job at Google or Facebook or somewhere.”

 

Jimmy Wales thumbs nose at Snooper's Charter

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has vowed to contravene attempts by the UK government to enforce a ‘Snooper’s Charter’ which would ask internet service providers to record each page visited by UK citizens.

In a joint committee meeting on the Draft Communications Bill Wales told MPs that he would not seek to comply with proposed rules to ensure that all data is stored by ISPs.  

Wales, who has a history of web activism involving stopping access to his site in protest at proposed SOPA legislation in the US, said that he would take measures to block attempts by ISPs to track data of Wikipedia readers.

In the committee meeting yesterday Wales said that he would not assist in the gathering of data.

“We don’t have servers in the UK,” Wales told MPs. “We would be highly disinclined to collect more data than we already do, which is very very little.”

Wales also warned that it would be “trivially easy” for sites to evade detection of its users by encrypting data.

“If we find that UK ISPs are mandated to keep track of every single page that you read at Wikipedia,” he said, “I am almost certain we immediately move to a default of encrypting all of the communications to the UK, so the local ISP would only be able to see that you are connecting to Wikipedia not what you reading.”

“It is something we would do, absolutely,” Wales insisted.

Under the proposed legislation, authorities such as GCHQ would be able to access data without a warrant to look up information on individuals.  The controversial bill has been dubbed the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ since it was put forward by Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year. 

Theresa May hands British sovereignty to Big Content

British Home Secretary  Theresa May is sacrificing the life of a young British citizen who committed no crime other than hacking off Big Content.

To be fair to May she would send anyone overseas to face a kangaroo court if the government asked her, but the case of Sheffield Hallam student Richard O’Dwyer is particularly unpleasant.

Under pressure from Hollywood, the US has started criminalising cases of piracy and using its legal system as a private police force for the studios. This unfortunately also means enforcing Big Content’s view about what is a “crime”.

A sensible home secretary would look at the charges that a British Citizen faces and question what he had done.

What O’Dwyer did was, when he was 19, open a website called tvshack.net which linked to places to watch TV and films online. In the UK this was not a crime – the movie studios complained and the CPS said it was not worth pursuing. So Big Content leaned on its tamed US cops to get an extradition on the kid so he could face the full wrath of US law.

In the US he could go to jail for a decade for doing something which is legal in the UK.

Needless to say that created a bit of stink with people who feel that May is ruining a kid’s life just to keep the US government happy.

To make matters worse, a US citizen who carried out a crime in the UK would not be extradited back to face the music. The US is better at protecting its own citizens than May.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Theresa May has told the House of Commons that she will not revisit plans to extradite to the US on copyright charges, saying her mind was already made up.

This lady is not for turning and the usual rubbish.  

May hopes that this will push her tough Margaret Thatcher style image, but the reality is that she just appears like a heartless careerist who would sell her own grandmother if she thought she could look good on the cover of the Daily Mail.

O’Dwyer’s only hope now is a court appeal.

But May might be finding that she is facing a lot of public support for O’Dwyer. Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales is arranging an army of celebrities to take her on.

He is quoted as saying May should be very clear that the case is not going to go away and new supporters are joining the campaign all the time. 

Jimmy Wales turns Jimmy Whitehall

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy “The Fish” Wales has landed in the thick of it with a Whitehall role – advising civil servants on new technologies to create an ’open source’ government.

Wales has been handed a job in the British civil service as an advisor to the government as part of a move to use the internet and other new-fangled technolgies in the workplace.

Whether we can now expect to see Jimmy ”the Fish” turning up in government departments to dish out Malcolm Tucker style grillings is yet to be seen. But we can at least hope he will flag strings of innacuracies and suspected plagiarism in upcoming whitepapers.

With the controversial NHS Bill on the way, members of the House of Lords will surely be on the look out for any cut and paste jobs or Wiki citations working their way into the final cut.

What Wales will specifically be doing is unclear so far. The Telegraph points to an advisory role, which should go some way to placating the Wikipedia boss after he was mistaken for Julian Assange by customs officers last year.

Wales’ unpaid role will centre around a democratic crowd-sourcing push by the goverment to open up policy-making to the great unwashed of Britain.  Such initiatives are laudable, and from a Coalition cost-cutting point of view, crowd sourcing policies would be lighter on the wallet than actually having to pay pension-demanding civil servants to come up with ideas.

Indeed, the government has also opened up commons debates with the opportunity for the public to start e-petitions.  So, it may only be a matter of time before ideas such as hanging everyone become central to government plans.

The web unites to fight SOPA

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is joining activist groups online to quash the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act – and he is threatening to kill the English language version of the encyclopedia in retaliation.

