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From LeMonde: The Organizations behind the Anonymous Modifications of Wikipedia

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From the French newspaper, LeMonde:

(My translation into English appears first, followed by the original article in French)

The Organizations behind the Anonymous Modifications of Wikipedia

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LeMonde.FR | 16.08.07 | 12h06 * Mis à jour le 16.08.07 | 12h21

Upon learning that elected officials of the Congress had written their own biographical notes on the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, Virgil Griffith, an American student - who had already revealed the faults various information processing systems - was motivated last year to create WikiScanner, put online Monday August 13. This software, which cross-links various data bases, makes it possible for any Net surfer to find the owners of the IP addresses of the computers from where Wikipedia entries have been anonymously modified And, by thus comparing two versions of an entry, to note that the changes made by these organizations or companies under the cover of anonymity.

The examples are legion. The American magazine Wired notes the disappearance, on November 17, 2005, of several paragraphs criticizing the reliability of Diebold voting machines and the bonds between its leader and George W. Bush. According to WikiScanner, this suppression emanates from IP addresses used by Diebold. The chain of Wal-Mart supermarkets replaced a sentence on its wages: the original text said they were lower than those of other major distributors; the new one qualified them as twice as high as the minimum wage.


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Modifications were carried out on IP addresses of the CIA, but they are rather marginal according to Wired. Rather than to judge for itself, the site solicited its visitors to "Vote On the Most Shameful Wikipedia Spin Jobs," those which appear to them most scandalous. The list includes:

* on the entry for "Information Extraction", the US National Security Agency (NSA) removed a link to the Echelon network, an NSA system which makes it possible to intercept communications, as "irrelevant."

* The US FBI removed air sights of the prison of Guantanamo;

* The Israeli government removed the note concerning the "wall" built to separate the Hebrew State from the West Bank.

One also learns here that among the modifications classified very high by the Net surfers, are references to the catastrophe of the factory of pesticides of Bhopal and the orange agent removed by the manufacturer, Dow Chemical. Or that a member of the Republican Party replaced "occupying army" by "liberating army" to evoke the coalition taken along by the United States to Iraq. The scientologists, themselves, work to remove criticism. It is also discovered that a sentence affirming that the system of Microsoft MSN Search is "a major rival of Google" emanates from the agency in charge of the public relations of Microsoft.

Claire Ané

Ces entreprises et organismes qui modifient Wikipédia dans leur intérêt

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LeMonde.FR | 16.08.07 | 12h06 * Mis à jour le 16.08.07 | 12h21

C'est en apprenant que des élus du Congrès ou leurs collaborateurs avaient eux-mêmes écrit leur notice biographique sur l'encyclopédie libre Wikipédia que Virgil Griffith, un étudiant américain - qui avait déjà révélé les failles de différents systèmes informatiques -, s'est attelé l'an dernier à créer le WikiScanner, mis en ligne lundi 13 août. Ce logiciel, qui croise différentes bases de données, permet à tout internaute de trouver à quels organismes ou entreprises appartiennent les adresses IP des ordinateurs d'où ont été modifiées anonymement des notes de l'encyclopédie libre. Et, en comparant ainsi deux versions d'une notule, de constater qu'un utilisateur du réseau informatique d'une entité a modifié ou supprimé des passages qui le gênaient.

Les exemples sont légion. Le magazine américain Wired évoque notamment la disparition, le 17 novembre 2005, de plusieurs paragraphes critiquant la fiabilité des machines à voter Diebold et les liens entre son dirigeant et George W. Bush. Une suppression qui, selon le WikiScanner, émane d'adresses IP utilisées par les bureaux de la firme Diebold elle-même. La chaîne de supermarchés Wal-Mart a pour sa part remplacé une phrase sur ses salaires : le premier texte les disait plus bas que ceux du reste de la grande distribution... le nouveau les qualifiait de deux fois plus élevés que le salaire minimum.

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