Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government The Almighty Buck Wikipedia

Finnish Police Board Wants Justification For Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign 252

Posted by timothy
from the citizens-united dept.
linjaaho writes "Yesterday, the admin list of Finnish language Wikipedia received a request for comment from the National Police Board of Finland. The Police Board claims that the fundraising message appearing on the top of the Wikipedia pages is illegal fundraising and is punishable by criminal law. The Police Board asks how much money have they raised and ask for justification for the campaign. This is not the first time the Police Board has attacked fundraising; in 2012, a crowdfunded textbook Kickstarter project was delayed by a similar request for comment."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Finnish Police Board Wants Justification For Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign

Comments Filter:
  • wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CurryCamel (2265886) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @10:32AM (#46195715) Journal

    That reminds me, I should make a donation.

  • Tyranny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @10:36AM (#46195743) Homepage

    In Finland, it is illegal to plead with audience to raise funds without a special permission issued by the Police Board.

    If that is even half true, that's just tyrannical. Think about it. That means even a church in Finland doing disaster relief cannot call together a congregational meeting and ask for funds without getting a "by your leave, sire" from a bunch of police bureaucrats.

    • Re:Tyranny (Score:5, Informative)

      by pijokela (462279) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @10:44AM (#46195793)

      Well, the point is that you fill an application and get the permit to raise funds. All kinds of non-profit organizations get them all the time. If wikipedia had done that the Finnish police would be quite happy. The problem is that Wikimedia is registered in California and they obviously do not care about Finnish law and I have no idea of how the police think they can force a US organization to comply with the rules if all the servers and staff are outside Finland.

      The issue with the kickstarted texkbook was different because it was not a non-profit organisation. In Finland you need to crowdsourcing very carefully so that it is clear that you are selling a product and not raising money. Jolla did it with their phone so it can be done, but just using kickstarter as it is is illegal, because it is too much like charity for funding a regular company.

      • Well, the point is that you fill an application and get the permit to raise funds. All kinds of non-profit organizations get them all the time. If wikipedia had done that the Finnish police would be quite happy. The problem is that Wikimedia is registered in California and they obviously do not care about Finnish law and I have no idea of how the police think they can force a US organization to comply with the rules if all the servers and staff are outside Finland.

        "Forcing" may be a problem, but generally the principle is that a possibly illegal action "happens" where it takes effect, so if people in Finland read the donation requests, then the Finnish police has the right and duty to act on it.

        So worst case, the Finnish police could ask Finnish ISPs to prevent access to a website that breaks the law in Finland.

        • Re:Tyranny (Score:5, Insightful)

          by zieroh (307208) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @11:38AM (#46196207)

          "Forcing" may be a problem, but generally the principle is that a possibly illegal action "happens" where it takes effect, so if people in Finland read the donation requests, then the Finnish police has the right and duty to act on it.

          So worst case, the Finnish police could ask Finnish ISPs to prevent access to a website that breaks the law in Finland.

          NO. This is not just wrong, it's also incredibly stupid. Think about what you're saying: If every website must comply with every law in every country where the website can be seen, then we end up with a web that is the lowest common denominator of all the tyrannical laws in the world. A website in Finland does not get to dictate the terms of a website anywhere outside of Finland. Period.

          • by Reemi (142518)

            A website OUTSIDE a sovereign state does not get to dictate the laws WITHIN said state.

            Wikipedia, not any other organization has the right to do business on their terms just because they can hide themselves behind a server.

            Note, the Finnish police asked for clarification and if Wikipedia answers it will not accept payments from Finnish citizens then there is no problem. If they want to receive payments from them, they will have to follow the Finnish laws. Period.

            • "Hide behind a server"? Wikimedia is a US-based non-profit. By the nature of the web, people in Finland can read this site (you know, what we tend to call the good thing about the Internet). Nobody is hiding behind anything.

