If you aren’t aware by now how Microsoft Word saves all revision and review information as a matter of its default behavior, then you need to know any interaction you have with a Word document of your creation — or if you are reviewing someone else’s Word document — does not protect your identity unless you interactively remove your private information.
You can imagine how this Word feature/problem is haunting for those
unaware of its nefarious power. This Word document tracking issue
played a role in the ramp up for the War in Iraq:
Back in February 2003, 10 Downing Street published a
dossier on Iraq’s security and intelligence organizations. This dossier
was cited by Colin Powell in his address to the United Nations the same
month. Dr. Glen Rangwala, a lecturer in politics at Cambridge
University, quickly discovered that much of the material in the dossier
was actually plagiarized from a U.S. researcher on Iraq. Blair’s
government made one additional mistake: they published the dossier as a
Microsoft Word file on their Web site. When I first heard from Dr.
Rangwala about the dossier, I decided to try to learn who had worked on
the document. I downloaded the Word file containing the dossier from
the 10 Downing Street Web site (http://www.number-10.gov.uk/) and found the following revision log in the file…
Continue reading → Public Private Peer Review and Microsoft Word