RESEARCH POST: DIGITAL CAMERAS-GODSEND OR CASH COW

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from the General News Media Research Team, which monitors news media for issues related to archives.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE

Digital cameras, including those on smartphones, and portable scanners have become an important tool for researchers and other members of the public. Allowing visitors to scan and shoot documents with their own equipment saves staff time, discourages the overuse of paper and toner, and produces a better quality image than that of a photocopier, one that can be used immediately. (1) Many research rooms and service desks provide stands for cameras and outlets for scanners.

However, some organizations, especially government agencies, either prohibit the use of cameras or charge visitors fees to use their own cameras to shoot images.

The ACRL/SAA Joint Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries states that “repositories should strive to provide access to their holdings at no direct cost to the researcher.” And where this is not possible, fees should not be prohibitive. (2)

In December 2014 Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen handed down a legal opinion stating that Wisconsin court officials should not charge fees to people who make copies with cellphone cameras or scanners. He originally had approved a charge of $1.25 per page. (3) However, Van Hollen also said that court custodians could choose to prohibit users from making their own copies of any sort, in which case the court custodians could charge a fee. (4)

As of last March, 24 of the 31 Wisconsin county clerks who responded to a survey were still charging fees for images shot with personal cameras. An editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal stated, “Even the National Gallery in Washington allows flash photography …  yet here in Wisconsin county clerks of courts still claim that taking pictures of court records risks damaging the documents.” The real issue is money; as the editorial pointed out, that $1.25 per page fee brings in more than $800,000 a year statewide. (5) In comparison, federal courts in the state charge only 10 cents per page. (6)

Those county clerks who don’t charge gave varying reasons. Primarily, clerks don’t feel they have the resources to prevent photography, because the documents are viewable on a computer screen and patrons could simply photograph the screen. In other words, it would be a burden on staff to monitor computer users. (7)

Wisconsin counties are not alone in charging for photography and scanning. To name a few examples, the Colorado State Archives has a $15 per day personal camera use fee, and a $15 scanner rental fee. (8) The Missouri History Museum charges $10 per day for the same. (9) The Maryland Historical Society charges 50 cents per image. (10) A recent article on archives and camera policies in the United Kingdom reported fees varying from 2 pounds to 25 pounds (about $2.60 to $32.50) per camera per day. That article pointed out that not only do these fees potentially hurt student researchers, but since transcribing documents (often the alternative) is so time consuming, it may force researchers to rely on more limited sources, making the quality of research suffer. (11)

Saying that government agencies should be able to prohibit, or charge for, personal camera use because they need the money is an insufficient argument, since there would be a savings in money budgeted for staff time, as well as agencies’ scanning and copying equipment and the maintenance of that equipment, by allowing the free use of personal equipment. (12)

Additionally, federal, state, and local government archives are taxpayer funded repositories of public records, so charging fees for personally made digital copies seems unethical.

Whether an archives decides to charge fees or not, access fees should be clearly stated on the organization’s website. (13) The Ohio History Connection’s site, for example, has a Digital Camera Use Policy that outlines its digital cameras regulations. It is free to use a digital camera without a flash, but scanners are forbidden. (14) And the University of Winnipeg judges whether to allow scanner use on a case-by-case basis, and “a supervision/setup charge may apply.” (15)

Of course, archivists should be aware that sometimes they may need to prohibit personal reproduction devices in order to protect especially fragile or valuable materials. The Huntington Library is one of many rare book and manuscript repositories that performs all reproduction by its staff. (16) Other archives leave the decision to the archivists’ discretion—the Field Museum in Chicago, for example, does this “if copying will either damage or degrade the material, or if donor, acquisition or legal restrictions prohibit reproduction.” (17) Some archives prohibit handheld scanners, on the rationale that putting the pressure of a handheld scanner on top of a document could damage the paper. As stated in Managing Local Government Archives, “The archives should always reserve the right to refuse any technique of reproduction that might endanger the document.” (18)

But in most cases archives and libraries can only benefit from providing free use of personal cameras and scanners to researchers. As an OCLC Research report stated in 2010, “the benefits to researchers, repositories and collections is undeniable.” (19) And as an archivist on the SAA Lone Arrangers list put it, “The amount of time and resources that we’ll be saving by not photocopying is a major payoff in itself.” (20)

Sources Cited

(1) John H. Slate and Kaye Lanning Minchew, Managing Local Government Archives. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, p. 119.

