[-empyre-] timelessness and the archive? or timeliness and the archive?

rtf9 at cornell.edu rtf9 at cornell.edu
Thu Nov 22 05:07:17 EST 2007

About thirty minutes ago The New York Times released an article about 
the the largest loss of personal and financial data caused by two 
computer discs that were lost in the mail.  The loss of digital data 
by an analog glitch affecting 25 million citizens or about half of 
the population of Britain inspired me to write this quick post.

I mentioned to Tim last night that one of the things that seemed to 
be missing in this month's  discussion is the affect of 
archiving....glitches....memory loss within the structures of 
governments and political systems.  How does  the process of 
archiving and or manipulating the data in  national archives 
(financial archives like the one in Britain or even the archives of 
population census data)  shape political causes, propaganda, national 
politics, and the collective historical memory of a country?

LONDON, Nov. 21 - Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain apologized 
today for a security breach that resulted in the loss of millions of 
Britons' bank account details and other personal data and has raised 
the specter of financial fraud on a massive scale.

Security experts described it as the largest incident of its kind in 
Europe, though surpassed by several data leaks in the United States.

The data went astray when two computer discs from the tax authorities 
were lost in the mail last month. The discs contained information on 
25 million people - or nearly half the British population - from 
families that receive a government financial benefit for children.

The information included details like names, addresses and national 
insurance numbers - the British equivalent of social security numbers 
- as well as similar information on almost every child under 16 in 
Britain. The discs were sent using a private parcel delivery firm, 
and were apparently protected by a password but were not encrypted.
Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall
<rtf9 at cornell.edu>

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