Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Virgil Griffith has put together a fascinating data-mining tool that compares anonymous Wikipedia edits to WHOIS records for IP addresses, to allow users to examine edits made by people at particular organizations. The tool can be used to examine edits by people at the NSA (Ft. Meade), the CIA, the Church of Scientology, Bob Jones University, the Environmental Protection Agency, Diebold, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wal-Mart, Pfizer, Raytheon, The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, the WorldNetDaily, Fox News, the Republican and Democratic Party, the Vatican, among many others. The organizations listed here are all listed on the side of the tool's main search page, but there are many more in the drop-down list of user-submitted organizations, and you can specify organization names and locations.

Wired magazine has assembled a list of some of the more interesting edits, such as someone at Diebold deleting references to security flaws in electronic voting machines and someone at the CIA editing song lyrics from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Griffith, who built Wikiscanner while working at the Santa Fe Institute, begins graduate work in September at Caltech on theoretical neurobiology and artificial life under Christoph Koch and Chris Adami.

It's wonderful when data mining can be used for good purposes.

(Hat tip to Scott Peterson on the SKEPTIC list.)

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