24 April 2006

Murdering Memory

This press release from the US National Archives raises a key issue for the digital age: the need for archives to act in a completely transparent fashion. If, as has been happening, archives can be silently "disappeared" by security forces, history - built on sand at the best of times - becomes even more unstable.

The words of the grandly-named Archivist of the United States should be framed on the walls of everyone working in the world of digital memories:

There can never be a classified aspect to our mission. Classified agreements are the antithesis of our reason for being.

Imagine, for example, if the great and wonderful Internet Archive were forced to delete materials, without even leaving a notice to that effect. Perhaps they already have.

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