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Wikipedia Hoax Author Confesses

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the fact-or-fiction dept.

News 377

cmholm writes "As reported in The Seattle Times, Nashville resident Brian Chase has publically admitted that he edited a Wikipedia entry for John Seigenthaler, making appear that Mr. Seigenthaler was involved in the assassination of JFK. Mr. Chase fessed up after a cyber-sleuth tracked down the business from which he had posted to Wikipedia."

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Uhm (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233265)

Wait...so, that was illegal?

Re:Uhm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233276)

Maybe not illegal, but, could lead to a civil tort at the very least.

Re:Uhm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233295)

Mmmmm, chocolate tort! [finesteaks.com]

Re:Uhm (2, Informative)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233351)

Actually, it might be considered libelous

Re:Uhm (1, Informative)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233304)

Get a dictionary and look up the word "slander".

Re:Uhm (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233317)

Actually, since its written and not spoken the word would be 'libel'

Re:Uhm (0, Redundant)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233343)

Written on what? This is cyberspace. A good server crash would reduce all those ones and zeros to bits and pieces.

Re:Uhm (1)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233364)

Libel isn't limited to ink and paper. Anything that is visibly disparaging of another can be considered libelous, versus slander, which is audible.

Re:Uhm (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233430)

Libel is in fixed form, at least in the UK. It doesn't have to be visual. Similarly slander doesn't have to be audible. Potentially either could be visual, or audible or even tactile or olfactory.

Re:Uhm (1)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233495)

Deceptive and disparaging odors?!

I like it!

Re:Uhm (4, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233562)

And if you're blind, hearing the article read out by a screen reader?

Is a recording of a slander slander or libel?

Is a public reading of a libel libel or slander?

Re:Uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233375)

That has to be the most moronic thing I've read on /. in weeks.
Seriously.

Laying aside the technical aspects of the rare situations where a server crash could reduce the disc drive to garbage (especially with a properly designed backup system), I'd like to see you argue that you weren't committing libel because the paper you wrote it on was unusually flammable.

Re:Uhm (1)

adam1234 (696497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233394)

A fire would have the same effect on books.

The irony is delicious (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233363)

I've got to love a post where someone says to look up "slander", and they never actually looked up "slander".

You crack me up, dude.

Slander
1 : the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation
2 : a false and defamatory oral statement about a person -- compare libel
    -slan£der£ous \-d(-)rs\ adjective
    -slan£der£ous£ly adverb
    -slan£der£ous£ness noun

(from Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

Perhaps you meant libel?

Again from Merriams...

Main Entry: 1li£bel
Pronunciation: l-bl
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, written declaration, from Middle French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book
Date: 14th century

Libel
1 a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought b archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b(1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

Re:Uhm (3, Informative)

GamingFox (860855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233399)

Communications Decency Act of 1996 [cdt.org] , in section 230 part C paragraph 1:

"TREATMENT OF PUBLISHER OR SPEAKER. No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. "

Basically the act said the authors or the ISP (Wikipedia or Wikipedia's ISP) are not liable for any libel information which may be posted since they are not actual publishers or speakers in per se.

So to answer your question, it is not illegal to post libel information on the internet.

Re:Uhm (3, Informative)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233475)

Wrong again.
It says that Wikipedia can't be held liable for the libel provided by one of the submitters. It does not provide protection for the person who authored the article.

Also, if you read the act itself, it's designed to control obscenity and pr0nography, libel is never mentioned in the act.

Re:Uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233408)

No, it was just a reagan/bush fanatic who is trying to discredit kennedy people.

Re:Uhm (0, Flamebait)

zarozarozaro (756135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233465)

You mean a Wikipedia article may not *sarcastic gasp* be accurate?

There are two "asses" in "assassin" (-1, Troll)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233269)

involved in the assasination of JFK.

Three if you count Taco.

Re:There are two "asses" in "assassin" (0, Offtopic)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233494)

For the benifit of those three mods who deemed the parent a troll: It was a joke, pointing out that the word "assasination" [sic] was mispelled in the summary. OK?

My first first-post (except for one AC), and now sadly invisible...

Re:There are two "asses" in "assassin" (1)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233507)

If it makes you feel better, you missed FP by about a minute.

Big deal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233270)

Doesn't this sort of stuff happen all the time at Wikipedia?

