Digital Fingerprints Expose Wikipedians

by Dan Blank on August 17, 2007

So this guy, his name is Virgil. He downloads ALL of Wikipedia to his computer. Then, he correlates changes that were made to Wikipedia, with a database of IP addresses. (IP addresses are your digital fingerprints on the web.)

What did he find out? That employees from companies like Diebold have deleted negative paragraphs in the Wikipedia page for their company. Virgil seems to just be getting started.

From a journalism standpoint, it seems to prove the age old questions of “Yes, people really do prefer good press to bad press.” In some respects, removing anonymity from portions of the web may make it a better resource. Although, things like this are a slippery slope; how many will want to use Wikipedia if every action they take is being monitored. Increasing paranoia may not be good for business.

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