This week, lawmakers in Italy are debating a controversial new bill that could have disastrous implications for Wikipedia. Yesterday, the encyclopedia posted a lengthy letter on its Italian portal, informing visitors that the site may be shuttered within the country if parliament passes the proposed DDL Intercettazioni, or "Wiretapping Law." If ratified, the legislation would require all online publishers to amend any content considered objectionable or defamatory within 48 hours of receiving a complaint. Offenders would face a fine of €12,000 (about $16,000), and any requested corrections would not be subject to review. Of course, this presents obvious problems for the crowdsourced (and crowd-edited) Wikipedia, which characterized the law as "an unacceptable restriction of [its] freedom and independence." The site took particular umbrage at the bill's apparent disregard for third-party review, pointing out that the "opinion of the person allegedly injured is all that is required" to force a re-write, "regardless of the truthfulness of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources." At the moment, the portal is still up, but masked by Wikipedia's letter. If the Wiretapping Law progresses further, however, the organization says it will have no choice but to delete its Italian platform altogether.

[Image courtesy of Toutlecine]