(2) “ACRL/SAA Joint Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries,” accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/jointstatement.

(3) Todd Richmond, “Attorney General Says Clerks Shouldn’t Charge for Court Copies Made With Personal Technology,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, December 30, 2014, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.startribune.com/ag-clerks-shouldn-t-charge-for-personal-copies/287124321/

(4) State of Wisconsin Department of Justice, Opinion of Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, December 30, 2014, accessed August 6, 2016, https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/oag/recent/oag_12_14.pdf.

(5) “Courts Paint Phony Picture to Justify Fees,” Wisconsin State Journal, March 25, 2016, accessed August 6, 2016, http://host.madison.com/wsj/opinion/editorial/courts-paint-phony-picture-to-justify-fees/article_3b8d1a03-85e8-54cf-aa8c-c0d8121247a3.html.

(6) Jonathan Anderson and Sari Lesk, “Want Court Records? Pay Up,” Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, March 22, 2016, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/news/investigations/2016/03/18/want-court-records-pay-up/81874300/.

(7) Ibid.

(8) “Our Fees,” Colorado State Archives, accessed August 6, 2016,  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/archives/our-fees.

(9) “Reading Room Procedures,” Missouri History Library and Museum, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.mohistory.org/lrc/your-visit/doing-research/procedures.

(10) “Personal Camera Use,” Maryland Historical Society, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.mdhs.org/personal-camera-use.

(11) Nell Darby, “The Cost of Historical Research: Why Archives Need to Move With the Times,” The Guardian, May 23, 2013, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/may/23/history-research-costs-archive-fees.

(12) Mutschler, Charles V., <cmutschler@ewu.edu> “Re: Camera Use Fees,” October 22, 2015, SAA Archives & Archivists List, <http://forums.archivists.org/read/messages?id=158241#158241>, accessed August 6, 2016.

(13) Slate and Minchew, p. 118.

(14) “Ohio History Connection Digital Camera Use Form,” accessed August 6, 2016,  https://www.ohiohistory.org/OHC/media/OHC-Media/Learn/Archives-Library%20Documents/DigitalCameraUseForm_Policy.pdf.

(15) “The University of Winnipeg Reproduction Fees,” accessed August 6, 2016,  http://archives.uwinnipeg.ca/info-for-researchers/reproduction-fees.html.

(16) “Imaging services at the Huntington,” Huntington Library, accessed August 6, 2016, http://huntington.org/WebAssets/Templates/content.aspx?id=1924.

(17) “Field Museum Archives Policies,” accessed August 6, 2016, https://www.fieldmuseum.org/science/research/area/museum-archives/museum-archives-policies.

(18) Slate and Minchew, p. 119.

(19) Lisa Miller, Steven K. Galbraith, et al. “ ‘Capture and Release’: Digital Cameras in the Reading Room,’ “ report produced by OCLC Research, 2010, accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2010/2010-05.pdf.

(20) Schergen, Rena, <renaschergen@archstl.org> “Re: Researcher Camera Policy,” October 24, 2013, SAA Lone Arrangers List, <http://forums.archivists.org/read/messages?id=114374#114374>, accessed August 6, 2016.

Other Sources

“Digital Camera Use Policy,” Houghton Library, accessed August 6, 2016, http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/digital_camera_policy.cfm.

“Archives: Find Resources,” Pratt Institute Libraries, accessed August 6, 2016, https://library.pratt.edu/find_resources/archives/.

“Digital Photography Policy,” Ukrainian Historical and Education Center of New Jersey, accessed August 6, 2016, https://www.ukrhec.org/collections/archives/digital-photography-policy.

