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Offensive Wikipedia edits made in Whitehall

THE use of Whitehall computers to make offensive changes to a Wikipedia page about the Hillsborough disaster has provoked a storm of fury and a hunt for the rogue user.

Now it has emerged that IP addresses allocated to the Westminster government network have also been used to make racist comments, defame authors and poke fun at different areas of the country, including Clydebank and Barlanark.

The Cabinet Office is investigating after it emerged a user on the government's secure intranet had made edits to the Hillsborough page, including amending the words of the Liverpool FC anthem to "You'll Never Walk Again" and adding the phrase "Blame Liverpool Fans" to a paragraph.

Yesterday fresh questions were raised after an examination of Wikipedia changes made from an IP address allocated to the government network suggested the problem could be more widespread. One from November 2006 shows an individual wrote about "killing or enslaving" black people on the entry for Howick Falls in South Africa.

In 2011, one user described Barlanark in the east end of Glasgow as being a place "where the men are men, and so are half the women" on the area's Wikipedia entry. Around the same time, the page for Clydebank was also vandalised by a Whitehall user, with the words: "It is known locally as a total s***hole".

Wikipedia archives all page changes, and records the editors' IP addresses - their online "footprint" - and automatically creates a page that logs the activity linked to that address.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said later: "We have already announced an investigation to examine offensive edits to Wikipedia, and will look at other concerns raised."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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