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back to article Homeland Security backs deportation with Wikipedia

The Department of Homeland Security has attempted to justify the deportation of an asylum seeker using an entry to Wikipedia. This convinced a US Immigration Judge. But thankfully, there are clearer thinkers in other parts of the American government. Last week, a federal court of appeals finally ruled that using Wikipedia to …

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Awesome!

Nice job, Metz! This is the stuff you should be writing about. Although you couldn't resist the odd flame, you seem much more calm and professional when you're not writing about Google.

And, yeah ... some major court decision will need to be rendered regarding the use of community-edited sites such as Wikipedia as the foundation of law. Based on the recent news that Sarah Palin's Wikipedia page was edited less than 24 hours before John McCain announced her as his choice for US Vice Presidential candidate to reference her achievements more glowingly and to eliminate anything not viewed by the GOP as a positive, it would seem that Wikipedia is just too manipulatable to be used as the basis for legal rulings.

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A definition of wear and tear...

... that was subsequently edited!

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Wikipedia

IS NOT an authority on ANY subject least of all on matters legal.

Desperation.

I'm getting very fucking sick and tired of this silly season of scare stories on el reg. Think I'll delete my bookmark ...

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Wikipedia and Scare Mongering

Wikipedia isn't useful for anything other than a general starting reference - sort of like Encyclopedia Britannica or Encarta. I'm abhorred that a federal judge even considered it. Jesus. I bet he makes a lot of money too.

Secondly I sort of have to back up Mr. Fleming's statement about the profusion of scare stories on El Reg in the past few months. I'm not sure why you guys are taking this angle but it is sort of wearing. (not terribly wearing, but just a little.) However I can get scare stories from Slashdot, CNN, or BBC; I'd rather not have too many of them on my favorite non porn website

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@Greg Fleming

Isn't Wikipedia not being an authority precisely what the point of the story is? It's definitely bad that it is being used as such (although it will be very entertaining if Jimbo ever has a trial with this happening)

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Gates Horns

el reg

...does all stories in a tabloid style on purpose. Mostly. Its called satire, and its funny.

Bill Gates, because I'm sure he's finding it funny that Google have turned to The Dark Side.

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xjy
Paris Hilton

Editing

Of course Reg's articles are edited objectively and impeccably by the world's foremost specialists on each topic dealt with. Or not. Likewise Britannica - unless these specialists are too busy working on their specialty or publishing their own stuff or consulting or advising to give a fuck about Britannica. And anyway, who the fuck edits the web updates on Britannica??

Google's Knols are all signed and can be pinned down... but so can WP's entries by disentangled and pinned down, and the nicks torn open if required.

So there's squabbling about a lot of entries. Oh dear. Disagreement in questions of knowledge and interpretation - unheard of!! Anyone who's ever worked at a university knows just what hotbeds of intrigue, backstabbing, backscratching, sexism, bullying, jobsworthiness, jealousy, turf-pissing, ignorance and stupidity they can be.And how hopeless many if not most of the so-called teaching staff are at actually imparting anything coherent about what they might or might not know.

So kudos to WP for making all the nasty scrummaging, rucking and mauling taking place in the field of knowledge and exposing it to full view. And the partialities and general cesspool stink of authority is present there too, of course. But that should be taken as a sign of adaptation to academic rigor (mortis) and not one of crappily inadequate information provision.

The clash of opinions in various states of contradiction makes WP a groundbreaking experiment in public, collective knowledge production, untried before in the world of commercial or monopoly public sector inquiry and reporting.

Mao wrote a book about handling contradictions. Time for the rest of the world to catch up and discuss this. The answer is not, as most authorities want it to be (eg Mao, Stalin, Pinochet, Blair, Homeland Security), to suppress all dissent, but to bring the dissent out into the open and present the reasons for it so people can choose (any fucking way they want - as informed impartial observers or axegrinding bigots).

There. Got that off my chest.

Wouldn't mind Paris on mine - to broaden my knowledge, quench my thirst for inquiry and actually get published for a change...

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The real scary part...

An "Immigration Judge" does not know the definitions of the terms he needs and has to go ask the plebeian resources.

It's a bit like a brain surgeon nipping down to the pub and finding a kitchen hand to give him advice on how to gut a big lump of flesh.

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ian
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Alert

The internet isn't the source of all knowledge?

O'course not, that's the Bible. Ask The Most Powerful Man In The World (tm), George W. Bush! And if you don't believe him, ask Tony Blair!

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Pirate

Agreed with Solomon,

that what appears in Wikipedia may be well and good but the sources cited therein should be pursued as well, es- frikken- specially when a legal/ INS judgement hangs in the balance.

However, since (a/o 2002, anyway, the rules may have changed since then) INS is not required to follow its own precedent (and in some areas -- deportation vis- a- vis firearms infractions being one -- is more or less allowed to spin the big wheel o' opinion), its unqualified citing of Wiki comes as no great surprise.

Jolly Roger being the closest to Dirty Harry ("you've got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?'; well, do ya', punk?"), whose iconic quote is emblematic of how one should approach all INS dealings.

