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August 15 2007

The CIA is watching... Buffy! Wired explores the "anonymous" editing of Wikipedia - and notes that someone inside the Central Intelligence Agency edited a page about song lyrics in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

No further information available. [via]

Ugh. Great. Now some fan is probably going to lose their job for 'inappropriate use of government computer systems.'
Heh. I saw this and thought about posting it here. One of those instances where I hesitated (that would be most), and now here it is. The original site was overrun with traffic earlier today though, so I couldn't check the actual edit out.

The interesting thing: they're not just watching Buffy. They're singing along:

One CIA entry deals with the details of lyrics sung in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode.

The not-so-interesting thing: It's a fairly minor edit among many minor edits to other topics made from the same IP. Wired made this particular edit seem more interesting than it is, really. I suppose the technical edit to the lightsaber combat article wasn't enough to work with.
It's so nice to see my tax dollars hard at work.
Thanks Sunfire for tracking the edit down! Yes, it is minor. And in no way as interesting as Deibold editing information about them... but I found the juxtaposition amusing.
Oh c'mon, Fitz. I'm sure a lot of CIA jobs require monitoring a work station for a given amount of time, whether or not there's any real work to do. Who doesn't surf in that situation?
I couldn't get the page to scroll down, anyone else have a problem?
I suspect Diebold, of course.
OK, it worked the second time I tried. And yay for Virgil Griffin, the CalTech grad student tracking this stuff.
It's so nice to see my tax dollars hard at work.

Actually, it's nice to see your tax dollars at work promoting accuracy and truth. Something the CIA has not necessarily been known for in the past ;).

(nor, in fairness, has any other intelligence agency, quite often the SIS i.e. MI6, Britain's equivalent, just rides the CIA's coat-tails - when they're not in active cahoots)

Ugh. Great. Now some fan is probably going to lose their job for 'inappropriate use of government computer systems.'

He/she is probably going to be behind a layer of Network Address Translation (as can probably be surmised by the other entries that IP address has edited) so it'd probably be fairly difficult to track them to a specific workstation (doable because the exact time is given but time-consuming and dependent on pretty comprehensive logs. Though I guess you'd expect - or hope anyway ;) - that the CIA does keep pretty comprehensive logs of their network activity).

Still, does make you wonder where the intelligence services stand on Spuffy vs Bangel ;-).

The guy's project is a really brilliant idea, it addresses one of the great strengths and at the same time possibly the single greatest weakness of Wikipedia - there's absolutely no accountability for edits.
Those guys are all Tillow shippers! :-)
Still, does make you wonder where the intelligence services stand on Spuffy vs Bangel ;-).


They’re probably Buffy/Riley shippers.
My wife and I started watching Buffy during the rebroadcasts of Season 6. We saw OMWF and were amazed...I was perplexed by a transcript I found online, as it had dialogue that wasn't in the show we'd seen. Much later, my wife was watching Season 6 on VHS tapes we bought on eBay, and she told me we had to watch OMWF again...that the one we saw was missing lots of stuff...I wonder if this "edit" is a correction of work done by someone who only had seen the truncated version.
He/she is probably going to be behind a layer of Network Address Translation (as can probably be surmised by the other entries that IP address has edited) so it'd probably be fairly difficult to track them to a specific workstation (doable because the exact time is given but time-consuming and dependent on pretty comprehensive logs. Though I guess you'd expect - or hope anyway ;) - that the CIA does keep pretty comprehensive logs of their network activity).


I work in private sector Information Security, and if I can do this at my company (and I can), then I expect that the CIA will be able to do so, and likely rather more easily.
Chris inVirginia, I recall that on the initial broadcast, OMWF was intended to run roughly 10 minutes longer than a standard episode and for that initial broadcast the network let Joss and Mutant Enemy do so, with slightly shorter commercial breaks and/or coming into the next scheduled program a few minutes after the top of the hour.

On reruns on UPN (not sure about those on FX), the episode was edited down to fit the standard running time. Perhaps this is the source of the edit in question, as you suggested; possibly due to viewing a shortened rerun. Who knows?


On reruns on UPN (not sure about those on FX), the episode was edited down to fit the standard running time. Perhaps this is the source of the edit in question, as you suggested; possibly due to viewing a shortened rerun. Who knows?


All shows are edited in syndication, only OMWF was edited more, since it's much longer. In fact, for a lot of shows (and probably depending on the network), the first airing is sometimes the only time an episode airs intact.
I agree, crossoverman. It's still an interesting and amusing bit of information.
I work in private sector Information Security, and if I can do this at my company (and I can), then I expect that the CIA will be able to do so, and likely rather more easily.

Sure, technically it's fairly trivial but my point was more*, why would they bother ? Unless OMWF lyrics are considered a national security issue (or at least, more of one than the apparently unpunished "first female Yale graduate" or "statements and blocks" edits).

I would've thought they'd only bother trawling through logs if there was a security risk and if the CIA are allowing machines or networks with sensitive information on them to connect to the net, well, it's not the poor schlub editing Buffy entries that should get in trouble IMO.

ETA: BTW, though that was what I had in mind, reading my previous post back, that's where it stayed i.e. it never made it from mind to page, mea culpa ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2007-08-16 11:16 ]
Just goes to prove that Buffy has fans everywhere!

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