Feeds

Sockpuppeting British politico resigns from Wikisupremecourt

Do as I Wikisay not as I Wikido

Top three mobile application threats

More than two years after the notorious Essjay Scandal, Wikipedia's ruling body still has a weakness for sockpuppetry.

A Labour councillor for London's City of Westminster resigned from Wikipedia's supreme court at the weekend, after admitting he gained election to the site's ruling body using a false name.

David Boothroyd - councillor for Westminster's Westbourne ward - was elected to Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee in December 2007 under the name Sam Blacketer and has edited the overly-egalitarian online encyclopedia under at least three other names.

After his identity was questioned on a Wikiobsessed shadow site known as Wikipedia Review, Boothroyd stepped down from Wikipedia's ruling body, pointing out that he had publicly announced an intention to resign earlier this year.

The eighth most popular site on the web, Wikipedia bills itself as the "free encyclopedia anyone can edit." Editing from multiple accounts is officially verboten on the grounds that it would allow editors to promote self-serving content on what is ostensibly a "neutral" source of information. But so often, such sockpuppeting is facilitated by the site's steadfast devotion to anonymous editing and a belief that administrators should "assume good faith."

When standing for election to the Arbitration Committee - known in Orwellian fashion as the ArbCom - Boothroyd's platform included the notion that "editors should be encouraged to register accounts, and then ideally to stick to one account."

On a private email list used by the Arbitration Committee, Boothroyd acknowledged his real identity and admitted to using a second Wikipedia account under the names Fys and Dbiv. He has also used a third account under his own name.

We contacted Boothroyd via email and the web, but he has yet to respond to our questions.

Elected by the Wikipedia community at large, the Arbitration Committee resolves site disputes and serves as the final word on site policy. In the wake of Boothroyd's resignation, the community is discussing whether it should review the 18 months of Wikicourtcases in which Boothroyd cast a vote.

According to Boothroyd's Wikipedia biography - which has been purged from the site - he also works as the head of research at Indigo Public Affairs, "a company specialising in urban regeneration schemes and lobbying for planning consent." He's the author of Politico's Guide to The History of British Political Parties, published in 2001. And he maintains a site that details United Kingdom Election Results.

Prior to serving on the Westminster City Council, he worked for two Labour MPs: John Battle, MP for Leeds West, and Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham.

Under the name Sam Blacketer, Labour solider David Boothroyd edited one particular article more than any other: the article on Conservative Party leader David Cameron. On May 15, Boothroyd changed the photo on the David Cameron entry, preferring one "not carrying saintly overtones." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.