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Paris Hilton

Just plain lazy

Here is an idea round up a translator call up whoever in Addis issued the thing and ask him it might work. It's important enough to warrant a little time and expense it's someones life.

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A bunch of drooling idiots...

...missuse tools and ensure that the choke hold of the Industro-Academic cult on daily life grows ever tighter.

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Hold on, hold on

But the wikipedia entry was correct, wasn't it? What are we bitching about, again?

Ok, ok, the judge should have double-checked elsewhere. Still...

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Anonymous Coward

What wikipedia is good for finding out about:

-World War I

-Railroads

-Squirrels

-Fresnel lenses

-Camera mechanisms

...what wikipedia is NOT good for finding out about:

-Celebrities

-Politicians

-Abortion

Basically, Wikipedia is fantastic for solidly verifiable, noncontroversial things. Any subject controversial enough to generate fringes who will spent their time editing and spinning is likely to be tampered with.

The only odd exception to this rule I've found is the entry for Salami, which despite being about the most prosaic (you would think) of items, had a discussion page with ethnic flame wars far as the eye could see. Apparently there was some disagreement over whose Salami was hardest... or something.

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Even national libraries reference Wikipedia

The other week I saw a big fat stapled printout of a Wikipedia article (on bootleg booze around the world) sitting proudly in an exhibition in the National Library of Finland in Helsinki. Do they not have any better sources?

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Joke

@Greg Fleming

Given that you "read" the article and seemed not to understand that it was highlighting a very important instance where Wikipedia was used when shouldn't have been, I think YES, on balance, you SHOULD delete your bookmark. You're not getting any value out if this site.

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The trouble with wikipedia...

is it relies on the honesty and integrity of those compiling or editing it to achieve any degree of accuracy.

However, people with a vested interest in distorting the *facts* have ample opportunity to do so. Without, it would appear, too many checks (if any) being done.

Wikipedia WAS a good idea, in principle.

But now, only a fool would take the information therein as 'accurate' without cross checking against at least two or three other sources.

And it should NEVER be allowed to be cited as a 'reference' in any court of law.

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@xjy

You hit that nail squarely on the head --- fantastic. I have noted it for future use, hope that's ok, but can only credit it to 'xjy'

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AC
Alien

but it entered the country illegally

who cares what this thing's identity is, it entered the country illegally on false documents.

Throw the fucknig thing out. We don't want no illegal aliens. DO NOT WANT!!!!!!!

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@ solomon grundy

You can be appalled, and quite rightly, but 'abhorred' = 'hated, reviled, loathed and rejected', no. Wikipedia could, for instance, be abhorred because one is appalled at its malleability.

If it's proper to get things right in regard to Wikipedia, surely also here?

Fly the flag high!

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Scary

I mean, why bother referring to the published legal precedents, or looking up the statute book, when you can refer to Wikipedia for unsubstantiated, personally biased, instantly editable by anyone, rumour?

Actually, what's scary is that anyone even contemplating this wasn't instantly disbarred!

Where does America get its Judges? The local Job-Centre?

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Unhappy

@David Wiernicki

Incontroversial issues? Squirrels??? They should not appear in this list!

Everyone knows that Squirrels are the real ruling class above humans, and even the mighty lizard overlords!

And their caste war is overflowing onto our streets now - The Greys using bio-warfare on the Reds. Their numbers dropping almost to none. War is so cruel!

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Linux

Why bother????

The person entered into the country on illegal documents. With this single fact he should be deported immediately even if his life is put at risk.

He came into the country illegally, so why should he expect to be given preferential treatment after he has proven that he is willing to break the law.

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Is wikipedia reliable? Check in wikipedia ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia

It's a big article. If you have a bit more time than me, add a section to say Wikipedia is not a suitable source for deciding immigration cases. Next time a Judge uses Wikipedia they can say its OK because Wikipedia said "don't" and he didn't follow the advice.

Now which goblet contains the iocane power?

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Pirate

@@David Wiernicki

I for One Welcome our Sciurus Vulgaris Overlords.

The Illustrious Red Faction must overthrow the Alien Grim Grey American Sciurus Carolinensis Usurpers who sought asylum here in the UK over a century ago.

Equal nuts for all, I say!

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Alert

But are wikipedians normal?

Many laws contain subjective terms that are sometimes judged on how a "normal person" would interpret them. So I guess the question is, are Wikipedia entries written by normal people?

I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

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Anonymous Coward

@Why bother???? By Jamie

"The person entered into the country on illegal documents. With this single fact he should be deported immediately even if his life is put at risk."

Charming. Humanity at it's finest.

I suppose if you and your innocent family were being persecuted, possibly under threat of torture and death, managed to make your way into safe territory by any means, you'd be quite happy if that territory's authorities marched you back to certain hell. Of course if the asylum seeker was bringing in millions of your merikan dollars in gold or diamonds you'd probably let him enter.

Fucking redneck cnut. Playtime's over get back in class.

