06:00 AM

A Reader Writes: Internet Research Ethics Org Appoints A Wikipedia Vandal

A reader writes:

I feel like a tattle-tell by wrinting this, but I think this a story that should be told.

Back in 2004 a person, using the pseudonym "Joe Isuzu" logged into Wikipedia and vandalized 13 records. An alert editor noticed that random editing was being done from the same IP address. Examining the records he found the errors and corrected them. The perpetrator, when confronted with the vandalism, explained it away as a research project to test the validity of Wikipedia data. Had the vandal masked his IP address the errors migh have taken a great deal longer to detect and the actual perpetrator might not have been found. In the law, the fact that he used a pseudonym demostrated "guilty knowledge."

Ordinarily this incident would slip into cyber-history and be forgotten, but the perpetrator has become a Vice President for The Asociation of Internet Researchers (AOIR). This organization holds itself out as the author for Internet research ethics. The role the perpetrator now plays is to be a spokesman for these ethical standards.

IMHO, this situation is equivalent to electing Michael Mitnick (SP) to be a leader of EFF. Dr. Alex Halavais is the perpetrator and the incident can be found by searching on Google for the "Isuzu Experiment."

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Alexander Halavais - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Isuzu Experiment - a thaumaturgical compendium

Association of Internet Researchers » Blog Archive » VP Candidate: Alex Halavais