Monday February 09, 2015

Father of Rehtaeh Parsons says he knows who made Wikipedia edits

Listen 6:53
parsons wikipedia

Rehtaeh Parsons' father, Glen Canning, says he knows who used Department of National Defence computers to make changes to his late daughter's Wikipedia entry. Someone has altered references that indicate she was allegedly sexually assaulted and that she committed suicide. 

"I believe it's a relative of one of the boys charged in her case," Canning tells As it Happens host Carol Off in an interview. 

Canning says he first alerted military police last October when he noticed someone with an IP address belonging to a military computer was making malicious comments about his daughter on his own blog. And then last month, he noticed the same IP address making changes to Wikipedia.

Canning confirmed that DND is investigating its personnel in response to information that its computers appear to be linked to the Wikipedia edits. Canning says they're also investigating the comments made in October. "I heard from [DND] in the last couple of weeks to say that they're moving ahead on this...and they're hoping to have some more information for me soon."  

Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support in April 2013 and died, just days after she attempted to kill herself. Her parents say she was sexually assaulted at a party, and was tormented by classmates after a photo of the incident was distributed online.     

In late January, someone using a computer at DND even changed a quote from Canning that read: "The two boys involved in taking and posing for the photograph stated Rehtaeh was throwing up when they had sex with her. That is not called consensual sex. That is called rape." The quote was edited to read "that is called consensual sex."

Canning tells As It Happens, "I don't cope with it very well. A lot of the times I'm very angry. It's extremely difficult...You spend so much time walking around with your hands up trying to block punches that you just get tired of it."  

"What's shocking to me would be that someone is so arrogant ... to think they would be able to do something like this and get away with it. Their name is going to be known across Canada very soon...Why would you post lies, you know are not true?"

Canning is confident that DND will find out who is making the erroneous changes from a government IP address, "I'm ex-military. I was 25 years in the Navy. So I know exactly what the policy is for using DND computers and it's a very strict policy. I've seen what happens to people who violate it. It's not a good thing."

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Rehtaeh Parsons' father Glen Canning (CBC)