Saturday, January 4, 2014

Threat Model for Archives

Discussing the recent vulnerability in the Bitcoin protocol, I pointed out that:
One of the key ideas of the LOCKSS system was to decentralize custody of content to protect against powerful adversaries' attempts to modify it. Governments and other powerful actors have a long history of censorship and suppression of inconvenient content. A centralized archive system allows them to focus their legal, technical or economic power on a single target.
Today Boing-Boing points us to a current example of government suppression of inconvenient content that drives home the point.
Scientists say the closure of some of the world's finest fishery, ocean and environmental libraries by the Harper government has been so chaotic that irreplaceable collections of intellectual capital built by Canadian taxpayers for future generations has been lost forever.
Many collections such as the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library in Mont-Joli, Quebec ended up in dumpsters while others such as Winnipeg's historic Freshwater Institute library were scavenged by citizens, scientists and local environmental consultants. Others were burned or went to landfills, say scientists.
Read the whole piece, especially if you think single, government-funded archives are a solution to anything.

3 comments:

David. said...

Of course, non-government actors are equally a threat to collections.

David. said...

Via Boing Boing, here is science librarian John Dupuis' list of the stories stretching back to 2011 about the Harper government's war on science.

David. said...

The Harper government's attack on collections gets worse.