FBI vs Wikipedia – Is it another conspiracy theory?

First a one line introduction to both the FBI and the Wikipedia, just in case a reader is not able to link it. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency. Wikipedia is a multiple language supported web-based, free-content knowledge management portal based on an openly-editable user supported platform. Over the years, Wikipedia has become a reliable source of information on almost any available topic.

In recent times, there has been a clash between the FBI and the Wikipedia management, on the usage of the logo/seal of the former, in its knowledge distribution page on the same. In a letter sent to Wikipedia’s San Francisco office, the FBI said that “unauthorized reproduction of the FBI Seal was prohibited by US law”, as reported by BBC.

What intrigues me is what could FBI possibly have to gain or prove by stopping the usage of the FBI seal in the site where the latter can only be condemned of trying to spread knowledge about the former organization in a much controlled and structured way. I could have still understood had FBI raised a case of misrepresentation of its duties/activities but no such case has been registered publicly. Interestingly, the same FBI logo has been used in multiple other websites without the consent of FBI, but till date, no website has been sued for the same, unless the logo was used with an harmful intent or misrepresented the intelligence organization.

This very aspect incites me to think that there is probably some bigger agenda that is not surfacing. Has Wikipedia, inadvertently started sharing information which could compromise national security or peace? Or has Wikipedia knowingly not agreed to remove information which may cause the same, citing information protection laws for the same.

In such a case, while bringing the subject to lime-light would be certainly dangerous, this may be a strategy to attack the knowledge dissemination website, diverting public focus on some other agenda, and at the same time, make the organization accede to the requests of the FBI. While it is also possible that FBI is actually doing what it is claiming in their letter, but my mind is at unrest to accept that.

We may never know what may be the reason for such an action. What do you think?

Disclaimer: By the way, this is entirely a personal view, and no way am I making any claims on the topic, which may be sensitive to certain people.
Nor do I have any intentions to propagate a conspiracy theory.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency.
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Author: Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.