Requests for
User Data

Jul 2015 – Dec 2015

Total Number of Requests

Jul 2015 – Dec 2015

Percentage of Times Information Produced

Freedom of speech is essential to the Wikimedia movement—our projects cannot flourish in an ecosystem where individuals cannot speak freely. Our users trust us to protect their identities against unlawful disclosure and we take this responsibility seriously.

However, every year, governments, individuals, and corporations ask us to disclose user data. Often, we have no nonpublic information to disclose because we collect little nonpublic information about users and retain that information for a short period of time. But when we do have data, we carefully evaluate every request before considering disclosure. If the requests do not meet our standards—if they are overly broad, unclear, or irrelevant—we will push back on behalf of our users.

If we must produce information due to a legally valid request, we will notify the affected user before we disclose, if we are legally permitted and have the means to do so. In certain cases, we may help find assistance for users to fight an invalid request.

Below, you will find more information about the requests for user data we receive.

Privacy is something that we maintain for the good of ourselves and others.

Jul – Dec 2015

Total Number of Requests 25
Informal Non-Government Requests 14
Informal Government Requests 7
Civil Subpoenas 1
Criminal Subpoenas 1
Administrative Subpoenas 0
Search Warrants 0
Court Orders 2
National Security Requests 0
Information produced 1
User Accounts Potentially Affected 54
User Accounts Actually Affected 1

Compared to other companies, we received relatively few requests*

Total requests

Requests where information was produced


Due to the inconsistent release dates across different organizations, comparison data for the period covered by this report (July 2015 - December 2015) was not available, so we are presenting the comparison data above for January 2015 - June 2015. Please also note that figures for Wikimedia include additional types of requests for user data that are not included in the other organizations' figures. See the FAQ for more details.

Requests for user data, and how we responded

Request TypeShow All

Information Produced?



By CountryShow All

Jul – Dec 2015
Government requests breakdown

Informal Government Requests Total 7
France City Judicial Police 1
Italy State Police 1
Prosecutorial Agency 1
United Kingdom Local Police 1
United States DOJ 1
Local Police 2
Criminal Subpoenas Total 1
India Local Police 1

Jul 2015 – Dec 2015

Total number of disclosures

Voluntary Disclosures

On rare occasions, we become aware of concerning statements on the Wikimedia projects, like a suicide threat or bomb threat. We take these statements seriously and assess each one individually. As appropriate, we contact the authorities to help resolve the issue.

The stories below are real. They are also meant to be illustrative of the kinds of situations that would warrant a possible voluntary disclosure of user information. Please note that these specific stories may not have occurred during the precise time frame that this transparency report covers. Some variables, such as the privacy of our users, may require our postponing the reporting of certain stories.

A Deadly Threat

The community shares threats with the Foundation when they find them. When an anonymous poster made an alleged bomb threat, we found that the edit was made from an IP address that was near the apparent threat location. As permitted by our privacy policy, we alerted local police, passing on the IP address and details we had about the threat. The police informed us they had located and arrested the person in question, who allegedly had weapons available and reportedly confessed.

Revealing Presidential Threats

On rare occasions we discover threats against public figures. This is uncommon, but something that happens on large websites. An individual had made specific, graphic threats against President Barack Obama. This is contrary to our policies, and against U.S. law. In cases of potential serious harm to a person, our privacy policy allows us to disclose relevant information. We immediately took action, reporting the user’s IP address, user agent information, and email address to the United States Secret Service.

Dealing with Suicide

Authorities advise contacting emergency services when a loved one threatens suicide. When someone shared what appeared to be a credible intent to commit suicide, we notified their local police department. The person was able to get medical help, and later let us know they were okay. If you are considering suicide, please seek out a mental health professional immediately. You can also contact emergency services; visit an emergency room or psychiatric walk-in clinic; or call a suicide prevention hotline.

Voluntary disclosures by type

Voluntary Disclosure: Pie Graph