“King County (WA) Copy and Service Fees,” accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/archives/about-us/fees.aspx.

“New York State Archives Fee Schedule for Copies of Records,” accessed August 6, 2016, http://www.archives.nysed.gov/research/res_serv_fee.shtml.

 

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank the General News Media Research Team, and in particular, Daria Labinsky, for writing this post.

The General News Media Research Team is:

Jeremy Brett, Leader

Anna Trammell

Daria Labinsky

Chelsea Gunn

Meghan Kennedy

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: Personal Archiving and Empowerment

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from the General News Media Research Team, which monitors news media for issues related to archives.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE

Personal archiving has been an increasingly common topic among library and archives professionals. Digital preservation, defined broadly, has received fairly frequent coverage in mainstream media outlets recently as well. As personal records are created more frequently in digital environments, public concern for the preservation of born-digital personal archives becomes increasingly pervasive. (1) The term “personal archiving” is itself an interesting one, particularly when positioned within communities of professional archivists. It may gesture toward a shift in attention from working with collections at inactive stages in their lifecycles and providing access to researchers, to educating the public to be informed custodians of their own records, with intervention beginning much earlier in the record lifecycle. Librarians and archivists are increasingly relied upon to provide education and training to the public, empowering individuals to take control of the long-term maintenance and preservation of their own records, digital or otherwise.

Articles in popular media intended for a general audience reflect a widespread concern—and in some cases, panic—about the preservation of digital records, from personal documents or photographs stored on computer hard drives to blogs and files stored in the cloud. It has been noted that these articles rarely interview archivists or other professionals engaged in this very work. (2)

Of course, within professional literature and practice, much work has been devoted to exploring the roles that information professionals can (and do) play in working with the public on the organization and preservation of personal, family, and community records. (3)

At the same time, much has also been written recently on the (often lack of) diversity represented both in archival collections and in the profession itself. In addition to responding to concerns about digital preservation and the “digital black hole,” personal archiving outreach initiatives have the potential to address this scarcity of diverse representations in the historical record. (4)(5) But in order to do so, archivists and librarians must expand outreach efforts to include their complete communities. Who is included in personal archiving education and conversation? In the instance of a public program, archivists and librarians might treat this statistically and ask if those in attendance constitute a representative sample of the population of the community in which the hosting organization is situated.

This outreach may also potentially include pitching more articles to popular publications to counteract those in which archival work is largely invisible. It might also include cooperative efforts, both large- and small-scale, between members of the profession and personal archivists in sharing information, expertise, and resources. As community members themselves, archivists and librarians might consider how they are reaching their constituents, and how they are empowering their complete communities to work with them to preserve community histories, independently or as collaborators.

An additional key issue here involves differing uses of the term “archivist.” Who is included in the phrase “members of the archival community”? Does it include so-called “citizen archivists,” or is the title of “archivist” reserved for qualified and employed professionals? If the latter, are archivists and librarians denying themselves the value of experience provided by amateur collectors? These are questions archivists and librarians face when discussing the future of their professional identities and their relationships with their publics and community partners.

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF COVERAGE OF THE ISSUE:

Sources cited:

(1) Weiner, Eric. “Will Future Historians Consider These Days the Digital Dark Ages?” On the Media (January 4, 2016). http://www.npr.org/2016/01/04/461878724/will-future-historians-consider-these-times-the-digital-dark-ages

(2) Lyons, Bertram. “There Will Be No Digital Dark Age.” Issues and Advocacy Blog (May 11, 2016). https://issuesandadvocacy.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/there-will-be-no-digital-dark-age

(3) Personal Digital Archiving 2016 conference schedule. http://www.lib.umich.edu/pda2016

(4) Mass Memories Road Show. http://openarchives.umb.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15774coll6

(5) The Memory Lab at DC Public Library. http://www.dclibrary.org/labs/memorylab

Additional sources:

Ashenfelder, Mike, “Personal Archiving in the Cloud,” in National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Library of Congress, Perspectives on Personal Digital Archiving (Library of Congress: Washington, D.C., 2013): 21. http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/documents/ebookpdf_march18.pdf

