Wikipedia and Conflict of Interest

An interesting article at "The Wiki-Hacker Strikes Again"

By matching users' IP addresses with the public database of addresses registered to different corporations, Griffith's "Wikiscanner" revealed widespread corporate meddling on Wikipedia, as companies attempted to add marketing pitches to their own entries, or hide controversies.

[...] The new Wikipedia-mining tool set allows users to not only filter Wikipedia edits, automatically pinpointing corporations who edit articles about their company or products, but also reveals the corporate affiliation of users whose business and personal IP addresses had been previously masked.
I agree that the anonymity of Wikipedia causes problems with conflict of interest. But this problem is certainly not limited to Evil Corporations. Should a person be allowed to edit his own biography? Should Sierra Club or the NRA or Planned Parenthood be able to edit their entries? Should Democrats edit the article on the Democratic Party? Or the Republican party for that matter? Should members of the McCain campaign be allowed to edit their candidate's page?

Suppose you have some beef with Dow Chemical. Perhaps you are a disgruntled former employee, suing Dow for mistreatment. So you go into the Wiki page, put in a few paragraphs describing poor employee treatment by Dow. Why shouldn't Dow be able to go in and provide some balance?

When this guy's software becomes widely available (in about a week), you will hear a lot from anti-corporate types about corporate abuse of Wikipedia. But corporate abuse is only the very tip of the iceberg.