Friday, 24 August 2007

Virgil hands the power of the Wiki over to the CIA

When I heard on the grapevine what Virgil Griffith had achieved with the Wiki Scanner my first thought was - what a cool idea. I even went to the trouble of telling him so.
But then i got to thinking. Was it really a great feat of engineering? Did he really expose organisational intent, or was it just some over zealous corporate ladder climbing types - or even a bunch of hackers who broke into a network and edited some carefully selected Wiki pages?In fact i began to realise that the whole revelation was as bad as alerting the world about other kinds of threat, like blowing up planes using toothpaste. There are two real outcomes of what Virgil did. Firstly, he created the conditions where every unethical computer hacker and its cat can now get back at the big brother monster by digging up dirt, which may or may not be true - yet hard to refute. Secondly and more importantly. Virgil has single-handedly alerted unethical organisations that they can be traced, making the likelihood of covert Wiki edits much more likely in the future. What he did is to say to organisations - here is a much better and safer route for you to edit Wiki pages (or any other site pages). Do it, but do it from outside your network.
Shame on you Virgil. Sometimes things are better left unsaid.

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