Re:Big deal? (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233312)

"All the time" is kind of over statement, but yes it does happen.. and will continue to happen every now and then, that is the way the thing works, anyone can add something.

But the thing this time was a bit different as the page in question was not linked from anywhere else, thus it was not spotted and fixed by anyone else until the stink arose.

Good and Bad for wikipedia (2, Interesting)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233563)

So this guy made some amendments to an article to find out how easy it is to 'fool' wikipedians. There must be thousands that have done that already, mostly known as vandalism. Now this whole hoopla has drawn the attention of million more cowboys to wikipedia. Some of them want to verify themselves that they too can write in wikipedia. Most will be caugth as simple vandalism (most peaple are not very smart mischieving) but som ewill fall though the cracks unnoticed. That percentage might even be bigger that the extra articles this new readership write.
So readership increases, amout of articles increases, but and the signal/noise ratio decreases rapidly. Smarter people are more likely to notice this increase and will turn away from it. So in the end, Wikipedia will be read (&written) by more less intelligent people.

Since when... (5, Insightful)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233275)

Has Wikipedia been a solid information resource? It shouldn't be taken THAT seriously...

Re:Since when... (5, Insightful)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233492)

How come this is modded as flamebait? Wikipedia is *not* a reliable source of information. It is a very good place to start researching a topic but any information needs to be confirmed with a second, external source.

Wikipedia is very useful and I use it myself for papers and research projects but it shouldn't be considered solid due to it's changable nature (articles get updated all the time, people can post wrong information etc).

By all means use wikipedia as an information resource, but also make sure that you another source that validates the information.

Turnabout (5, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233280)

Here's his wiki entry [wikipedia.org] .

stop making fun of wikipedia. (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233348)

this article has been created today about 3 hours ago. I bet that some of /. are feeling the urge to further modify it. Perhaps to make it more fun, or sth (eg. to write that the hoaxer killed JFK himself). Ello guys, it's not how the wikipedia is intended to work.

Re: stop making fun of wikipedia. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233389)

> this article has been created today about 3 hours ago. I bet that some of /. are feeling the urge to further modify it. Perhaps to make it more fun, or sth (eg. to write that the hoaxer killed JFK himself).

How else would he have known that the original article was a hoax?

Re:stop making fun of wikipedia. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233409)

Besides, anyone badly vandalizing that page might be tracked down, a wiki page made about them .. starting the whole cycle over again.

Re:stop making fun of wikipedia. (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233444)

Besides, anyone badly vandalizing that page might be tracked down,

This guy was tracked down because he posted from a machine at his job, and the IP was easily located. If it had been from a home machine it would have needed a court order to get the ISP to turn him in. And if he'd used a proxy, he would have been safe (though I think Wikipedia blocks a lot of proxies from editing.)

Cybersleuth, indeed (5, Insightful)

kalpol (714519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233283)

The guy did a whois on the IP address and he's made to sound like a regular Sherlock Holmes.

Re:Cybersleuth, indeed (4, Informative)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233314)

As a comment noted in the previous story on this hoax, the guy would've been less trace-able if he'd posted as ILURVCONSPIRACIES or something instead of being anonymous and allowing a visible IP.

Re:Cybersleuth, indeed (0, Flamebait)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233318)

How is this any different from "DVD Jon" or the earlier Mitnick bullshit?

Hackerextraordinaire indeed.

Tom

Re:Cybersleuth, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233487)

Except that DVD-Jon actually have produced something usefull.

Kevin Mitnick was a social engineer and a guy out for mischief.

Doing a whois doesn't demand anything of you.

Jon Lech Johansen published decss. He only wrote parts of it himself, not including the decryption algorithm, but he was the spokesperson for the group that did so. For that, he got sued. He and his group was the first to release a means for linux people to get to see DVDs on their machines. Furthermore, Johansen was one of the main people in the group.

Furthermore, he kept it up. He began on a version 2 of decss, but got charged in norway - and got his machine and code confiscated by the government (up until they lost the court case).

Afterwards, he's written several other (quite simple) snippets of code that lets you get your fair use rights.

Yes, I do get a little bit pissed when people piss on DVD-Jon. I watched in court in Oslo during the entire first trial. People bash him as if he's done nothing, but quite a lot was proved during the court case.

