Information Access Seminar

What does pervasive security failure mean for archives, cultural memory, and scholarship? Some introductory speculations and a discussion

Friday, August 28, 2015
3:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Clifford Lynch

Introduction to the seminar, and introductions of seminar participants. Brief reports on interesting conferences, readings, publications and other developments over the summer.

We have seen a very long series of high-profile security failures over the last year or so: Sony, the US Office of Personnel Management, Ashley Madison, and various universities, to name only a few. The prospects for ending this series anytime soon don't seem promising. The characteristics of these incursions are changing and the objectives behind them are now very varied, including often simply making public large colllections of corporate or government information rather than simple fraud or identity theft. What role do these corpora legitimately play in the cultural record, and what organizations might want to take responsibility for preserving and organizing them?

A second issue: to the best of my knowledge, virtually all the incidents recently deal with the theft, exposure, or (much more rarely) outright destruction of information. Particularly when systems are penetrated for very long periods of time, with these penetrations often going undetected, deliberate data corruption or introduction of falsified data seem to me to be difficult problems that aren't recieving sufficient attention. How serious are these concerns, really, in light of current practices? What are the key scenarios of concern here for scholarly work, and for preservation of the cultural record, and what steps might be taken to mitigate them?

Last updated:

August 25, 2015