Vandals target PAP Wiki entry

Vandals target PAP Wiki entry

What's in a name?

Plenty, going by the rash of edits on Wikipedia's entry about the People's Action Party (PAP).

There in black and white, unknown vandals dubbed the PAP as Party Against People. Its youth wing was called YoPAP.

Wikipedia is an open platform that works like a free encyclopedia. Users can edit content posted by others on the website.

The online graffiti comes after a 71-year-old man was arrested for alleged vandalism of bus stops at Clarke Quay.

Like the man, Wikipedia user AlikVesilev voiced support for blogger Roy Ngerng, whose alleged claims in a blog post last month against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have resulted in a defamation suit.

Mr Ngerng's employer Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) sacked him on Tuesday.

The next day, AlikVesilev lamented in the Wikipedia entry that freedom of speech was suppressed in Singapore, claiming the Government got the Ministry of Health and TTSH to fire Mr Ngerng because he had spoken against the "government ruling of CPF".

AlikVesilev wrote that if he is arrested for editing the article, it would show that the Government of Singapore is a fascist regime.

Other users then revised the contents more than 20 times.

FACTS VS OPINIONS

PAP member Baey Yam Keng said they discovered the revisions yesterday morning and "have gone in to correct the facts".

"While doing so, there seems to be a battle going on, with a coordinated effort from a few accounts to undo what was corrected," said Mr Baey, who is deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications and Information.

The party will monitor the situation, he added.

"It is not appropriate that names are changed, and accusations and opinions added," Mr Baey said. "Ultimately, the public will make its own judgment (and) I'm confident the Internet community can tell facts from malicious acts."

Given Wikipedia's collaborative nature, it seems virtually impossible to safeguard a page, Internet security expert Julian Ho said.

While the affected party can contact Wiki's office to block certain users, it will be limited by the platform's rules of engagement, which lets anyone modify the content, he said.

"It becomes a question of who can outlast whom," he said.

Monitoring the page and editing when required would be faster.

DIGITAL CLUE

Based on the digital footprint, The New Paper understands the account that initially made the edit was likely to have come from a location in central Singapore.

Said Mr Ho, the chief operating officer of ThinkSecure: "Tracing the user who was assigned this IP address (at this particular time) would lead you closer to either the attacker himself or a machine that the attacker has compromised."

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