Re:Cybersleuth, indeed (1, Offtopic)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233551)

There are a lot more people to hero-worship me thinks.

1. Name 5 kernel developers not including tree maintainers

2. Name 3 people who test GCC

3. Who wrote Nautilus?

4. Who wrote XMMS?

etc...

My point is he did a cool hack. Congrats. Stop playing him up like this all time champ for the OSS world. I'd say the people writing the tools [e.g. GCC] he used to compile it are also important.

Lot more work goes into making GCC capable for professional work than hacking decss together [keep in mind most incarnations of decss tools were CRAP for the longest while at first].

Tom

Re:Cybersleuth, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233506)

DVD Jon actually wrote DeCSS, IIRC...

No, I'm not a bot! "mooned"

Re:Cybersleuth, indeed (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233564)

No he didn't, nor did he figure out the algorithm. He's just the slap happy front end for the work.

That aside, there are way more important projects that don't get press like they should.

..and get a NYTimes reporter to Call his Employer (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233480)

Funny how effective that was... and then Mr. Free Speech has the audacity to ask the employer to hire the guy back. ROFL!!!

Notable quote (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233287)

Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, said that as a longtime advocate of free speech, he found it awkward to be tracking down someone who had exercised that right. "I still believe in free expression," he said. "What I want is accountability."

Indeed.

The problem is that many people believe that actions - including speech - shouldn't have consequences.

Re:Notable quote (4, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233300)

Speech of many types has consequences.. everything from inciting to crime to slandering someone can have criminal or civil penalties however you do it.. be it on the street or the net.

Re:Notable quote (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233331)

The problem is that many people believe that actions - including speech - shouldn't have consequences.

Freedom of speech, by necessity, includes freedom after speech. In the real world, that usually requires anonymity.


In this particular situation, the speech involved counts as a stupid joke, or possibly a subtle political jab. If, instead, the relevant Wiki article had included concrete evidence that Bush and Blair lied to the world for the purpose of controlling the world Mango market, or a leaked internal memo showing the Diebold CEO deliberately made defective machines that gave extra votes to Libertarians - Would we still consider it an "abuse" of free speech, or exactly the reason we need free speech?


Yes, with free speech comes a certain degree of responsibility... On the part of the AUDIENCE. Charlatans and outright liers will always exist, and would even if we didn't have a 1st amendment in the US. Anyone who accepts a single Wiki entry as "proof" of ANYTHING deserves the ridicule they get when more skeptical readers point out the real facts.

Re:Notable quote (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233385)

Yes, with free speech comes a certain degree of responsibility... On the part of the AUDIENCE. Charlatans and outright liers will always exist, and would even if we didn't have a 1st amendment in the US.

That's clever, but fallacious.

With free speech comes responsibility on the part of the speaker as well.

All rights have associated responsibility - which includes things like accountability - that lies with the exerciser of the right, and it is the refusal to acknowledge this from which problems arise.

Re:Notable quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233451)

The thing is that you will always get the sociopth or joker. The audience MUST THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

Re:Notable quote (3, Insightful)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233429)

I call shenanigans.

You're attempting to shift responsibility of speech to the audience, not the speaker. That's blatantly wrong. No one has a right to say exactly what they want, when they want, and how they want 100% of the time without consequence . If I yell "Bomb" in an airport, can I tell the federal agents that have my neck in a knot that I was just trying to get to the front of the line?

We have a duty to understand the effects of the speech we make. While I agree that anyone who reads a Wikipedia article should take it with a grain of salt, that doesn't mean that persons who intentionally provide misinformation should not be held accountable.

You're the only person responsible for the words and ideas you convey; to suggest you can't be held accountable for it is simply asinine.

Re:Notable quote (2, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233533)

You're attempting to shift responsibility of speech to the audience, not the speaker. That's blatantly wrong.

Not blatantly. Only in cases of fraud is there any reason to limit speech.

No one has a right to say exactly what they want, when they want, and how they want 100% of the time without consequence.

Yes, just 99% of the time, for most people.

If I yell "Bomb" in an airport, can I tell the federal agents that have my neck in a knot that I was just trying to get to the front of the line?

You bring up an interesting point, actually. Federal agents aren't required, any more than cops, to respond to you yelling "Bomb". By required, I mean by law. It is the simple case that federal agents and cops are there not to prevent crimes but to respond after the fact. This concept is even recognized in the court system, where only a person who has standing (ie, a person who has already been effected) can contest a law.

