CIA and FBI caught editing Wikipedia

CIA, FBI computers used for Wikipedia edits

By Randall Mikkelsen Thu Aug 16, 6:44 PM ET

People using CIA and FBI computers have edited entries in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia on topics including the Iraq war and the Guantanamo prison, according to a new tracing program.
The changes may violate Wikipedia’s conflict-of-interest guidelines, a spokeswoman for the site said on Thursday.
The program, WikiScanner, was developed by Virgil Griffith of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico and posted this month on a Web site that was quickly overwhelmed with searches.
The program allows users to track the source of computers used to make changes to the popular Internet encyclopedia where anyone can submit and edit entries.
WikiScanner revealed that CIA computers were used to edit an entry on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. A graphic on casualties was edited to add that many figures were estimated and were not broken down by class.
Another entry on former CIA chief William Colby was edited by CIA computers to expand his career history and discuss the merits of a Vietnam War rural pacification program that he headed.
Aerial and satellite images of the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were removed using a computer traced to the FBI, WikiScanner showed.
CIA spokesman George Little said he could not confirm whether CIA computers were used in the changes, adding that “the agency always expects its computer systems to be used responsibly.”
The FBI did not have an immediate response.
Computers at numerous other organizations and companies were found to have been involved in editing articles related to them.
Griffith said he developed WikiScanner “to create minor public relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike (and) to see what ‘interesting organizations’ (which I am neutral towards) are up to.”
It was not known whether changes were made by an official representative of an agency or company, Griffith said, but it was certain the change was made by someone with access to the organization’s network.
It violates Wikipedia’s neutrality guidelines for a person with close ties to an issue to contribute to an entry about it, said spokeswoman Sandy Ordonez of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia’s parent organization.
However, she said, “Wikipedia is self-correcting,” meaning misleading entries can be quickly revised by another editor. She said Wikimedia welcomed the WikiScanner.
WikiScanner can be found at wikiscanner.virgil.gr/
(Taken from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070816/wr_nm/security_wikipedia_dc&printer=1;_ylt=AjkkixF4eLl6ri9.ENYQxE8h2.cA)

This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve suspected this and I’ve also wondered if book reviews on sites such as Amazon have been posted by the FBI, CIA, FDA, FTC, etc.

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9 Comments to “CIA and FBI caught editing Wikipedia”

  1. Ironic ain’t it??
    Everybody has this notion that the US is a free country per se, yet why is it that news that speak unfavorably of Bush doesn’t see too much light of day? Or the police harrassment, etc.
    When I tell people in Korea that Korea has more free speech than the US they just don’t believe me or that the police here treat us like human beings unlike the US, they really don’t want to believe me. They have this delusion that white people are “JUST AND FAIR!”, and I try to tell them it’s all an individual thing, just as there are Korean people that aren’t cool, it’s the same for white folks, black folks, etc.
    Go figure.

  2. Re: Ironic ain't it??
    Many Americans don’t realize it, either. 😦

  3. Re: Ironic ain’t it??
    Some people think I’m paranoid. But really, I think I’m more realistic than those people.

  4. The true meaning of paranoid
    paranoia = delusions of persecution OR characterized by suspiciousness.
    Let’s put them in laymen’s terms. Paranoid means you’re hip to the someone’s BS or you’re aware of what’s going on.
    For example: When you scope out someone’s game, they want to try to turn it around on you and make you look bad so they say you’re paranoid.
    You see beyond what the news headlines say, so they say you’re paranoid.
    People are so stupid.

  5. Re: The true meaning of paranoid
    yeah! and what’s funny is that it seems like people who are germ freaks or neat freaks are the ones to tell ME that I’M paranoid about stuff! when what i’m paranoid about is actually true and does have an effect on our lives! oh well…

  6. Hmmm. So who are the other organizations and companies that weren’t worthy of mention – ok, so if someone said that computers traced to the Quik-E-Mart down on the corner edited articles written about it, people would be like “Who cares”, but since it’s the government, it’s sensationalism to collect those advertising dollars.
    What I would like to know is how the Wikiscanner knew that those computers go to the government entities that edited the articles. Sheesh, who is big brother in this story, the government entities or Wikipedia? I’m a little disturbed that the IP addresses of supposed security agencies in place to protect us citizens could be exposed to show that’s who they are, far more disturbing than whether they clarified stats about losses during a war in an image or took down pictures of secret military bases in Cuba for goodness sake or for chrissakes, make a guy look better than he probably was. We all know the government has been screwing around with information, that’s no surprise. What is surprising is they allowed themselves to be known to be doing it.

  7. Well, there’s a huge difference. A convenience store owner’s job doesn’t have anything to do with the justice of the American people.
    When you post/edit anything on Wikipedia, it clearly tells you your i.p. address is going to be recorded. Wikipedia did not invent the technology to track this. So if they are in any wrongdoing, so is just about every other website on the internet, including livejournal.

  8. You misunderstand what I was saying, I’m saying I am surprised that the government allowed themselves to be caught editing their articles. I’m not surprised that the news agency didn’t report who the other entities were that edited their articles because it’s only newsworthy (and capable of brining up ratings making it attractive to advertisers) because the government was involved. Wasn’t disagreeing with ya, just an observation about how the news gets reported in general. 🙂

  9. Yeah, I am surprised they allowed themselves to be caught, too. I’m sure they could have used some type of technology to block it. And IF not, you’d think they would have went to Starbucks to do it, haha.
    Yeah, Yahoo (and many news sites) puts articles on the main page meant to attract attention – which is why a lot of times you see “news” about Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan as “headlines”.
    My friend, Billy, was freaking out a couple years ago. Because when he logged onto AOL, some stupid crap about Britney Spears showed up BEFORE the news about how a bunch of soldiers died that day.

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