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