UK Government wiki defaced: What did you expect?

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Our government seems keen to utilise the latest technology, even if the results aren’t the most exciting (how entertaining can you make politics without John Prescott on call 24/7?). If it’s not posting to YouTube it’s setting up a blog or a wiki.

And no, just to clarify, ‘wiki’ is not taking a day off sick – it’s an information website that’s editable by its visitors. Kind of ‘social editing’.

We all know Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia that’s been hacked to pieces over the years. With that in mind, just imagine what’s going to happen to a wiki set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Oh yes…

Hackers made some ’embarrassing changes’ reports VNUnet, including reports of a swastika image posted to one page and some interesting modifications:

The wiki was edited to include advice for citizens to “pay a higher proportion of their income to the government, and see little tangible improvement in their standard of living”.

The tools needed to bring about this change were listed as “spade, organic yoghurt stirrer, old washing up liquid bottle, sticky-back plastic”.

Environment Secretary David Miliband commented on his blog: “Since writing this I gather that we have demonstrated the extreme openness of the wiki by playing host to some practical jokes… Strange how some people get their kicks. But the experiment will continue.”

What do you think? Open Government on the Web?

(Via VNUNet)

Andy Merrett

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