Journos sue State of Arkansas over Wikipedia data editing

In an escalation of a row that has been brewing for some months, two Associated Press journalists have sued the state of Arkansas for allegedly withholding information about which government computers were used to edit entries on Wikipedia. This is, they claim, a contravention of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in the US.

According to the AP newswire (naturally enough -Ed), AP Arkansas news editor Kelly Kissel and reporter Jon Gambrell have filed a lawsuit against State Governor Mike Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and officials with the state's Department of Information Systems.

The lawsuit asks the court to order state officials to reveal the physical locations of five PCs that were used while editing information about politicians on Wikipedia.

Back in August, the AP newswire reported that state computers were used to edit information about several Republican presidential candidates - the AP reporters obtained this data from Wikiscanner, a Web site that tracks changes to the main Wikipedia database.

Not unexpectedly, the state of Arkansas turned down the FOI Act request by the AP without giving a reason.

The case is interesting as the Arkansas FOI Act does not allow for an administrative appeal after a request has been denied. The requester must either accept the denial or file a lawsuit to overturn it.

As they say - watch this space....