The fact that federal agents choose to respond and try to arrest you extends from the 4th amendment. That is, you shouting "Bomb" gives them probable cause to search you. But the second they discover you do not have a bomb, they have no basis to stop you from shouting "Bomb" to your hearts content. The same holds true for shouting "Fire" in a theater, except in this case the people who must determine if a fire exists are the audience.

Yes, courts have ruled that "eminent threat" is a justification for surpressing speech, yet it's clearly the case that "eminent threat" is purely a basis for a search. While it might have made sense, in the eyes of some judges, to punish those who caused stampedes to make people happy, clearly it's the case that today there is tons of regulation about fire exits, fire alarms, etc that mitigate the risk of shouting "Fire" anyways; I'd even be inclined to state that the stampedes killing people is a sign of faulty design and more a case of a civil case of wrongful death of the establishment than any legal wrong doing of the shouter--in a real fire, the same sort of stampede would have occured, so clearly at some point said owner would be sued anyways when a "real" fire occurred.

Now, having said all this, you might think I'm against holding individuals accountable. That's hardly the case. Instead, it should be recognized that theaters, airports, etc are private establishments. Those who do speak in ways that the proprietor does not like can be permanently banned and later charged with trespassing if they try to step on their property. Accountability over words are in most cases best handled through speech or already existing law--shunning, be it by family or businesses. While it might feel "great" to have a law for every asshole who yells out obscenities or yells vaguely threatening remarks, if it can be established that such people are no real threat, then there is no reason to stop them from speaking. If neighborhoods do not want outsiders yelling on their streets, they should own them so they can kick people out.

It is the simple fact that societal constraints backed by property law are able to keep 95%+ of the people from doing clearly criminal acts (2-3% of people are in jails, so I'm giving a wide margin of error). People should be accountable for their speech. That doesn't mean there should be laws to specifically hold them accountable.

Re:Notable quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233441)

You may want to go back and read the bill of rights because you do not have much of a clue about them. The right to free speech does not guarantee against you suffering consequences for what you say. You can say just about anything you want, but you better be prepared to take responsibility for it. Free speech means that you can speak against government policies that you do not agree with and the police won't kick in your door in the middle of the night and make you disappear. If you speak out for the assassination of the President, you will likely get a visit to discuss your views.

Re:Notable quote (0, Troll)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233508)

If you speak out for the assassination of the President, you will likely get a visit to discuss your views.

"Free speech means that you can speak against government policies that you do not agree with and the police won't kick in your door in the middle of the night and make you disappear. "

"You may want to go back and read the bill of rights because you do not have much of a clue about them."

Re:Notable quote (1)

Leiterfluid (876193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233543)

You do know there's a difference between being outspoken about policies with which you disagree and calling for the murder of another human being, right?

Re:Notable quote (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233337)

Free - as in "of consequences - to me".

Re:Notable quote (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233368)

Free - as in "of consequences - to me".

No. Free of consequences from the state.

With rights come responsibilities. They are intrinsically linked and inseparable. The problems come when people believe there is, or should be, no relationship between them.

Re:Notable quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233339)

The problem is that many people believe that actions - including speech - shouldn't have consequences.

We should have the right to both speak freely and anonymously. Perhaps the problem is that people are willing to take an anonymous declaration and not scrutinize it's legitimacy.

Re:Notable quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233388)

I still say he did it.

Public Enemy #1 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233292)

They really need to go after that guy who started that story about the guy who wakes up in a tub of ice without kidneys. That was too creepy. And that Kilroy guy has lied out his ass millions of times. Where exactly is "here?" No one seems to know. Let's hang him.

Re:Public Enemy #1 (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233326)

And what did Craig Shergold [snopes.com] ever do with all those darn postcards? The public has a right to know!

Re:Public Enemy #1 (1)

BigDogCH (760290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233493)

For the record, I woke up missing only 1 kidney. And, it was a large rubber-maid style tub, not a bath-tub as often reported. Also, I just found out they took a piece of my liver as well. Oh yeah, and while I was at Taco-Bell last week, I must have accidentally eaten some cockroach eggs, because the eggs are hatching inside an open sore in my mouth. Oh and lets not forget the thumb in my chili at Wendys. Then there is all the cow-eyeballs and worms that McDonalds uses as filler in their meat. All of this just after I got rid of this Dermatobia hominis.