Wales made the announcement through Wikipedia. He said it’s a “very very big deal to do something like this, it is unprecedented for English Wikipedia”.

It wouldn’t be the first time Wikipedia protested against law makers.  As Wales proudly declared, a similar situation in Italy led to blanking the Italian language version, claiming that “the Italian Parliament backed down immediately”.

But the SOPA bill is even more contentious. Many internet companies and organisations are up in arms at measures that enforce strict and absurd laws on appeasing the Big Content industry. Its biggest critics argue that it will stifle the free nature of the internet itself.

A strike hasn’t been declared yet.  Wales referred to the threat as a “straw poll” rather than an outright promise, and it appears that Wales is attempting to arm himself with a groundswell of public opinion  ahead of a meeting at the Whitehouse.

It’s not clear if Wales would prevent access just in the US or if the whole site will take the plunge. However, he did say a “global strike of at least the English Wikipedia would put the maximum pressure on the US government”.

There have been many calls from those opposing the bill to help urge Congress members to vote against it.

Activist group Demand Progress has also called for web organisations to join to fight the bill, with 70 firms having signed up so far.  Demand Progress also backed a bid by Senator Wyden to read out the names of all those against the bill in Congress to highlight the widespread anger at SOPA.

It has called on internet users to contact Congress by visiting America Censorship.

David Segal, Director at Demand Progress highlighted the effect Wikipedia would have in opposing the bill as strongly as Jimmy Wales wants to.

 “It’s imperative for companies and sites that would be harmed by this legislation to mobilize their user bases to fight back,” Segal told TechEye. “We’ll be sending a strong statement about the unacceptability of governments’ interference with Internet freedom, and it’s the only way we can generate enough constituent contacts to beat the bill.”

Segal continued: “Wikipedia faces an existential threat if SOPA and bills like it become law. They’d have a tremendous impact if they were to go black this week.”

Wikipedia founder gets cash award for democratizing knowledge

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has been given a monetary award for developing the online user-based encyclopedia.

The Im Grueene Foundation awarded Wales the Gottlieb Duttweiler Award, which comes with 100,000 Swiss Francs ($104,000), saying that he deserved the prize for “democratising the access to knowledge,” which it said was “man’s most important resource.”

The Swiss organisation was established by Duttweiler, after which the award is named, in 1946, with the aim of providing independent research, focusing on people and not on capital, according to one of Duttweiler’s mottos.

The award is given out sporadically, the last time being to UN Secrety-General Kofi Annan in 2008. The fact that there has been a two year gap before another award has been given out suggests how highly the Foundation holds Wales and his achievements.

Wikipedia was launched in 2001, presenting an online collaborative medium for people to provide accurate information about people, products, companies, events, and anything else that others needed to know about. 

It has become one of the most used websites, despite the validity and credulity of the information contained within it being open to question at times, given the open nature of contribution. Despite these flaws it has grown to over 16 million articles, providing a database of knowledge for everyone to use.

Times paywall won't work says Wikipedia

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said The Times has “made itself irrelevant” by putting its website behind a paywall.

While speaking to Brand Republic about the launch of the London office of Wikia, Wales had a pop at the newspaper saying it wouldn’t work. He added the business model made the paper irrelevant on the web.

“I think it’s not going to last, I think they will give up,” said Wales. He said that if he was going to write something for a newspaper, he would “rather write where it is going to be read.”

However, he said he could see paywalls continuing to work for the Wall Street Journal and FT.com.

Wales continued to push the issue giving an example of when he tried to share a  Times Online link with his Twitter followers but got replies from people saying they couldn’t read it.

“The Times had made itself irrelevant. [The story] could not be tweeted and it could not be picked up by the blogs.

“No one is talking about the Times, I don’t think it will work.”

Of course it’s no secret that there is no love lost between News Corp head Rupert Murdoch and Wikipedia. In June an article on the Digger owned Fox News website alleged that a worldwide network of paedophiles was using Wikipedia to foster its own agenda.

Earlier this month, the Digger wrote a letter to himself by way of syndicated News Corp content appearing in The Wall Street Journal and The Australian, saying no one needs to worry because the Times paywall is going to be a success. We are apparently “witnessing the start of a new business model for the internet.”

Google lashes out dosh to Wikimedia

They probably weren’t expecting this, but Wikimedia has received $2 million from Google in a fit of generosity.

Jimmy Wales, who founded Wikipedia, tweeted the news to his followers yesterday.

Wikimedia is the umbrella foundation of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wiktionary.

Google is not evil. Or so it says. And Wikipedia entries are often the first result in a Google search. Wikipedia doesn’t have any advertising – but we suspect it would make a bomb if it had a bit of AdSense, so to speak. Wikimedia is here.