            • by zieroh (307208)

              A website OUTSIDE a sovereign state does not get to dictate the laws WITHIN said state. Wikipedia, not any other organization has the right to do business on their terms just because they can hide themselves behind a server.

              Nope. You are badly mistaken. Wikipedia isn't "doing business" in Finland. They are running a website that happens to be viewable in Finland. If the Finnish government wants to censor that website (i.e. by blocking at the ISP level) that's their prerogative. But then they'd just be engaging in censorship for no good reason.

              • censorship for no good reason.

                You must not be a Finn. Tax Evasion and Doing Things Without The Proper Permits are very serious offenses in all the Nordic countries. That shit may fly in Somalia, Wiki, but not here.

                • by Mashiki (184564)

                  See in North America, we have this premise that "whatever is not spelled out in law is permitted." In turn, permits for things like this are so stupid, that it borders on the line of assine. And why do you ask? Because government generally believes through the will of the people that they're grown-up enough to make proper choices on their own.

                  And if Canada, Japan, S.Korea and the US are "somalia" then the Nordic countries are a very small step away from Stalinist Russia.

              • by Reemi (142518)

                Wiki is doing business in Finland, they provide information services to Finnish citizens by providing access to their website.

                It is irrelevant if the Finns pay for it or not (payment can be made in different ways, money, bit-coins, advertisement, information gathering etc). Furthermore, being a non-profit organization doesn't mean you are not doing business.

                Don't get me wrong, I think Wikipedia should be allowed to collect money in Finland but only within the Finnish law.

                • by metrix007 (200091)

                  It doesn't matter if they are doing business in Finland unless they have an offfice or HQ in Finland.

                  Serving a Finish language site doesn't equate to doing business in Finland.

            • by mysidia (191772)

              Wikipedia, not any other organization has the right to do business on their terms just because they can hide themselves behind a server.

              Wikipedia DO have a right to do business, and Finland has no control of Wikipedia's ability to solicit funds, or to accept payments from people in Finland. Finland can only interfere with this business by passing a law forbidding Finlands from visiting Wikipedia's website to do business.

            • by BitterOak (537666)

              Note, the Finnish police asked for clarification and if Wikipedia answers it will not accept payments from Finnish citizens then there is no problem. If they want to receive payments from them, they will have to follow the Finnish laws. Period.

              How is Wikipedia supposed to determine where the payments came from? If people donate using PayPal, is their home address always given? Is there anything to stop Finnish people from opening US PayPal accounts?

          • NO. This is not just wrong, it's also incredibly stupid. Think about what you're saying: If every website must comply with every law in every country where the website can be seen, then we end up with a web that is the lowest common denominator of all the tyrannical laws in the world. A website in Finland does not get to dictate the terms of a website anywhere outside of Finland. Period.

            Exactly. Take it to a conclusion to make your argument crystal clear; a website based in country A that is full of images that meet the definition of child pornography in Country B CANNOT be censored by Country B, which has no right to "dictate the terms of a website anywhere outside of (Country B)". Keep in mind, you responded to a post that suggested Finnish authorities (Country B) can respond by ASKING ISP's to block the site in Finland.

            Does that help? Are you ready to back down on your absolutist po

            • by zieroh (307208)

              Keep in mind, you responded to a post that suggested Finnish authorities (Country B) can respond by ASKING ISP's to block the site in Finland.

              If you'll read carefully, you'll see this tidbit in the post I was responding to:

              "Forcing" may be a problem, but generally the principle is that a possibly illegal action "happens" where it takes effect, so if people in Finland read the donation requests, then the Finnish police has the right and duty to act on it.

              Does that help? Are you ready to back down on your absolutist position?

              Nope.

          • by mysidia (191772)

            A website in Finland does not get to dictate the terms of a website anywhere outside of Finland. Period.

            However, ISPs operating in Finland do not have the same luxury ---- it is possible that the government will pass a law requiring them to interfere with foreign ISPs not judged to be operating to the satisfaction of the local authorities.