Becker, Devin and Collier Nogues, “Saving-Over, Over-Saving, and the Future Mess of Writers’ Digital Archives: A Survey Report on the Personal Digital Archiving Practices of Emerging Writers.” The American Archivist 75:2 (Fall/Winter 2012): 509. http://americanarchivist.org/doi/pdf/10.17723/aarc.75.2.t024180533382067

Brown, Nathan, “Helping Members of the Community Manage Their Digital Lives: Developing a Personal Digital Archiving Workshop.” D-Lib Magazine 21:5/6 (May/June 2015). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may15/brown/05brown.html

Cushing, Amber L., “Highlighting the Archives Perspective in the Personal Digital Archiving Discussion,” Library Hi Tech 28:2 (2010): 305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07378831011047695

Drake, Jarrett. “Expanding #ArchivesForBlackLives to Traditional Archival Repositories” (June 27, 2016). https://medium.com/on-archivy/expanding-archivesforblacklives-to-traditional-archival-repositories-b88641e2daf6#.20feffxdh

LaFrance, Adrienne. “Raiders of the lost web.” The Atlantic (October 14, 2015). http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/10/raiders-of-the-lost-web/409210/

Marshall, Catherine, “Challenges and Opportunities for Personal Digital Archiving,” in I, Digital: Personal Collections in the Digital Era, Christopher Lee, ed., (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2011): 97. http://saa.archivists.org/store/i-digital-personal-collections-in-the-digital-era/2217/

Marshall, Catherine C., “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving: Part 1.” D-Lib Magazine 14 (March/April 2008). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march08/marshall/03marshall-pt1.html

Marshall, Catherine, Sara Bly, and Francoise Brun-Cottan, “The Long-Term Fate of Our Personal Digital Belongings: Toward a Service Model for Personal Archives,” in Proceedings of Archiving (Ottawa: Society of Imaging Science and Technology, 2006): 25.

Pardes, Arielle. “How digital storage is changing the way we preserve history.” Vice (February 19, 2016). http://www.vice.com/read/how-digital-storage-is-changing-the-way-we-preserve-history

Redwine, Gabriela, Personal Digital Archiving (Great Britain: Digital Preservation Coalition, 2015): 2. http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr15-01

Soleau, Teresa. “Preventing digital decay.” The Iris: Behind the Scenes at the Getty (October 20, 2014). http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/preventing-digital-decay/

Strausheim, Carl. “Preventing a digital dark age.” Inside Higher Ed (March 10, 2016). https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/03/10/researchers-build-preservation-ecosystem-avert-digital-dark-age

Winsborough, Dave; Lovric, Darko; Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. “Personality, Privacy, and Our Digital Selves.” The Guardian (July 18, 2016). https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2016/jul/18/personality-privacy-digital-selves

Wortham, Jenna. “How an archive of the internet could change history.” The New York Times (June 21, 2016). http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/magazine/how-an-archive-of-the-internet-could-change-history.html?_r=0

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank the General News Media Research Team, and in particular, Chelsea Gunn, for writing this post.

The General News Media Research Team is:

Jeremy Brett, Leader
Anna Trammell
Daria Labinsky
Chelsea Gunn
Meghan Kennedy

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: The Right to Be Forgotten

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from the Other Professional Associations’ Communications Research Team, which monitors the communications of other associations, for issues related to archives.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

This is the first in a series of posts about the Right to Be Forgotten. Stay tuned for additional coverage.