Okay sorry, but all of the food horror stories of the past just came flooding back. Does Wiki have problems with people posting advertisements and other stuff? I have always wondered how they keep their content so filtered.

The conspiracy grows... (5, Funny)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233298)

In a shocking discovery, it appears that the Wikipedia entry came from the sixth floor of the Dallas book repository.

gasmonso http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:The conspiracy grows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233514)

And this just in....
Chase claims it was NOT him. He claims that it was his magic keyboard that typed the Wikipedia changes.

Digital signatures with GPG keys (5, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233306)

About a year ago, I posted a discussion to some part of Wikipedia advocating digitally signing articles with GPG keys.

The plan was that each author, editor, and reader signs off for or against part or the whole of an article. The fallout should be that some articles get nearly universal positive sign offs, some get nearly universal against votes, and some are recorded as controversial. With GPG keys, we can also start ranking authors and editors -- are they generally agreed with, are they controversial, are they trolls. This is a codification of the skepticism that proponents of Wikipedia claim that any internet user should employ.

Something else I thought would be good would be to have branching articles. For instance, the entry for Hitler would have the main entry, which is the most agreed upon, a white-supremacist/neo-nazi version which stirs a lot of controversy, and maybe a David Icke version, which, while against Hitler, involves space reptiles and is therefore also controversial. Using the ranking and reputation system, a casual user can see how agreeable or controversial an article is.

Re:Digital signatures with GPG keys (2, Insightful)

shashark (836922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233365)

FTFA: "In a letter to Seigenthaler, Chase said he thought that Wikipedia was a "gag" Web site and that he had written the assassination tale to shock a co-worker"

So much so about the crediblity of wikipedia...

On second thoughts, wouldn't wikipedia do well with a moderation system ?

Isn't that over engineering the problem (1)

AnEmbodiedMind (612071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233414)

Why would you need GPG keys for this? What would that add over just adding a forced login and tracking karma system.

Slashdot seems to do reasonably well without GPG keys.

Re:Isn't that over engineering the problem (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233452)

Slashdot seems to do reasonably well without GPG keys.

and anarchy is reasonbly well organized ... for sufficiently low values of organized.

Re:Isn't that over engineering the problem (4, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233459)

There are two reasons to use GPG technology:

1. It's harder to steal someone's GPG identity.
2. You're not putting all your eggs in one basket like you do with logins. If wikipedia had a catastrophic server failure, they might lose all the authentication data. Goodbye wikipedia community. With GPG keys, there isn't such a large risk.

Here's a feature you may be overlooking: GPG keys are *universal* username/password credentials. Any bulliten board system could use GPG signed messages. That would do away with everybody re-inventing this authentication system and site security.

I would argue that GPG authentication is actually simpler than a username/password over HTTP security system. If that's the case, how can you call it overengineering, especially if any other bulliten board can drop their lousy HTTP authentication mechanism and use this one? That reduces complexity for site admins all over the world.

Re:Isn't that over engineering the problem (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233497)

"You're not putting all your eggs in one basket like you do with logins. If wikipedia had a catastrophic server failure, they might lose all the authentication data. Goodbye wikipedia community."

My feeling is that if major banks, credit card providers, and brokerages get away with simple login/pass systems for account access with potentially billions of dollars at stake, then a login/pass system is good enough for an online collaborative encyclopedia. Yes, financial institutions have fucked up, but to my knowledge it's never resulted in "Goodbye JPMorgan Chase."

I'd suggest you drop the GPG aspect, because it just confuses and obfuscates the explanation of what's fundamentally a good idea.

Re:Isn't that over engineering the problem (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233555)

"My feeling is that if major banks, credit card providers, and brokerages get away with simple login/pass systems for account access with potentially billions of dollars at stake..."

This is good enough for financial institutions because they have other authentication mechanisms for fraud detection. Just for example, they have hueristics to examine whether this transaction makes sense given the history of the customer. And for non-personal accounts, they don't allow username/password web access for making transactions. Billions are actualy *not* at stake, because they go way beyond simple username and password for checking out transactions.

With wikipedia or any other bulletin board system, username/password is *all they have*.

