Departmental Internet

Health written question – answered on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1179W, on the departmental internet, how many of those creations and amendments were made by (a) special advisers, (b) Ministers and (c) communications officials; and how many of those creations and amendments were made from the IP addresses of (i) special advisers, (ii) Ministers and (iii) communications officials.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department of Health

Creations and amendments to Wikipedia made from departmental computers are identified by a single IP address as all traffic passes out through a 'proxy' server and the IP address is that of the server not the individual computer.

All staff internet traffic is recorded and identifies which sites are visited by staff but does not identify what activity has taken place. Therefore, it is possible to identify from records which staff have visited the Wikipedia site but not to identify what entries have been accessed or whether they have been created or amended.

From August 2007, Wikipedia has blocked the Department's IP address for creating or amending entries. Information on the Wikipedia site indicates that this has occurred because it has identified the IP address as being shared by many users. Since the IP address has been blocked, staff wishing to create or edit entries from departmental computers must create a user account with Wikipedia. Wikipedia will not release details of user accounts.

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