SUMMARY OF THE ISSUE

The Right to be Forgotten (RTBF) is a 2014 legal ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that gives individuals the right to have information found on the Internet regarding themselves delisted (be made difficult to find) in search engines and in other data providers (such as websites). The CJEU’s ruling stems from a 2010 legal case in Spain in which a Spanish citizen filed a complaint with Spain’s national data protection agency against a Spanish newspaper, which published a true fact about the person, and Google Spain/Google Inc., whose search engine results linked to the information about the person. The citizen argued that the information about him was no longer relevant and that the search engine results infringed upon his privacy rights. (3) In February 2016, the French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), which chairs the Article 29 Working Group (European Union privacy regulators), extended the implementation of the RTBF law to all domains (extensions) of a search engine. (7) Previously, the delisting would only happen in the country of the individual who requested (and was approved) the delisting. In February 2015, the Guardian reported that Google said it had “received 386,038 ‘right to be forgotten’ removal requests since the ruling, and has accepted approximately 42% of them.” (4)  A year later, the Guardian further reported that Google had delisted 600,000 search results. (7)

Some main points of the RTBF ruling:

  1. Individuals have the right to request information about themselves found on the Internet be delisted if the “information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing.” (3)
  2. According to the CJEU’s ruling the request for delisting needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis because neither the right to the protection of personal data nor the right to freedom of expression are absolute rights. Therefore each case needs to be assessed individually considering the personal privacy of the individual versus the freedom of expression and access to information. (3)
  3. The data providers (for example Google, Inc.) are tasked with the application of the RTBF ruling. Delisting of information on the Internet will be decided by the data providers, not legal or governmental bodies.
  4. Data providers cannot disclose internal processes, or what has been subject to delisting on the Internet. The original publisher or owner of a website cannot be notified when something is delisted.
  5. There are previous rulings in the European Union that prefigured the 2014 ruling, such as the European Union Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC of 1995. In Germany, an individual has the right to privacy and to rehabilitation after they have paid their debts to society (for example after completing a term of a prison sentence).
  6. Public figures are not (usually) subject to the RTBF ruling.
  7. The CJEU believes that the RTBF ruling “strikes the balance between the right to the protection of personal data and freedom of expression.” (3)

In February 2016, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), issued an official statement regarding the 2014 RTBF ruling. In the statement, IFLA addressed the issues of the RTBF ruling and its implications for libraries and urged its members to participate in policy discussion regarding RTBF. (1)

IFLA’s list of issues for libraries concerning the RTBF ruling:

  1. Integrity of and access to the historical record.
  2. Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression. This is based upon Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (6)
  3. Privacy of the individual.

The RTBF ruling strikes at some of our core values as archivists, librarians, and information professionals. We strive to protect privacy rights of the individual, yet we also strive to protect the integrity of our information sources, support the freedom of expression, and advocate for access to information. Further, the delisting of information, especially information that is truthful and accurate, goes against some of the core values and code of ethics outlined in the Society of American Archivists’ “Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics.” (8)

In 2015, a public debate was held in New York City on the RTBF ruling titled “The U.S. should adopt the Right to be Forgotten Online.” (5) [The video is available online.] One of the participants of the debate, Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said that the United States should not adopt the RTBF because he felt that the RTBF ruling was “a very bad solution to a very real problem.” He gave the following analogy that we as archivists, librarians, and information professionals can relate to regarding the delisting of information on the Internet: “It’s like saying the books can stay in the library, but you have to set fire to the card catalogs.” (5)

Some critiques of the RTBF ruling include:

  • The rules (of the RTBF ruling) are vague and unclear.
  • The decisions for delisting/erasure are left to corporations.
  • There is no transparency or accountability to the delisting of information.
  • Due to the vagueness of the ruling, the principle could expand beyond search engines.
  • RTBF is censorship (particularly when delisted information is true/factual/accurate).
  • The territorial scope of the RTBF ruling goes beyond the European Union.

As the IFLA statement on the RTBF ruling advised, we need to monitor how the RTBF ruling is being applied in Europe and around the world and how it affects the integrity of and access to the historical record on the Internet. Countries outside of Europe, including Japan, Colombia, Brazil, and the United States have implemented similar rulings or have delisted information on the Internet. (2) In 2018, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will supersede previous data protection laws In Europe. (9) Understanding the new 2018 regulations and how they may affect privacy rights of the individual, freedom of expression, access to information, and the integrity of the historical record on the Internet will be crucial.

