Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Shelly Glover meet @gccaedits ..... @gccaedits meet Shelly Glover!"

Good Day Readers:

It's hilarious how federal politicians (and others) are scrambling these days to self-sanitize but are getting caught. You'd have thought Ms Glover, her staff or whomever would have known better - apparently not.

Wonder if she, her staff or whomever will have the presence of mind not to try to erase that Tupperware, love-in fundraiser or whatever it was held at the home of a member of her constituency riding last January which Liberal Ralph Goodale asked the federal Ethics Commission to investigate?

After contacting Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, CyberSmokeBlog received an acknowledgement reply saying it would have a a more detailed response in about three days. It's now starting to feel more like three weeks. Will "The Shelly" come clean in her next, now famous honkin, Mother of all Pablum-laced, puffery-laden taxpayer mail-outs? Stay tuned.

Clare L. Pieuk
Twitter account tracks anonymous Wiki edits from House of Commons addresses

House of Commons computers are being used to anonymously re-write Wikipedia articles, and a new Twitter account is exposing them.

Alex Boutilier/Staff Reporter
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Political biographies on Wikipedia have been altered by House of Commons-connected IPs including the deletion of aspects of the Senate spending scandal from Pamela Wallin's biography. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA—What do Pamela Wallin, a defunct CFL team, and the Communications Security Establishment of Canada have in common?
All have had their Wikipedia entries anonymously altered by people using government-associated Internet protocol addresses. And a new Twitter account is tracking those changes.
Government of Canada Edits (@gccaedits) is a Twitter bot that automatically tweets whenever a Wikipedia entry is edited anonymously from a House of Commons-associated IP address.
In just six days, the account has publicized changes to numerous entries, including biographical notes for MPs, the list of Canadian Forces special operations units, the page on the defunct Ottawa Renegades CFL team, and — fittingly enough — the entry for the Canadian Museum of History.
The site was inspired by similar initiatives in Britain and the United States, where Twitter bots have found anonymous changes to topics from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to Choco Taco ice cream snacks. The U.S. version, @congressedits, made the source code for the program public, spawning new accounts in Australia, Germany, South Africa, Ireland and other countries. Other accounts track changes from police and security agencies, including the RCMP.
Nick Ruest, a York University digital assets librarian, tailored the program to pick up changes from the House of Commons, the Department of National Defence, and Industry Canada.
“It’s a way to empower the citizenry to see what’s going on,” Ruest said on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of things that are good that can happen (with the edits), but there are a lot of things that are bad. It’s just transparency, and that’s the key thing for me.”
Ruest’s program monitors every time an edit is made to a Wikipedia article, filtering out the edits made by people who have logged in to the online encyclopedia. It then takes those edits and checks them against a list of IP addresses associated with the Canadian government. The program then automatically tweets the changes to almost 2,000 people.
Now that more people know about @gccaedits, Ruest says he hopes to add more government IP addresses to the code to pick up more changes.
Most of what the bot has captured have been minor changes to wording, like changing Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro’s former occupation from “used car salesman” to “auto salesman.”
Perhaps prompted by the publicity of @gccaedits, that changed sparked a debate on the online encyclopedia around Del Mastro’s recent election overspending trial.
But subsequent investigation from the online news outlet VICE found that other political biographies had been altered by House of Commons-connected IPs — including the deletion of aspects of the Senate spending scandal from Wallin’s biography, and changes to Conservative deputy Senate leader Yonah Martin’s role in the suspension of Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.
Heritage Minister Shelly Glover’s office confirmed to VICE that they were behind the anonymous removal of parts of her bio concerning overspending during the 2011 election. Glover reached a compliance agreement with Elections Canada in November concerning the $2,267 in overspending, which was determined to be a mistake. (emphasis by CyberSmokeBlog)
But even the more banal changes inform Canadians of how history is written on the Internet, and by whom. Ruest anticipates that more and more free tools will be developed to help increase that kind of awareness.
“This goes along with open government and open data initiatives,” Ruest said. “All this data is out there and available, and it’s (about) grabbing it and doing something with it.”
With files from The Canadian Press


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