          • by westlake (615356)

            NO. This is not just wrong, it's also incredibly stupid. Think about what you're saying: If every website must comply with every law in every country where the website can be seen....

            We are talking about a charitable solicitation in the Finnish language for contributions to support the Finnish-language Wikipedia.

            It doesn't surprise me that the government of Finland would expect to have a say in that. There are about five million Finnish speakers, almost all resident in Finland. Finland must certainly does have the authority to block payments made through bank accounts, credit cards, etc., in Finland.

          • by paavo512 (2866903)

            If every website must comply with every law in every country where the website can be seen [...]

            Wikipedia donation requests are very targeted. I saw the donation request while browsing in my corporate VPN (the gateway to internet happens to reside in GB) and wanted to donate some money, but the system did not allow me to enter a credit card address outside of GB, so I gave up. When browsing at home, I have never seen a donation request, probably they think there would be no point in putting one up for my country.

      • They ohappens y won't be easily able to go after Wikimedia Foundation itself, but they might be able to go after volunteers who live in Finland. I think particularly vulnerable would be the person who translated the fundraising notice to Finnish, if he happens to live in Finland.

        Not that I really expect this to lead to much. I think it's entirely plausible that even if he got charged and found guilty, the court would decide to not punish him (and quite certainly he wouldn't get more than a small fine in the

      • by westlake (615356)

        I have no idea of how the police think they can force a US organization to comply with the rules if all the servers and staff are outside Finland.

        If you are actively soliciting funds from Finland, I am betting that you have to comply with Finnish export controls, laws governing international banking, commercial paper, charitable solicitation and so on. The Finnish bank will refuse payment.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        no idea of how the police think they can force a US organization to comply with the rules if all the servers and staff are outside Finland.

        I would hesitate on that.... there are a lot of international deals between countries. The US has capital controls on US citizens passed in 2010, that the government wants Finnish banks to enforce against American, to prevent us from opening foreign accounts ---- therefore, it is not hard to see the US enforcing Finland's controls.

      • by jopsen (885607)

        The problem is that Wikimedia is registered in California and they obviously do not care about Finnish law and I have no idea of how the police think they can force a US organization to comply with the rules if all the servers and staff are outside Finland.

        Just because they are located else where doesn't mean they are not subject to the regulation. They can still be subject to the regulation, even if the Finish policy can't enforce it.

        However, the payment processing probably goes through an entity located in the EU, I'm sure paypal and friend have subsidiaries in the EU. And these subsidiaries can be targeted and court ordered to block payments. I'm no lawyer, but I believe you can now be sued by any court within the EU, so policy might have options here.

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        Because you want to discourage charitable fundraising unless the state APPROVES of it? This is pretty goofy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anssi55 (729722) *

      It is true.

      Actually, AFAIK (and according to googling) churches in Finland can't even get the permit as they don't satisfy the "yleishyödyllisyys" (general benefit for society) requirement to get the permit. They co-operate with separate associations/foundations exist for that purpose, though, e.g. Finn Church Aid [kirkonulkomaanapu.fi].

      There is a change to the law being planned that would allow churches and universities to conduct fundraisers, but no big overhaul that would actually be needed for the out-of-date law...

      Unoff [finlex.fi]

      • by gerddie (173963)

        >Actually, [...] churches [...] don't satisfy the "yleishyödyllisyys" (general benefit for society) requirement [...]

        A keen observation.

      • churches in Finland can't even get the permit as they don't satisfy the "yleishyödyllisyys" (general benefit for society) requirement

        I no longer feel sorry for people who have to learn English.

    • If that is even half true, that's just tyrannical. Think about it. That means even a church in Finland doing disaster relief cannot call together a congregational meeting and ask for funds without getting a "by your leave, sire" from a bunch of police bureaucrats.

      I don't think so. Regulated fund-raising might not be such a bad thing. Certainly it'd reduce fraud if folks had to demonstrate a legitimate need accountability structure.

