Feeds

French spies do a Barbara Streisand over secret nuke radio base

Sacrée vache! Violoneux-wiki ont laissé échapper le force de frappucino

Top three mobile application threats

A Wiki page about a French military base has gone viral after Gallic spooks tried to censor it.

French internal spies at the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur called in a volunteer Wiki editor to their Paris office and ordered him to spike an entry about the Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute, a military radio base in central France.

The volunteer, named in the French media (en Francais) as Pierre-Carl Langlais, a 30-year-old curator at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, quickly agreed to their demands even though he did not write the original entry.

However, despite his warnings on a discussion thread that anyone who reposted it would be "engaging in criminality", the page was quickly uploaded again by another Wikimedia volunteer before being translated into several languages.

The page, which apparently contains very little (or nothing) in the way of sensitive information, had been almost unvisited up to that point.

Following its reinstatement by enraged French Wiki users the page received 120,000 views over the weekend of 6/7 April, according to some reports.

The case has been hailed as an example of the Barbara Streisand effect, a phenomenon observed when the singer tried to remove a photo of her house from public records. Rather than disappearing, the image was then widely published around the world.

A Wikimedia statement said: "The Foundation takes allegations of national security threats seriously and investigated the matter accordingly.

"However, it was not readily apparent what specific information the DCRI could consider classified or otherwise high-risk. Without further information, we could not understand why the DCRI believes information in the article is classified."

According to Wikimedia, "almost all of the information in the article is cited to publicly-available sources", much of it gleaned from a television interview with Major Jeansac, the officer commanding the station, in which he showed a reporter around the base.

The Pierre-sur-Haute base is thought to be a link in the communications chain for France's nuclear deterrent. France operates a flotilla of four Triomphant-class nuclear ICBM submarines, similar to Blighty's Vanguard class vessels, as well as a force of Mirage M-2000N jets armed with standoff nuclear weapons.

Do you know why the spooks were so keen to keep this Wikipedia entry out of the public eye? Get in touch with El Reg and tell us. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
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
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
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
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.