Friday, August 17, 2007

the crime of a century

So the CIA (and the American government) has finally officially entered the 21st century: they’ve gotten busted for editing articles on wikipedia.

Of course, the CIA has been in the 21st century far before the rest of us, it’s just that I’m surprised that it took them this long to get in cyber trouble.

The BBC lists the changes as “innocuous”, but that is entirely irrelevant. Wikipedia is a site for the people, by the people—and when we have the government overstepping its bounds by editing the site to reflect its own beliefs and motives, we have another vehicle for propaganda.

Wikipedia frequently takes down article that do not have a NPOV (neutral point-of-view)…and the CIA ran an article that said “WAHHHHHHH” before an article on the Iranian president.

The fact that there isn’t more outrage over this frustrates me—wikipedia itself should be up in arms. I understand that the people who work at the CIA are American citizens guaranteed the same basic rights at the rest of us. But, when the person is at work and making the edits, they reflect the company that they work for. In this case, this happens to be the CIA, a subsidiary of the American government.

This is a very touchy issue, of course: what happens when the CIA workers go home? What if they’re told by the government to edit there? We cannot ban the CIA from wikipedia, of course, because that infringes on basic American rights.

The wikipedia editors need to stay vigilant and need to clean up any CIA edits immediately. If any more of these incidences occur, wikipedia could soon be seen as just another tool of the American government and could be entirely discredited (as opposed to just mostly discredited) by the people.