I doubt we should get into wider political debates in G2G. As far as GDPR goes, I have said ad nauseam and repeat again, this is all about living people’s rights to privacy. Even the famous have such rights. I warmly welcome the fact that GDPR has led Wikitree to take privacy issues more seriously, as I believe they should always have been. Familysearch and commercial sites like Ancestry have for years had automatic systems in place to protect the privacy of information about living people in information people add to their sites.
I would be furious if someone posted information about me on Wikitree without my agreement, without telling me, and without giving me a chance to check what was being said. While I am by no means a notable, I do appear in a number of reference works, where I have ensured that the information given is limited. Some close members of my family have a policy of avoiding, so far as is humanly possible, any mention of them or their children on the internet.
Almost every developed country in the world, and some other countries too, have rules to protect people’s privacy rights. They generally follow a pattern agreed multinationally in OECD. Some non-EU countries’ rules on the face of it go further than GDPR, including on the extra-territorial scope of their rules. There are usually added protections - either in privacy law or in wider law - for children.The USA is a notable exception in not yet having rules similar to GDPR.
The Guidelines of the US National Genealogical Society are strict on information about living persons, and state firmly that genealogists should
“require evidence of consent before assuming that living people are agreeable to further sharing or publishing information about themselves;
▪ convey personal identifying information about living people—such as age, home address, genetic information, occupation, or activities—only in ways that those concerned have expressly agreed to;
▪ recognize that legal rights of privacy may limit the extent to which information from publicly available sources may be further used, disseminated, or published...”
These guidelines have no let-outs for the famous.
Wikitree itself has long had firm guidance about respecting privacy. That guidance has probably in the past not always been adhered to. All of us who signed up to the Honor Code agreed to observe the guidance.
GDPR gives an explicit exception for information which people have chosen to release into the public domain, and there may in principle be scope for relaxing the current approach of Wikitree a little. The acute difficulty, though, is where to draw the line. Notables range from the UK Royal Family and Presidents of the USA, for whom a lot of information has been released into the public doman, to, say, a doctor who has made a significant medical advance but who has not released personal information into the public domain. In practice, the only safe and appropriate course for Wikitree may well be the one it has adopted.