Manipulation: democratic knowledge?

The Kassandra Project

 

Wikipedia is one the project we like more. It contains millions of informations of any type: a real democratic online enciclopedia, where everyone can write.

Yes… just everyone… Our question: and if governments or institutions or agencies dislike wikipedia’s voice, what can they do?

The answer is in a post of gionark, an italian blogger, based on a BBC article, from which we extract something (we can think that the war of information and disinformation between USA, CIA, Vatican, BBC, CNN and etc., may results in useful informations like this):

An online tool that claims to reveal the identity of organisations that edit Wikipedia pages has revealed that the CIA was involved in editing entries.

On the profile of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the tool indicates that a worker on the CIA network reportedly added the exclamation “Wahhhhhh!” before a section on the leader’s plans for his presidency.

A warning on the profile of the anonymous editor reads: “You have recently vandalised a Wikipedia article, and you are now being asked to stop this type of behaviour.”

Screen grab of Wikipedia page

It is claimed the entry was changed by a CIA computer user

Other changes that have been made are more innocuous, and include tweaks to the profile of former CIA chief Porter Goss and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey.

When asked whether it could confirm whether the changes had been made by a person using a CIA computer, an agency spokesperson responded: “I cannot confirm that the traffic you cite came from agency computers.

“I’d like in any case to underscore a far larger and more significant point that no one should doubt or forget: The CIA has a vital mission in protecting the United States, and the focus of this agency is there, on that decisive work.”

The site also indicates that a computer owned by the US Democratic Party was used to make changes to the site of right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

The changes brand Mr Limbaugh as “idiotic,” a “racist”, and a “bigot”. An entry about his audience now reads: “Most of them are legally retarded.”

The IP address is registered in the name of the Democratic National Headquarters.

The site also indicates that Vatican computers were used to remove content from a page about the leader of the Irish republican party Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams.

The edit removed links to newspaper stories written in 2006 that alleged that Mr Adams’ fingerprints and handprints were found on a car used during a double murder in 1971.

Wikipedia Scanner also points the finger at commercial organisations that have modified entries about the pages.

One in particular is Diebold, a company which supplies electronic voting machines in the US.

BBC News website users contacted the corporation to point out that the tool also revealed that people inside the BBC had made edits to Wikipedia pages.

The last sentence is quite incredible: BBC writes that it changed something on Wikipedia… there is no way to know if we’ll ever have a democratic knowledge… in the meantime we can only write what we see.

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