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF COVERAGE OF THE ISSUE:

Sources cited:

(1) “IFLA Statement on the Right to be Forgotten.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.ifla.org/node/10272?og=29

(2) “Background on the Right to be Forgotten in National and Regional Contexts.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.  Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/clm/statements/rtbf_background.pdf

(3) Fact Sheet on the “Right to be Forgotten” ruling (c-131/12). European Commission. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/files/factsheets/factsheet_data_protection_en.pdf

(4) Gibbs, Samuel. “Google to Extend ‘Right to be Forgotten’ to all its Domains Accessed in EU.” The Guardian. (February 11, 2016). Accessed 2016 April 26. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/11/google-extend-right-to-be-forgotten-googlecom

(5) “The U.S. should adopt the “Right to be Forgotten Online.” Intelligence Squared Debates. (March 17, 2015) Video accessed 2016 April 26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDzW-2q1ZQ

(6) United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

(7) Hern, Alex. “Google takes right to be forgotten battle to France’s highest court.” The Guardian. (May 19, 2016). Accessed 2016 June 2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/19/google-right-to-be-forgotten-fight-france-highest-court

(8) “SAA Statement of  Core Values and Code of Ethics.” Society of American Archivists. Accessed 2016 June 2. http://www2.archivists.org/statements/saa-core-values-statement-and-code-of-ethics#.V1GPnzUrKUm

(9) “Reform of EU Data Protection Rules.” European Commission. Accessed 2016 June 2. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/reform/index_en.htm

Other sources regarding the RTBF:

Toobin, Jeffrey. “The Solace of Oblivion.” The New Yorker. (September 24, 2014). Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/solace-oblivion

Scott, Mark. “Europe Tried to Reign in Google. It Backfired.” The New York Times. (April 18, 2016). Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/technology/google-europe-privacy-watchdog.html

“Freedom: the right to be forgotten.” My Digital Rights. British Library. Accessed 2016 April 26. http://www.bl.uk/my-digital-rights/videos/freedom-the-right-to-be-forgotten

Google Transparency Report. “European privacy requests for search removals.” Google. Accessed 2016 June 2. https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/europeprivacy/?hl=en

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank Patricia Glowinski and Blake Relle for writing this post.

The Other Professional Associations’ Communications Research Team is:

Tara Kelley, Leader
Jamillah Gabriel
Patricia Glowinski
Jasmine Jones
Blake Relle

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: Is the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture a Federal or Congressional Record?

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #2, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Summary of the Issue

Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and Interrogation Program (Senate Report 113-288), also referred to in the media as the “Senate Torture Report” was sent to President Obama, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the CIA, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Director of the FBI, and the CIA Inspector General on December 10, 2014. This report was an extensive five year Senate investigation of the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects. It lays bare the extreme violence, severe tactics, and brutality against the suspects as well as the government’s dishonesty to cover that up.

Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy wrote to the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of the FBI on November 5, 2015 and expressed disappointment that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was citing a still pending FOIA case (ACLU v. CIA) as justification for not allowing Executive Branch officials to read the full 6,700 page report. They were also concerned that personnel at NARA said they would not respond to inquiries on whether the report constitutes a record under the Federal Records Act because the FOIA case was pending, based on guidance from the DOJ. On April 28, 2016, members of various open government, human rights, civil liberties, and media organizations wrote a letter to the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. This letter justified their stance that Ferriero should use his statutory authority to determine that the report is indeed a federal document. Many in the general public are concerned that the report could disappear if it is not deemed a federal document and that it may thus never be made available. Developments on this issue include Richard Burr, who replaced Feinstein as Committee Chair, writing to agencies who received the report and requesting they return all copies back to the Senate. He also wrote to the White House and instructed them not to enter the report into the Executive Branch system of records, which was contrary to Feinstein’s instructions when the report was released. The ACLU filed an emergency motion in their FOIA suit and all agencies have committed to retaining their copies of the full report during the pending litigation. However, the CIA acknowledged that it destroyed its only copy of the report, “by mistake.”

bibliography of coverage of the issue:

January 21 2016 (updated) “Senate Torture Report – FOIA” American Civil Liberties Union
https://www.aclu.org/cases/senate-torture-report-foia

February 18, 2016 article “The CIA torture report belongs to the public” Al Jazeera America
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2016/2/the-cia-torture-report-belongs-to-the-public.html

February 29, 2016 interview “Is the torture report a public record? An interview with the National Security Archive’s Lauren Harper” Melville House Books
http://www.mhpbooks.com/is-the-torture-report-a-public-record-an-interview-with-the-national-security-archives-lauren-harper/

April 28, 2016 Letter to Archivist on Executive Branch copies of Senate torture report
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B03viEiWh0qWYnl0UGtleEdSY2M/view

May 2, 2016 article “Will the Senate Torture Report Disappear?” Bill of Rights Defense Committee
http://bordc.org/news/will-the-senate-torture-report-disappear/

May 3, 2016 article “Feds Urged to Preserve ‘Torture Report'” Courthouse News Service
http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/05/03/feds-urged-to-preserve-torture-report.htm

May 5, 2016 article “National Archives’ Refusal to Ensure Preservation of CIA Torture Report Alarms Rights Groups” AllGov
http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/national-archives-refusal-to-ensure-preservation-of-cia-torture-report-alarms-rights-groups-160505?news=858766

May 6, 2016 post “Archivist won’t Call ‘Torture Report’ a Permanent Record” Federation of American Scientists blog
https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2016/05/archivist-record/

May 13, 2016 article “Appeals Court Declines to Release Full ‘Senate Torture Report,” ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/appeals-court-declines-release-full-senate-torture-report/story?id=39101136

May 13, 2016 article “American Public Is Not Entitled to See Full Senate Torture Report, Court Rules” Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senate-torture-report-full_us_573622e3e4b08f96c1832750

May 16, 2016 article “CIA Watchdog Accidentally Deleted Lengthy Torture Report” Government Executive
http://www.govexec.com/management/2016/05/cia-watchdog-accidentally-deleted-lengthy-torture-report/128342/

May 17, 2016 article “Will the CIA Disappear the Senate Torture Report?” Bill of Rights Defense Committee
http://bordc.org/news/will-the-cia-disappear-the-senate-torture-report/

March 17, 2016 article “Judges Consider Release of Full CIA Torture Report” U.S. News & World Report
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-03-17/judges-consider-release-of-full-cia-torture-report

May 17, 2016 article “Senate Report on CIA Torture is One Step Closer to Disappearing” World News Daily Information Clearing House
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44678.htm

May 20, 2016 article “‘Urgent’ action needed to preserve CIA torture documents, groups warn” Yahoo News
https://www.yahoo.com/news/urgent-action-needed-to-preserve-cia-torture-165007608.html

May 20, 2016 article “Why Federal Agencies Must Still Preserve (and Should Finally Read) the SSCI Torture Report” Just Security
https://www.justsecurity.org/31197/federal-agencies-preserve-and-finally-read-ssci-torture-report/

June 3, 2016 post “FOIA Ombudsman’s Departure Worrisome, Archivist Will Not Call Torture Report a Federal Record and More: FRINFORMSUM 5/12/2016” National Security Archive blog
https://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/foia-ombudsmans-departure-worrisome-archivist-will-not-call-torture-report-a-federal-record-and-more-frinformsum-5122016/

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank Rachel Seale for writing this post, and Steven Duckworth, Dave McAllister, Rachel Seale, and Alison Stankrauff for doing key research on the issue.

I&A On-Call Research Team #2 is:

Alison Stankrauff, Leader
Katherine Barbera
Anna Chen
Steven Duckworth
David McAllister
Rachel Seale

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.

Research Post: Fire at the Cinemateca Brasileira

I&A Research Teams are groups of dedicated volunteers who monitor breaking news and delve into ongoing topics affecting archives and the archival profession. Under the leadership of the I&A Steering Committee, the Research Teams compile their findings into Research Posts for the I&A blog. Each Research Post offers a summary and coverage of an issue. This Research Post comes from On-Call Research Team #2, which is mobilized to investigate issues as they arise.

