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

monica notebook at justfornow.net
Thu Nov 22 22:01:35 EST 2007

hi renate,
thanks for bringing this into the discussion... its coincidence with 
the list topic is indeed timely. personal and financial info about 
every parent, and every child (under 18), in the uk has been 'lost'. 
amongst all the implications, what is extraordinary is the gap it 
reveals between the data structure and the human conditions that it 
is being operated in. i.e. highly sophisticated data systems at one 
end of the spectrum and at the other reduced workforces overwhelmed 
by a super abundance of data being generated by a technological 
apparatus that they may not even have been given appropriate training 
to comprehend never mind manage. the discrepancy between the high 
value level of the data and the low level of its transfer ( 2 cds 
sent by post?!)is what stops me in my tracks about this.


>  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 
>Renate Ferro
>Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
>Cornell University
>Department of Art, Tjaden Hall
><rtf9 at cornell.edu>
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

Monica Ross
00 44 (0)1273 381480

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