"I'd suggest you drop the GPG aspect, because it just confuses and obfuscates the explanation of what's fundamentally a good idea."

I would argue that what is a good idea is reputation. A GPG system creates a reputation system that *persists* across the web. This is the fundamental good idea. If we could rank information *anywhere*, not just on Wikipedia, that would be great.

Why use digital signatures? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233457)

Maybe I'm dense, but I fail to see how cryptographic digital sigures would do anything other than add technical complexity with no corresponding benefit. How exactly are GPG signatures better than user accounts with decent passwords? Is there really a history of Wikipedia accounts being compromised by password guessing? Is there any reason to think that password guessing would become a problem if some sort of article approval process were implemented?

I just don't see it.

Re:Why use digital signatures? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233509)

Read this post [slashdot.org] for my repsonse to someone else asking about the value of GPG.

Boils down to this:

. GPG authentication is *simpler* than the 1000 different crappy authentication-over-HTTP-sessions schemes going around.
. Wikipedia isn't responsible for maintaining the authentication credentials for the entire community. It's good not to have all your eggs in one basket.
. In the long run, GPG could replace any crappy authentication system in any bulliten board system anywhere. It would *simplify* the web.

Re:Why use digital signatures? (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233528)

There's a history of Wikipedia admins revealing the passwords [slashdot.org] on random accounts, accidentally, in attempting to hunt down vandals, then, upon discovery of the security foul, insisting they've done nothing wrong. Regular (non-troll) contributors have had their passwords compromised [slashdot.org] for months without any notice.

Re:Digital signatures with GPG keys (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233460)

That's not a bad idea in the general. I don't understand how GPG is relevant, though, since couldn't you implement the same system with a simple login and password?

Re:Digital signatures with GPG keys (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233522)

"About a year ago, I posted a discussion to some part of Wikipedia advocating digitally signing articles with GPG keys."

So as soon as someone corrects a spelling-mistake, the whole section is marked as untrustworthy?

Why not adapt one of the "blame algorithms" built into CVS systems, which shows the article and labels each bit of text with the last person to change it? That would seem to fit in better with the existing database.

Fake News is on the rise (4, Interesting)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233307)

It used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc., but recently many reporters are either faking news or just regurgitating press releases.

I know, because I was a reporter, then later an editor. With tightening margins, reporters get paid less and less (try $20 for a story), and staff is shrunk in the dead-tree press. It's hard to keep the passion up when Ramen is for dinner, again. Sometimes, though, the made up news is more interesting or entertaining than the 'real' news.

Alaska's wildfires might be helping melt glaciers and sea ice [suvalleynews.com]

Re:Fake News is on the rise (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233321)

Sad truth of our times is the fact that real news often seem more stupid and fantastic than anything made up.

Re:Fake News is on the rise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233356)

I totally agree. Then again every source of information is not 100% a solid information resource. As someone posted on an earlier article on slashdot, the CIA Factbook [cia.gov] has posted information that alot academically recognized people beleive is wrong. Yet the CIA probably for geopolitical reasons post this as a fact (following the money, it is interesting to find out that Greece is one of the biggest arm buyers of the US and they are negotiating with the US to buy a batch of almost deprecated f16s at almost double the price. With political benifits also ;) Sounds like pimping, smells like pimping to me...). Mod me flamebait as you will, but my perspective of the internet has changed over time. Never take anything as granted or fact without investigating...

Re:Fake News is on the rise (5, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233361)

The September that never ended [wikipedia.org] has finally created a Silly Season [wikipedia.org] that never ends either.

Re:Fake News is on the rise (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233431)

I always wondered what that song was on about... Gosh I actually learned something off slashdot!

Re: Fake News is on the rise (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233403)

> t used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc., but recently many reporters are either faking news or just regurgitating press releases. I know, because I was a reporter, then later an editor. With tightening margins, reporters get paid less and less (try $20 for a story), and staff is shrunk in the dead-tree press.

As the Iraqi editor said, "If I had known it was from the US Army, I would have charged a lot more to publish it."

Re:Fake News is on the rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233466)

recently many reporters are either faking news or just regurgitating press releases.

What about FOX? Those morons just make shit up, you know like Bush winning a presidential election despite Gore getting more votes. An extreme case, but has their ever been a news source that is not biased?

Only in the weekly world (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233515)

It used to be that one could tell the fake news, such as Weekly World News, National Enquirer, etc.

