Thursday, August 30, 2007

MabelGate Redux, Thanks to WikiScanner

UPDATE: The IHT has the official story. I wudn't have posted this blog entry if I thought AP wanted it...


Original post:

Ah, it warms my heart to see 1,000 scandals bloom. The new Wikiscanner, created by some young genius at CalTech, can be used to trace the IP address of any computer that makes changes to Wikipedia, revealing bad-acting editors around the world.

It has already shamed WalMart, the CIA, the BBC, the Australian government, and now Mabel Wisse Smit, known to the Dutch media primarily for "Mabelgate."

Mabel was set to marry Prince Friso, which would have put the couple and their spawn second in line to the Dutch throne after Friso's big brother Willem Alexander and his brood.

But after a television program by crime reporter Peter Paul "Tintin" De Vries unearthed details of her college relationship with a known drugs baron (Klaas Bruinsma, who stopped smoking in 1991), the prime minister said he couldn't sign off on the marriage because the pair had given him "incomplete and incorrect information."

They ended up getting married in 2004 anyway, but had to relinquish any claim to the throne.

The Wikipedia entry on "Mabelgate" reported what they gave the prime minister Balkenende as "incomplete and false information," but the entry was changed twice to remove the word "false" by a computer whose IP address can now be traced to a Dutch palace. Whoops.

The couple quickly 'fessed up. Not much point in denying changing your Wikipedia entry when you've already confessed to misleading the prime minister...

I think there's much, much more dirt where this came from. Better dirt too, though of course falsifying a Wikipedia entry is not a crime.

What Dutch corporations and or institutions are likely to have changed their entries? I can think of about a dozen...

What about, say, Trafigura? Not purely a hypothetical idea. I'm open to suggestions...

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