The Justice Department and the FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence, officials said Tuesday. The undertaking is the largest post-conviction review ever done by the FBI. It will include cases conducted by all FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985 and may reach earlier if records are available, people familiar with the process said. Such FBI examinations have taken place in federal and local cases across the country, often in violent crimes, such as rape, murder and robbery.
On Tuesday, Wikipedia took the drastic step of replacing every Italian-language page with a statement warning that a law now under consideration by the Italian parliament could force the shutdown of the Italian edition of Wikipedia. In the English version of its statement, Wikipedia says the law includes "a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image." Wikipedia says this requirement is "an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia," and would paralyze Wikipedia's bottom-up editing process.
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is currently on trial for corruption and having sex with an underage prostitute. His government is trying to restrict publication of police wiretapping transcripts after Berlusconi was embarrassed by leaked transcripts of his own phone calls.
One of those transcripts show him expressing contempt for his country and a desire to leave it. In another, he directed a "crude insult" at German leader Angela Merkel. In a third, he boasted, of "'doing eight girls" in a night and joked that with all his sexual activity, he was only prime minister 'in [his] spare time.'"
Berlusconi's government insists the law would safeguard the privacy of all Italians.
Section 29 of the proposed legislation would force websites to post any corrections submitted to them. There's no provision for verifying the accuracy of the corrections, nor is there a process of judicial review.
Italian Wikipedia editors argue that they "have always been available to reviewand modify, if neededany content deemed to be detrimental to anyone, without harm to the project's neutrality and independence." And they argue that existing defamation law already gives adequate protections for Italians who are unfairly maligned by a website.
Italian-language articles are now available again, but a banner opposing the legislation continues to appear on the Italian Wikipedia home page. The protest statement was viewed 16 million times in the two days it was up.
Wikipedia says the Italian site is its fourth-largest, with more than over 800,000 articles and over 600,000 registered users.