Most of the tabloids, such as The National Enquirer, have switched to a celebrity gossip format. Weekly World News, on the other hand, still gives general interest news that is false in this world but true in the Weekly World.

What tool did he use? (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233316)

What tool did he use to trace the IP back to the delivery company?

ARIN Whois only goes as far as Bellsouth for the IP address in question (65.81.97.208), as does pretty much every utility, geographic and otherwise, that I could find in a rudimentary search.

So, what tool did he use to actually narrow it down to a specific business?

Re:What tool did he use? (5, Interesting)

JustOK (667959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233338)

try http://65.81.97.208/ [65.81.97.208]

Re:What tool did he use? (1)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233357)

More than likely he fraudulently misrepresented his identity while calling Bellsouth in order to obtain information that he should not have had access to.

Re:What tool did he use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233424)

Can you hire me? I don't like to talk much but I smile often and know how to get the job done.

Kind of the opposite of Michael Moore--he like to talk too much, he never smiles and he doesn't know how to get the job done.

Re:What tool did he use? (5, Informative)

fatboy (6851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233479)

I bet he did what I just did.

[fatboy@localhost fatboy]$ host 65.81.97.208
208.97.81.65.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer adsl-065-081-097-208.sip.bna.bellsouth.net.

Bellsouth, like many ISPs, use airport city codes in the RR to show the nearest city. bna is Nashville International Airport.

Go to the IP address in a browser. It returns the simple message "Welcome to Rush Delivery [65.81.97.208] .

Search google for "Rush Delivery" nashville [google.com] , and there you have it.

No big deal.

Re:What tool did he use? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233359)

Possibly some tool friend of his at the ISP. This kind of thing is usually not publicly advertised though and he probably made up that IP tool story to cover for the employee who gave out confidential information.

Communists invade Korea WAR all over (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14233325)

Sneak attack. Seoul is under communist control. Check out C N N

Umm wha? (0, Redundant)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233353)

The issue was resolved amicably, and the "investigator" found him by his IP address. So uh what's the problem?

  I love how people who say there's no way to track someone down because of privacy laws and there's no accountability, yet these people don't understand the IP protocol, which allows for just that.

  Everyone has an IP address, and IP addresses can be tracked down to ISPs. ISPs provide these connections, and although they're not liable, their users agree to avoid illegal activity (like defamation)... so again, what's the problem?

  Of course the last piece of the puzzle is proving illegal activity, which can usually be done in logs.

Try it (2, Interesting)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233396)

I'm posting this from a freely available "linksys" wireless network in the neighborhood, from the IP address of an entity I don't know who has DSL. I can easily change their IP address by disconnecting and reconnecting their broadband router.

All from my car while waiting at the local MacDonalds drive-thru.

How exactly is anyone going to hold me accountable for what I say online?

We've recently issued free personal printing presses and the potential for efficient, unlimited redistribution to the population of the entire world. We may need to reevaluate a few things about how we treat information.

Re:Try it (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233477)

I'm posting this from a freely available "linksys" wireless network in the neighborhood, from the IP address of an entity I don't know who has DSL.

  Thank you for proving my point. If there's abuse from the DSL, it's the providers responsibility to shut it off or take action. If you sent 10 million pieces of spam through the DSL IP, and the provider disconnected them for violation of their AUP, it's sorta a little bit of incentive not to run an open wireless access point, isn't it?

  If I worked for the company providing the DSL, I'd shut it off in an instant (depending on the severity of the abuse). Granted, situations like yours, (or encryption, or proxies), make it more difficult, but for the most part, all the tools are in place.

Re:Try it (1)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233549)

it's sorta a little bit of incentive not to run an open wireless access point, isn't it?

I think there are too many WAPs out there already. If you want to do something anonymously, and you don't care about the fate of the customer whose free wap you're using, you can go ahead and do it.

As we move towards community wireless mesh networks, traceability will become even harder. There'll be an incentive to run an open access point, because everyone in the community depends on others to do the same thing.

That leaves only the reputation of an authenticated (but still anonymous) sender, as a criterion for judging any and every piece of data that comes in over the air, such as a tiny little piece of the latest Disney movie, or a libelous rant about some has-been journalist.