      On an unrelated note, since I don't live in Finland I was wondering if you'd like to donate to my cause? It's called:

      Prevent Children From Getting Sick, Ever BBMAH*
      Insert a bunch of statistics here about how kids get sick all the time, from all sorts of preventable causes. Seriously, a big wall of text going on and on about the

    • by Reemi (142518)

      It also means that when I donate money it is on record what the purpose of the donation is and who is receiving the funds. This could very well protect the Finns from fund-raising scams.

      Calling it a tyranny without considering the other side of the story nor knowing on how hard it is to receive such permit is.... (I'm just lacking the words for it.)

      • by zieroh (307208)

        It's tyranny when petty bureaucrats in one country attempt to force their laws on the rest of the world.

      • Calling it a tyranny without considering the other side of the story nor knowing on how hard it is to receive such permit is.

        No. Tyranny is more about the means than it is about the end goal (and a lot of tyrannies got started in the pursuit of lofty goals). Protecting Finns from fundraising scams is a worthy goal, but how you implement that protection makes all the difference. Going after actual scamsters and warning people through public service messages is a lot less tyrannical than censoring websites or requiring permits for fundraisers.

    • by jopsen (885607)

      In Finland, it is illegal to plead with audience to raise funds without a special permission issued by the Police Board.

      If that is even half true, that's just tyrannical...

      How so?
      I'm sure it is fairly easy to get a permit, it's probably just a standard form you fill out and file... I imagin prevents a lot of scam artists, honestly, that's good.. Obviously, wikipedia isn't being attacked or targeted, the police is just asking for compliance with local law by filling out a form.
      Oh, and I suspect that most non-profits in Finland have a standing permit to raise funds...
      In many countries it also illegal for poor people to beg for money on the street, not unreasonable in countr

    • by mysidia (191772)

      That means even a church in Finland doing disaster relief cannot call together a congregational meeting and ask for funds without getting a "by your leave, sire" from a bunch of police bureaucrats.

      CORRECT. This is a way to help prevent private association that the government does not approve of. You can congregate; HOWEVER, if you want to pool some money for any real action, then the government has to approve of what you want to accomplish strongly enough to issue you a permit.

      If they decide in the

    • by ultranova (717540)

      If that is even half true, that's just tyrannical.

      The English translation of the law is here [finlex.fi], and is a whopping 12 pages of sparse text, so no need to keep guessing.

      But why didn't the summary just link to it in the first place?

      That means even a church in Finland doing disaster relief cannot call together a congregational meeting and ask for funds without getting a "by your leave, sire" from a bunch of police bureaucrats.

      That seems to be beyond the scope of the law according to Section 2. Also, the possibl

  • by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Saturday February 08, 2014 @10:36AM (#46195749) Homepage Journal
    ...from Start to Finnish.
  • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @10:42AM (#46195779)
    People, shut the fuck up already. I hate the beta as much as the next guy, but we have seen enough of these "fuck beta" comments at this point. They do not change the situation right now in any meaningful way. You just make yourself look like an obsessed clown.
    • by richlv (778496)

      then they will think that it is all ok, people stopped complaining.
      i opened /. from my phone in the airport today. i closed it immediately, as i got the "beta". it a fucking joke and incredibly crappy.

      fuck beta. i will not visit slashdot next week. let's see what happens afterwards

    • I am almost tempted to option out of classic view just to see what the fuss is about; But not quite enough.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Good luck with that. I tried it too, and got modded down ( too ). The children now run the asylum.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        I suppose the millions of people who protested and fought for change throughout history were all acting like spoiled children too. Sure comparing the beta protest to major protests or even wars is exaggerated but in the end its about people fighting for what they perceive as important. Since 1999 when I started reading /. I have learned so much. And a good percentage has come from reading comments that are moderated by the community. And the community is you and me, not some paid shill or robot. /. is impor

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          if you really think you can compare the childish crap that is is being done here to legitimate protest *at all*, you really need to get out of your mothers basement more.

