Offhand, I’m not sure why we’re supposed to be upset that a bunch of Wikipedia entries have been edited from federal government computers. A bunch of people work for the government, after all, and only a tiny fraction of them graduated from Regent University. Many of the rest actually know something. I wouldn’t want Wikipedia deprived of all that information.
If the edits are politically tendentious, that would be a reason to worry. But so far there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that. And if there are really dirty tricks going on, wouldn’t you expect the dirty tricksters to use cyber-cafes rather than federal computers?
An obvious solution, if indeed there’s a problem to be solved, would be to have a separate page on which every Wikipedia edit made from a federal computer gets listed. That would make it easy to find the propaganda. But that doesn’t get around the using-another-computer problem, nor the RNC problem, the ExxonMobil problem, or the Burston-Marsteller problem. There could, of course, be a law forbidding Federal employees from making Wikipedia changes except from Federal computers, but I’m not sure why we’d want to interfere with their free speech rights in that way, or cut off the flow of information from career staff that might be contrary to the party line.
A more modest solution — again, assuming that there is a problem — would be to forbid any Presidential appointee, non-career Senior Executive Service member, or Schedule C employee, from monkeying with Wikipedia or any similar site, or ordering or encouraging anyone else to do so. But I’m waiting for someone to find actual examples of bad-faith edits first.
Remember, if we start treating all information from the Federal government as automatically suspect, the
terrorists Bushoids will have won.