Re:Try it (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233529)

I'm posting this from a freely available "linksys" wireless network in the neighborhood, from the IP address of an entity I don't know who has DSL. I can easily change their IP address by disconnecting and reconnecting their broadband router.
Congratulations! You're committing "theft of communication services", or "unauthorized computer access" which are felonies.

Tipp: register to post anonymously (5, Insightful)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233386)

If Mr. Chase had spent the 30 seconds or required to create a Wikipedia account (valid email address not required!) he would have stopped the "cyber-sleuth" (hah) in his tracks. Wikipedia seems to laboring under the apprehension that IP addresses are somehow anonymous, whereas they provide far more information to third parties than an account name does (unless the poster is savvy enough to use a reasonably anonymous proxy not blocked by Wikipedia).

How to use Wikipedia (5, Insightful)

nephridium (928664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233402)

Wikipedia is one of the greatest resources for knowledge on the web. Not necessarily for the contents of the articles, which obviously range from 'exceptionally well done' to 'nothing but a troll post', but for the links and sources that are supplied at the end of the page that will get you started in getting the "real" information.

In this respect Wikipedia is actually far more effient than any search engine, because ALL links will point to pages with information on the subject - filtering between 'good' and 'bad' webpages is quite straight forward. This approach will also give you a layer of redundancy which is required when doing good research on any topic.

Anonymity? (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233420)

I wonder if anonymity is just a passing phase for the Internet? A way to envision having a real network identity could the upbeat notion of a Citizen's card that allows you to participate virtually within the boundaries of accepted behavior. With wise regulation there's nothing bad about that.
But outside of that ideal in the real world we can hardly agree on what even constitutes human rights internationally. So there does seem to be a need for some forms of anonymity like when something is leaked because it's in the public interest. Although, for libel and slander accountability would seem to be better overall. Pragmatically, something that satisfies both could be logged access that requires a warrant to associate id with identity.

Wikipedia not credible... (-1, Troll)

psycln (937854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233432)

Shows how the whole concept of an "open encyclopedia" has ZERO credibility.

Wikipedia is not credible [wikipediasucks.com] as a citation source like other encyclopedias.

Re:Wikipedia not credible... (1)

EdMcMan (70171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233440)

If you are trying to convince me that Wikipedia is not credible, you probably shouldn't be using a "Wikipedia sucks" page.

Unfortunate (4, Insightful)

meregistered (895132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233471)

While I agree that, on the surface, this seems like it shouldn't be illegal, if this where beleived it could cost Mr. Seigenthaler career opportunities. And, though unlikely, potentially even legal problems.

My main dissapointment here, however, is that this will decrease the trust of the value of the information on Wikipedia. I have a few friends (these are geeks as well mind you) who don't trust Wikipedia because essentially, 'anyone can write there'. They beleive that there is not enough valid information there; Too much opinion. Of course my response is that even published encyclopedias can include bad information based on opinion. By giving a published encyclopedia no room for doubt we are opening ourselves up to beleif in error, just as we are by not using critical thought processes when reading a Wikipedia entry.

So back to my dissapointment. Stunts like this while both funny & stupid are also devaluing the otherwise fairly valuable content of Wikipedia.

-ME®

Speling police! (1)

scovetta (632629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233474)

Mr. Seigenthaler was involved in the assasination of JFK.

Assassination
n.
The act of assassinating; a killing by treacherous violence.

Assasination
n.
The act of writing a Wikipedia article with the purpose to insert the author into the topic falsely.

See, he's fine.

TOR / I2P (2, Interesting)

tdc_vga (787793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14233481)

I don't see why this is a big deal. Anyone who wants to make it more difficult (while theoretically not impossible) to track them back through an IP address can

1) use TOR,
2) use I2P,
3) use an open/free Wifi area (without camera mind you), or
4) in the works of Lawerence Lessig (if any of you went to law school): "use a pay phone." (and yes this is possible if you have some old school gear and the patience to wait on the modem)

While allowing accountability (IP request w/o subpoenas) would catch the majority of people on the internet, allowing cases for libel, any truly subversive or "alternative" group would understand how to avoid detection. Misinformation will always be available, anonymity existed way before the Internet become a popular tool, and no matter how many hoops you add those who want to remain unknown will.\

In the end maybe I support the proposed legal change, because it would increase the popularity of tools like TOR and I2P.

Cheers,
TdC

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