Please be aware that the sources cited have not been vetted and do not indicate an official stance of SAA or the Issues and Advocacy Roundtable.

Summary of the Issue

A fire broke out in the film library of the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paolo on February 3, 2016. The exact cause of the fire was not reported, but the area involved was where nitrate film was stored. This material is known to be volatile and can spontaneously combust due to environmental factors. Sources reported that approximately 1,000 rolls of film burned in the fire. All is not lost, however, as the institution states that all films lost in the fire had been preserved in other media formats (though some of the reports located state that number at 80%). Reports of the fire came out soon after the event occurred, but updates and further information has not been located. While there are many reports, especially reports in Portuguese, almost all of them date from February 3 or 4. They each appear to leave some questions on the table.

The fire occurred in one of the institution’s nitrate film warehouses, which are specially designed to house such film. There is no electric grid, and interior walls do not reach the ceilings. Most sources report that it took about 30 minutes to contain the fire. Some video footage of the scene can be found here.

The Cinemateca Brasileira holds some 250,000 film rolls, including features, short films, and newsreels, as well as books, papers, movie posters, and other paper records; this loss represents 0.4% of their film holdings. The history of the Cinemateca can be traced back to 1946 as the Second Film Club of São Paolo (after the First had been closed by the Department of Press and Propaganda in 1941). In 1948, the Club became affiliated with the International Federation of Film Clubs and, in 1949, with the film department of São Paolo’s newly created Museum of Modern Art. In 1964, it was incorporated into the Ministry of Culture, becoming a governmental institution. Previous fires have occurred in 1957, 1969, and 1982, all due to nitrate film. The institute moved into its current facilities, built under the technical guidance of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), in 1998.

The Archivist Rising blog reported that the institution suffered somewhat recent budget cuts due to a large financial crisis. Blogger Aurélio Michiles blames the incident on the previous budget cuts as well, but describes the cuts as more of a punishment towards the administration rather than having to do with an overall financial crisis. Further sources state the number of employees has been reduced from over 100 in 2013 to just over 20 currently, though it remains unclear how many employees are governmental workers and how many are actually employed by the Cinematheque’s Friends Society (Sociedade Amigos da Cinemateca) and whether or not that affects the various numbers reported from different sources. The truth behind this budget controversy is left for further research – and preferably by someone proficient in Portuguese.

bibliography of coverage of the issue:

“Some thousand film rolls burnt in Cinemateca Brasileira fire.” EBC Agencia Brasil. Accessed 2016 March 25. http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/en/cultura/noticia/2016-02/some-thousand-film-rolls-burnt-cinemateca-brasileira-fire (EBC manages TV Brasil, TV Brasil International, Agência Brasil, Radioagência, and the National Public Broadcast System. Besides the commitment to public communication, their values are characterized by editorial independence, transparency, and participatory management.)

“Cinemateca Brasileira.” Wikipedia. Accessed 2016 March 25. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinemateca_Brasileira

“Ministério da Cultura não tem plano para evitar novos incêndios na Cinemateca Brasileira.” Estãdo. Accessed 2016 March 25. http://cultura.estadao.com.br/noticias/cinema,ministerio-da-cultura-nao-tem-plano-para-evitar-novos-incendios-na-cinemateca-brasileira,10000014848

“Ministério da Cultura mudará gestão da Cinemateca.” Folha De S. Paolo. Accessed 2016 March 25. http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/1220662-ministerio-da-cultura-mudara-gestao-da-cinemateca.shtml

The I&A Steering Committee would like to thank Steve Duckworth for writing this post, and Rachel Seale and Alison Stankrauff for doing key research on the issue.

I&A On-Call Research Team #2 is:

Alison Stankrauff, Leader
Katherine Barbera
Anna Chen
Steven Duckworth
David McAllister
Rachel Seale

If you are aware of an issue that might benefit from a Research Post, please get in touch with us: archivesissues@gmail.com.