Government Computer Linked to Hundreds of Anonymous Wikipedia Edits

Either someone employed at a Government facility has way to much time on his hand or some automatic process is running. One that is editing hundreds of Wikipedia entries each month, sometimes up to 90 a day and always during work hours. The edits themselves are harmless and mostly made to the fact boxes – a sidebar containing at-a-glance information on the open subject.

The fact boxes have been added to pages ranging from the Aviation Security Act 1982 to the British Homeopathic Association and on December 29th, the connection was used to make 95 edits in a single day. The unusual activity was discovered by the Twitter account WhitehallEdits that is set up by Channel 4 News to automatically tweet whenever a government owned IP address makes changes to Wikipedia.

The system has been very useful in the past and discovered the vandalism of the Hillsborough disaster Wikipedia page back in April. Now however, it has become more or less useless as the system is flooded with all these new edits every day.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said it was impossible to tell which computer was making the edits, or even if they were being made by a single person as public facing IP addresses can be shared by numerous computers. They also told Mirror Online that they were unable to publish information which would confirm whether this IP address had been assigned to a particular Government department, or if it was in use by a local government agency.

But the edits are following a pattern and are edited in an alphabetical order. This suggest the work of a single entity rather than a group of users as suggested.

“Civil servants are required to use their time online responsibly and follow the Civil Service Code when working online,” said the Cabinet Office spokesperson

Thanks to Mirror Online for providing us with this information


Free To Play, In The Wrong?

Many games these days offer a wide range of things to buy over the internet, be it a quirky little add-on or even a mini expansion (EA’s Mass Effect Series for example). Recently the number of ‘Free To Play’ games has dramatically increased with games such as Star Wars, RIFT and many others offering a much better ‘Free To Play’ option to consumers, which allow you some, if not all aspects of the game for you to play without spending anymore than you did in getting the actual game, which was free of course.

This being said, it seems that the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has written to companies offering free web or app-based games, seeking information on in-game marketing to children. This is merely the first step in an ongoing investigation that could prove to be a waste or time, but it could also change the way Free To Play games are made, marketed and sold in general.

Personally, I think this whole thing revolves around a few kids getting a bit ‘over the top’ with their daddy’s credit card and parents are screaming ‘foul play’. If you are stupid enough to leave your card details within “point, click and bought” distance of your child you kind of deserve to be screwed out of money.

However, one might question if this would put games such as League of Legends, which is famous for its Micro-transaction deals, into the crosshairs as they too say they are “Free To Play”.

Source: CVG