    • I see you don't believe in protests. Why do you hate civil rights?

  • Whether you think fundraising should be unfettered (what? even for Al Queda? or in times gone past: the IRA?) or controlled, if the Finns have a law, then it's up to people in Finland - Finnish or not - to abide by it. Complaining that you don't think it should apply to you, or your cause, because it's special makes no sense: to every fundraiser: legal, illegal, moral, immoral, commercial, charitable, fraudulent or honest - their cause is "special" otherwise they wouldn't do it.
    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      The question is who is running the fundraising. It's Wikipedia US that runs the fundraising, all the Finns did was translate the message.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      PIRA I think you mean (you know the Marxist hard left ones) and shush there are American politicians who woudl be embarrassed :-)
    • by pla (258480)
      if the Finns have a law, then it's up to people in Finland - Finnish or not - to abide by it.

      Which has what, exactly, to do with Wikipedia, a purely American company that hosts everything including the Finnish site) in CA?

      If, as an American, I write a webpage in Russian condemning Putin and the Russian orthodox church, should I expect the "we don't call them KGB anymore" to swing by and throw me in a glass cage? If I draw a cartoon of Mohammed molesting little girls, should I expect Ali Khamenei to c
      • If, as an American, I write a webpage in Russian condemning Putin and the Russian orthodox church, should I expect the "we don't call them KGB anymore" to swing by and throw me in a glass cage?

        That's a maybe... If you rat them out, you should expect a slow painful death from radiation served through sushi.

        If I draw a cartoon of Mohammed molesting little girls, should I expect Ali Khamenei to call down a Jihad on my ass?

        Yes! You should expect this :)
        Kurt Westergaard who publicly owned up to one of the Mohammed drawing is still living under protection by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service.

        If I give a Nazi salute in public, with Merkel get her panties in a bunch?

        No, she doesn't care... But she might want you to stop spying on her! Now, let me ask you some questions:

        If in Denmark I buy Cuban cigars from Germany, should I expect US security service to confiscate my money?

  • Did the summary just link to a PDF file... in Finnish? It wasn't enough that the same file was already linked from the mail article, but was judged useful enough to link from the summary? Really?

    The trick to good linking is to avoid overlinking, to avoid confusing the reader. This summary fails.

  • by hydrofix (1253498) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @11:15AM (#46196039)
    As a Finnish taxpayer I am utterly frustrated by this. It seems like the work of an overly-enthusiastic police official. The Wikipedia fundraiser makes it very explicit that the funds are being collected by a non-profit organization incorporated in California, and subject only to their local laws. Although the fundraiser would be illegal in Finland as-is (Finnish law requires applying for a fundraising permit to discourage fraud), the police and the courts in Finland clearly lack jurisdiction against a U.S. non-profit. The police resources, which they claim to be very scarce due to recent cuts in public sector spending, would be much better spend investigating actual fraud and other crime, where the police and the courts actually have jurisdiction and means to prevent and stop the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • You have to have *permission* to ask for help?? And you all thought the US was draconian..

  • by PPH (736903)

    I Am Not A Finnish Lawyer, but doesn't some court have to produce a warrant to collect such information? What's a 'police board'?

  • Dear Finnish police board,

    Jurisdiction, you goddamn scandinavian hillbillies.

    Sincerely,

    Jimmy Wales.

    • by akozakie (633875)

      Please note that the request was directed only to the Finnish Wikipedia admin list. That's a nice touch - they did not (so far) go after the entire campaign. Since the Finnish language is quite local (unlike English or Spanish), the request on that site is rightly presumed to be aimed specifically at Finnish users.

      In my opinion, this is an error on the Wikipedia's side. An action like this should be properly organized. Admins of local language versions should be involved early and they should verify how to

How many Bavarian Illuminati does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Three: one to screw it in, and one to confuse the issue.

Working...