100 new OSMF membership accounts on 2018.11.15

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

Page about the 100 unusual OSMF membership sign-ups detected before the 2018 election to board - which were found to be associated with the company GlobalLogic. These memberships have been withdrawn (1, 2).

Page created to provide context to notes from related board discussions open to membership.


Issue and initial board reaction

2018-11-15 was the deadline for people to become OpenStreetMap Foundation members if they wanted to be eligible to vote at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM). (see On the voting deadline)

On 2018-11-15 there was a mass sign-up of 100 new OSM Foundation member accounts (there were about 1040 members at the time). Most email addresses used were linked to a single IP address and were displaying additional irregularities. The IP address belonged to GlobalLogic, a company well known to OpenStreetMap. In the past there had been a larger amount of complaints regarding edits from that company, which provides mapping services to other companies.

On 2018-11-20 the board was notified about these irregular membership sign-ups. The OSMF Articles of Association give the board seven days to reject a new membership application without cause. A circular was proposed, "which preliminarily rejects all of those applications and tasks the Membership Working Group to further investigate them. There's a precedence case for similar action with the Skobbler-case back in 2011". In the Skobbler case (see osmf-talk message), no wrongdoing or impropriety was suspected, but this influx of ~10% of voting members so late in the election cycle was seen as destabilising, so the board accepted the applications as of the day after the Annual General Meeting (i.e., after the election).

The circular was rejected, thus all those memberships were accepted. All board members are against the creation of artificial OSMF membership accounts. The new memberships were not eligible to vote at the board election on the 15h of December, 2018.

Events until the 2018 Annual General Meeting

  • All board candidates were notified about the 100 irregular sign-ups by Guillaume Rischard (MWG member, board candidate). Five out of the seven candidates co-signed an email to board, asking for a statement and a full investigation, and pledging to introduce rules to prevent electoral fraud.
  • Publication of board decision on recent OSMF membership registrations (osmf-talk).
  • The board received an email from a GlobalLogic representative, mentioning that it is on behalf of the GlobalLogic team in India as well as those on their team who have recently registered to become OSM Foundation members. The email stated that there are no fake accounts and asked the board to clarify whether the registrations are eligible for the 2018 election.
  • Board-GL email exchange. Several messages from board suggesting GL's participation in the osmf-talk discussion or getting them in touch with the MWG for discussion. GL appealed to the board regarding the deadline to sign up and be eligible for the upcoming board election and proposed an introductory call.

After AGM

  • 2018-12-20 The new board (two new board members) decided to have a blackout period for circular resolutions till the 7th of January, 2019. Everyone will be contacted if something urgent happens.

Membership Working Group report

  • On 2018-12-26 the MWG sent a detailed report to the board about the sign-ups. The board informed the MWG that it was essentially on winter break until 7 January.
  • On 2019-01-10 the MWG informed the board that it planned to release the report to the membership (if there were no corrections) on 17 January - however after requests from the board for additional time, the release date was set to be the 26th of January, 2019. The MWG also proposed the report to be released by the board.

After 7th of January

  • The two new board members received previous emails related to the subject.
  • GL sent second reminder to board about an introductory call.
  • Discussion during closed part of monthly board meeting about further communications with the company, prior to the release of the MWG report.
  • Board preparation of questions and strategy for online meeting with GL.
  • 2019-01-23 Online meeting of two board members with GlobalLogic representatives. The meeting was recorded for note-taking purposes, as not all board members were present.
  • 2019-01-24 Three circulars created:
  • 2019-01-26 The MWG released its report to the membership.

Withdrawal of memberships

2019 Feb

On the 2018 board election voting deadline

The board election period is linked to the Annual General Meeting. The Articles of Association (AoA #75) state that a member is eligible to vote when they are "a member or associate member (as the case may be) throughout the period of 30 days prior to the date on which the [Annual General] meeting is held". In past years this has been interpreted as the start of the day 30 days prior to the AGM, according to the timezone in CiviCRM*. This is how OSMF also proceeded in 2018, meaning eligible voters had to be signed up prior to November 15. This is not the only legal interpretation of the AoA, and something the board will deliberate further in 2019.

CiviCRM is the platform we use for our membership database and State of the Map registrations.

Resolutions or board discussions during monthly meetings

OSMF-talk threads

Membership discussions:

  • 2018 Nov - Board decision on recent OSMF membership registrations
  • 2019 Jan - Membership Working Group report on unusual signups before OSMF election
  • 2019 Jan, Feb - Board statement - Membership Working Group report on unusual signups before OSMF election
  • 2019 Jan, Feb - voting fraud
  • 2019 Feb - My November 2018 email to the board about the GlobalLogic signups


Text might be enriched and has not been reviewed by the board.