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Jon

@But are wikipedians normal?

ahhh like the extreme porn laws. Quick check if "normal people" find it obscene, upload all your collection to "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Extreme_pr0n" & "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NonExtreme_pr0n" and let the public decide. Is it extreme... is it porn? (list_of_non_erotic_porn anyone)

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Happy

@Jamie

Correct me if I am wrong, but in the US you have no National Health, no welfare system to speak of, in short nothing for this guy to really sponge off, and yet still you insist on casting him out: he's a foreigner, not a Native American, ... hold on a minute, where did you come from?

I'll bet he will work harder than you do, and pay more tax dollars than you ever will, so where's the problem.

Shame the guy's lawyer didn't have a laptop handy, could just have said: "Wait a minute," (tappity tappity) "That's not what it says - look it clearly (now) says 'good as gold' here."

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Coat

what's in a name?

But was Badasa a bad-ass?

(it's the one with the rotten tomato stains, ta)

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Paris Hilton

can't think of anything useful to say, but ...

... Paris, because a wikipedia entry is the only sort she hasn't taken part in.

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Anonymous Coward

Well he might be abhorred

let's see what the wikipedia has to say on the subject oh wait.

The wikipedia is a grand old joke, it is useful at times, but of course because anyone can edit anything can happen. The DHS should have gone to source, and the Judge should not have admitted their wikipedia findings into evidence.

But what is happening is quite clear, people believe with any certainty the written word, that is why it is so powerful, of course the internet is just too abstract to believe anything on it, unless there are proven security features in place.

If you receive anything, or see anything on the net it is meaningless really, unless someone has attached a verfiable mechanism to it, that all parties trust.

Now of course this is common sense to technical folk, but the sheeple, well they will believe anything.

The digital world is fulll of magical illusion and full of impostors, but really who cares, only the monetary system has to worry about it, everything else you can filter and change if you like. If you have the audacity to build anything you think should operate legal decision making, then you better put in all the mathematics to prove beyond all mathematical uncertainty the identity of the author and their ability to make such claims.

If you want information in the digital village, well you have to pay for it and verify all your sources. That's really why publishers are not going away anytime soon.

Do I even believe this article, well no not 100%, do I enjoy commenting, well I suppose I may do, should you believe what is written here, definitely not, welcome to the paradox.

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Jamie & AC

He's not a 'thing', he's a person. He may have entered the country on a fake passport, but at least consider his claim for aslyum. If found baseless, then send him back, but remember America is a country founded by those looking to escape persecution.

"Give me your tired, your poor", and all that...

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Unhappy

Well

I, for one, welcome our power-controlling squirrel overlords. Maybe they can chew some sense into that judge. Remember, INS is like the IRS...a whole world unto themselves.

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Stop

you all miss the point

guy commits fraud, fakes federal documents-not to sneak out of an oppressive country but to sneak *in* to another one. At that point he is caught and starts gaming the system. Why the hell did any sort of reference to legal trickery become necessary at all?!

"let's see. you faked a passport to violate customs. You did it not to escape your own country but now are claiming asylum from it. Your very first activity on our soil was a federal crime. Common sense tells me that your 'asylum" is only in response to the fact you got caught.

"Bailiff, put his @ss on the first boat back to his claimed home nation. And if he returns again under false pretenses, or is found in this country without having entered legally, have him executed. "

because the ONLY reason for ILLEGAL immigration is criminal. EVER. Regardless of what well funded groups of propagandists try to sell you. If anything, it's "criminally" easy to get one's citizenship. Within 5 miles of my office, there are almost a dozen attorneys who will handle every aspect of the paperwork...you don't even need to learn English, these guys are pretty slick, much less that pesky "learning the laws of the land" or that "oppressive" Ellis island memorization thing. Just hand over $300 cash, and show up when asked to fill out the paperwork. Sure there's a few more steps, but if you're an "honest hard working" individual "just looking for a better opportunity" then you'll have no trouble getting this done.

However, if you're here as an "indentured servant" to a coyote or Asian gang, or here as a member of aforementioned gang or Mexican cartel, or even a declared member of any South American or Mexican military, then yeah, it's a little harder to get legal. But then, "immigrants" such as these have *no intention* of ever getting citizenship, just getting the benefits, and now clogging the courts with "asylum" claims that are absolute b*llocks.

P.s. Bleeding hearts, propaganda soldiers, don't even bother with rebuttals on how you "think" or "feel" that I'm "wrong" in order to bolster your "cause". This is what I do for a living. California Social Services. I see it every day, in welfare offices, in the police stations, in the American "barrios" where I'm too stubborn to leave. And this is only one county-I doubt that this county's situation is rare.

P.P.s. what's real fun is seeing county government resources, and even some misappropriated federal funds, to host, aid, and abet Reconquista and La Raza members and sympathisers. City Council members with plenty of VST and Calle XIII support...police ordered NOT to question immigration status of arrested and even convicted prisoners....

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Paris Hilton

wikipedia.com??

"not condone or encourage the use of resources such as Wikipedia.com..."

Ahem. wikipedia.org, please. One more fine example of the quality of court rulings.

Paris, because she's another fine example... Of something.

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Dead Vulture

Misdirected link

It would be nice if teh supposed link to the ruling actually linked there instead of to a boring oece about reaction to google's profits.

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Wikipedia?!

I thought the law was supposed to use the Mariam Webster.

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