The Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, is already investigating changes to the Wikipedia site of an MP made using a House of Commons computer. Now, someone is also using the computers to talk about bodily off-gassing.
Sean Kilpatrick / CP
Someone has been using federal government computers to, um, vent about bodily gases.
Unknown people with access to House of Commons and federal government computers have been using their time and taxpayer resources to make anonymous changes to Wikipedia pages on everything from eating beans, to the Stanley Cup, to Honda vehicles, soft drinks, a Nova Scotia baseball league and Conservative MPs.
Even cartoon dog Scooby-Doo is involved.
On Friday, someone using Parliament Hill computers made changes to a Wikipedia page about beans, to explain that they can cause lots of gas, according to an Internet bot that tweets anonymous entries to Wikipedia pages from federal government Internet addresses.
The entry on beans initially explained that they have been an important source of protein throughout history. Then, someone on a House of Commons computer address added his or her own touch.
And still today, they will make you fart like there is no tomorrow, says the edit, according to the Gov. of Canada edits Twitter account (@gccaedits1).
Accessing government devices and networks for personal use on things such as updating various Wikipedia pages appears to fall within federal rules, as long as the action doesn t occur during work hours.
It s not always a laughing matter.
Two weeks ago, Speaker Andrew Scheer launched an investigation into potentially defamatory changes to independent MP Dean Del Mastro s Wikipedia entry from someone using the Parliament Hill computer network.
People using federal computers to make changes to the online encyclopedia, raises questions about resource use at a time when the Conservatives are looking to reduce government waste.
Other computers on the broader federal government network are also being used to tinker with Wikipedia pages.
On Friday, someone accessing a computer on the network for Shared Services Canada the department responsible for managing the federal government s IT infrastructure made changes to a Wikipedia entry on the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League.
A separate anonymous edit Friday from someone on the Shared Services Canada network made changes to a Wikipedia entry on the international availability of Fanta (a fruit-flavoured soft drink) to apparently add that Fanta Zero isn t available in Canada.
Other recent changes by someone on the Shared Services Canada network included minor edits to a page on the 1946 Stanley Cup Finals.
Someone on the House of Commons network also made a minor change Friday to the Wikipedia entry for Conservative MP Costas Menegakis.
Earlier this week, someone accessing a computer at the Department of National Defence made minor edits to the Wikipedia entry for animated sleuth Scooby-Doo.
Other anonymous edits by someone on the DND network included cleaning up typos to the Wikipedia entry on former Alberta premier Alison Redford, and minor edits to a page on the Honda CR-X del Sol.
The Internet Protocol (IP) addresses recorded by Wikipedia indicate the recent changes were made by people accessing the House of Commons computer network and the broader government network used by various departments.
The government allows limited personal use of federal networks and devices that is conducted on personal time, that is not for financial gain, that does not incur any additional costs for the department, and that does not interfere with the conduct of business.
A spokesperson for federal Treasury Board president Tony Clement, whose department establishes computer protocols for federal employees, said suspected misuse of government computers will be investigated.
Federal government employees are expected to abide by the Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use.
If misuse is suspected, the incident will be investigated and action will be taken as per the policy, Stephanie Rea, director of communications for Clement, said in an email.
The IP addresses used on the House of Commons and federal government networks to make the Wikipedia edits could come from any one of thousands of computers.
The House of Commons network alone can be accessed by potentially more than 1,000 people, including MPs, their staff members, Commons officials and even journalists.
Examples of limited personal use of government computers, according to the federal government s Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use, include:
- Read or contribute to online forums, blogs, discussion groups, or wikis on topics of personal interest ;
- Update a personal blog, micro-blog, social networking page, or Web page that is for non-commercial purposes or does not otherwise constitute unacceptable use (such as criminal behaviour or violating Treasury Board policies); and
- Visit social networking sites to connect with family and friends.
- ^ @gccaedits (twitter.com)
- ^ email@example.com (ottawacitizen.com)
- ^ http://twitter.com/jasonfekete (twitter.com)