We've been discussing changing our privacy rules for a long time.
We've now made a decision and are starting the process of implementing an important change.
The new rule: Profiles of people who were born over 150 years ago or who died over 100 years ago must be Open.
As of today, that applies to profiles of people born before 14 April 1867 or who died before 14 April 1917.
Until now the rule was that profiles of people born over 200 years ago must be Open. We aren't changing any other privacy rules. See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Privacy
Here are some notes on how we will be implementing the change.
Right now help pages and explanations are being updated, and we're changing profiles' Privacy pages and the bulk Privacy Changes tool so that they can't be used to change the privacy level of a 150+ profile to anything but Open. (The tools won't require changing any profile's privacy level. This is just to prevent changing them from Open to something else.)
Next we will update the code that sets the default privacy level for new profiles.
Soon we will make it so that any time a 150/100+ profile is edited it will be changed to Open if it isn't already. The member will see an alert stating this.
A little later we will change all existing 150/100+ profiles that are currently Public to Open. This won't require special communication with Profile Managers because it's a policy change, not a privacy change. No information that is currently private will become public.
The hardest part will be addressing existing 150/100+ profiles that are currently Private. We will wait before addressing these so that Profile Managers have plenty of time to do it themselves.
The team can't just Open these profiles because there's a chance that there is something private in a biography, memory, or photo. This might seem unlikely, but it's not. For example, a 75+ year old living person could easily appear as a child in a photo of a great-grandparent who was 75+ at the time, and not want this photo public.
If there's a chance that private information would be exposed by making a profile Open, the team will attempt to work with the Profile Manager to delete it before the privacy level is changed. In some cases, we'll end up having to completely delete photos and profiles, despite the damage that deletion does and the risk of losing somebody's valuable family history.
If you have any questions about the implementation, please ask them here.
If you don't like the new rule, you're welcome to post your concerns. However, please read the previous discussions first. It's likely that others had similar concerns and that they were discussed and considered. We have not made this decision lightly or quickly, and we don't expect to be reopening it any time soon. No rule will perfectly fit all situations or please everyone.
Onward and upward,