Wikipedia:Peer review/List of notable people under FVEY surveillance/archive1

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List of notable people under FVEY surveillance[edit]

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This peer review discussion has been closed.
I've listed this article for peer review and I hope that it will meet the featured list criteria, so that we can include it for an upcoming project (Wikipedia:Surveillance awareness day)

Any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks.

-A1candidate (talk) 22:45, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

  • That's a very important point indeed, thank you for your comments. I've originally included Angela Merkel and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesia's President) in the list, both of whom Snowden revealed were targeted by surveillance, but I later removed them since there was not much to illustrate their notability (other than merely being national leaders). I've put them back now since I agree that the list should include some of the more notable targets revealed by Snowden. I've also included Osama bin Laden, but I'm not sure if he meets the criteria (Person must be public figure/celebrity), as defined in the lead section. What do you think? Should he be included? As for Snowden himself, there is no doubt he is considered by the government to be a fugitive, but unfortunately, I can't find any reliable source to demonstrate that he is being actively tracked down by surveillance. I'm absolutely sure they're doing everything to get him, I just can't find any documented evidence of this. -A1candidate (talk) 15:02, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
A related barrier to FA status is the serious imbalance in citizenship - I'm guessing around 90% are US citizens. Jojalozzo 20:31, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
I've restructured it and I think I've struck a good balance between the inclusion of U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, but the list has become too short, so I'm currently working to expand it. -A1candidate (talk)
  • From the description of the FVEY program as a way to get around domestic surveillance restrictions, I think that the inclusion criteria should require that surveillance be conducted by a foreign agency and shared with the targets' home country. I don't see how surveillance of notables by their own government agencies (e.g. Einstein, Keller, Roosevelt, Hemingway, Lindberg, who I think are all US citizens and for whom only FBI surveillance is mentioned) would qualify for this list. This over-broad criteria gives the appearance of pumping up the list and suggests an anti-surveillance POV.
Even the invitation to this peer review suggests a bias against surveillance since the purpose is to get featured article status in time to participate in an anti-surveillance event.
Perhaps a column listing citizenship and a column listing surveillance agency would help sort this out.
Jojalozzo 19:53, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I've decided to restructure the list by strictly limiting the surveillance targets to those of FVEY only, so this has resulted in the removal of many domestic FBI targets. The list now appears to be quite short, so I'm currently working to expand it. What do you think of it so far? -A1candidate (talk) 00:13, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
This is making sense but the the topic is less notable since, as you say, the list is so short. This puts FA rather far off I think, but you have paradoxically brought it closer at the same time. Good work. I think it might be useful to add a comment at the start of the table to discourage editors from making the mistake of adding entries of citizens surveilled solely by their own agencies. I'd still like to see a column listing citizenship and a column listing surveillance agency. Jojalozzo 05:25, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Agree with Jojalozzo...the list is over-broad, is of questionable historicity...the broad criteria for inclusion makes the list feel rather artificial like those conspiracy theorists who think Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, and Claude Debussy ran the Priory of Sion. It seems to perpetuate a post hoc ergo propter hoc lie...claiming anyone who was under surveillance was automatically under FVEY surveillance. Einstein was watched because he was German and knew too much about physics. That was an Army intelligence decision to keep him watched and keep him away from the Manhattan project. It was not because of some global Anglophone conspiracy, and definitely not in the surveillance environment complained about recently. Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer. Hemingway was a communist. Both were watched only because J. Edgar Hoover thought them dangerous. Hoover's surveillance was not FVEY surveillance. MLK was surveilled by COINTELPRO...which was looking for potential red links to 60s radicals and civil rights leaders...largely again because of J. Edgar Hoover's personal interest, not an international conspiracy. While he was tangentially connected to mobsters and his name popped up now and then in investigations, Sinatra only really came under surveillance by Hoover because Hoover hated Kennedy and Sinatra was close to Kennedy. A lot of these are entirely questionable and random. Surprisingly, I only see two terrorists on the list (Mandela and Bin Laden....so KSM doesn't qualify for inclusion? al-Awlaki? the radical imam in London?).--ColonelHenry (talk) 20:46, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the comments. After evaluating all the points brought up in the above discussions, I've decided to restructure the list by strictly limiting the surveillance targets to those of FVEY only, so this has resulted in the removal of many domestic FBI targets. The list now appears to be quite short, so I'm currently working to expand it. What do you think of it so far? -A1candidate (talk) 00:11, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

