Student tracks Wikipedia ‘starlight tour’ edits to Saskatoon police

Screen capture taken from university student Addison Herman. Addison Herman

SASKATOON – Addison Herman, a Vancouver Island University student from Saskatoon, was asked to do a report on the government’s treatment of aboriginals for class; and what he found out stirred a little bit of controversy.

“I followed a bunch of articles related to what we were covering – government treatment of aboriginals – to get a general background sense of other things going on at the time,” says┬áHerman.

“Through this I stumbled upon the SPS [Saskatoon Police Service] article and the changes that were made, which led me to find out it was their office that made the changes.”
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READ MORE: Former Saskatoon officer tries to clear name

A screen capture from Addison Herman shows edits on the SPS’s Wikipedia page. Addison Herman

Herman alleges he was able to track the removal of a section of information on ‘Starlight tours’ from the Saskatoon Police Service’s Wikipedia page to an IP address registered to the service.

Screen capture from Addison Herman shows tracked IP address. Addison Herman

According to the ‘starlight tours’ Wikipedia page the act is defined as, “a slang term originating in Canada for a non-sanctioned police practice of picking up vulnerable individuals in their cruisers, mainly aboriginal people, and taking them outside of town where they would be beaten and/or abandoned on the side of the road, that has resulted in at least one death by exposure.”

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The Saskatoon police have looked into the incident and say they can confirm the Wikipedia edit happened within the building, but can’t track it to an exact user or computer.

“The data usage and the computer logs aren’t kept for more than thirty days unless a need is identified, so obviously because we weren’t aware of this until recently, those logs have since been deleted,” says Saskatoon police social media relations specialist Kelsie Fraser.

“From my understanding there isn’t a way to find the exact computer or user that was used in this incident,” says Fraser.

“Wikipedia is certainly not an authorized source of information on the Saskatoon Police Service, but it’s not for the police service to tell people what they can and can’t be getting upset about. Like I said before we are fully committed to moving forward. We’ve never denied our past and we’ll never to do that in the future.”

The ‘starlight tours’ section of the Wikipedia page has now been re-populated with information.

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