SchroCat comments[edit]

  • I'm concerned about the inclusion criteria here and this would probably fail as being too incomplete for any real purpose. We're supposed to think that millions of dollars and pounds are spent on surveillance, using the most high- (and low-) tech equipment possible, and we've got a list of six people? I'd question using "celebrity" as a criteria: this is an encyclopaedia, not Hello magazine. Go with notable in the wiki definition of the term and there will be less resistance - and the content will match the title too.
  • This is an article about the five eyes, yet there are only agencies from three countries listed, and nothing from the other two. We do allow some incomplete lists to go through (when it's clear what the issues are), but I think we're too incomplete to get past criteria 3(a) of the FL criteria.

As to the most nuts and bolts, easily fixable stuff, the following is a top-ten rough list for you:

  1. Refs 1, 2 and 3 are probably best at the end of the sentence.
  2. No bold text needed in the opening lines
  3. Flags are not needed in the first table
  4. Images are not needed in the section table. If you're going to have them, have them as the last column - or second last if you use the idea below
  5. Think about a final column to hold the references (see List of works by E.W. Hornung for an example)
  6. Why is Chaplin English, but Lennon British?
  7. FN7: retrieved date should include a day, not just month and year
  8. FN16 has inconsistent date formatting
  9. FNs 11, 18, 21, 22, 25, 26 & 27 need dates for the reports
  10. FN23 needs sorting - spaces before commas.

- SchroCat (talk) 00:22, 21 January 2014 (UTC)


@SchroCat - I've removed "celebrity" from the criteria, so for now, as long as someone is notable enough to be a public figure, he or she could be included. The list of agencies involved has been expanded, since more notable people have now been added. Still, one should take into account the fact that much of the information contained in this list is supposed to be highly top secret stuff that are not meant for public eyes (The UKUSA Agreement itself, which the Five Eyes alliance is based upon, was not even publicly disclosed until 2010). Unless government secrecy is totally eradicated and we have more people like Edward Snowden, whose unauthorized disclosures have contributed to 50% of the names on this list, there is no way we can have a fully complete list. If there is a list that may meet the FL criteria despite being incomplete, I think this one may qualify.

Other changes:

  1. Moved refs to the back
  2. Removed bold
  3. Removed flags
  4. I've kept the images because I think they add value to the article. I understand that they probably make the list a little bit too untidy, so these images may be still be removed after all, depending if I can find a better way to display them.
  5. Column added
  6. Changed to British nationality

All references have now been fixed accordingly, as far as my untrained eye can tell, or did I miss something?

@Jojalozzo - I agree that a column listing citizenship and a column listing surveillance agency would help to make things clearer, the list has now been changed accordingly. I do feel that the table may become a little bit cluttered as a result. Perhaps we could merge the "name" and "nationality" columns into a single one. Do you know of a better way to rearrange the data?

-A1candidate (talk) 19:10, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Jojalozzo comments[edit]

  • I do not think the table is cluttered, nor do I think name and nationality should be combined. One of the advantages of table columns is they can be sorted by each column. Combining columns eliminates some of this flexibility in information presentation.
  • I do not think the photos are a problem either. Most of the screen real estate is consumed by the text in the notes column and the photos take up relatively little space while illustrating the article and adding human interest.
  • It appears that the agencies in the agencies column are listed in alphabetical order. I think the foreign agency should be listed first to enable sorting on the foreign agency rather than whatever happens to be alphabetically first. To maintain this over time, a comment would be advisable to guide editors in adding new entries.
  • Given this is a worldwide encyclopaedia, could you clarify what you mean by a "foreign" agency. - SchroCat (talk) 22:23, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
We mean "foreign" as in "not domestic". A foreign agency is any agency other than one from the surveilled person's own country. E.g. for a NZ citizen, all of the agencies of AU, CA, UK, and US would be considered foreign. Jojalozzo 02:32, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Since an unknown number of notable persons under five eyes surveillance may be missing from this list due to the secrecy of the information as of this writing, I suggest adding a comment at the end of the introduction explaining this.

Jojalozzo 22:01, 21 January 2014 (UTC)