Editing Transparency-Accountability/SDSULOpenLetter

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Warning: You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to your username, along with other benefits.

The edit can be undone. Please check the comparison below to verify that this is what you want to do, and then save the changes below to finish undoing the edit.

Latest revision Your text
Line 1: Line 1:
__NOTOC__
 
[[Image:Rta3.png|800px|link=Transparency-Accountability]]
 
==<span style="color:#004d66"><span style="font-family:Verdana>Open Letter on the San Diego State University Library Detainee Allies Letter Collection</span></span>==
 
 
===Statement from the Government Records Transparency and Accountability Group===
 
 
 
Posted below is an open letter addressed to the Owners and Managers of the Otay Mesa Detention Center digital collection. The letter was authored and signed by a group of individuals, many of whom attended a session at the 2019 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum (Tampa, Florida, October 2019) which included a presentation about the Detainee Allies Letter Collection (https://digitallibrary.sdsu.edu/islandora/object/sdsu%3AOtayMesaDetentionCenter) –– an online collection of letters written by people detained in immigration prisons in California, curated by archivists at San Diego State University. This presentation introduced attendees to the project and considered the “complex ethical and legal issues and ever-evolving workflow of digitizing and providing public access to such a collection.” Over the course of the presentation and the Q&A that followed, several members of the audience grew concerned and began to raise questions about the security and privacy of the individuals (all of whom are immigrants detained in immigration prisons) who had authored the letters contained in the collection. They were also concerned about other issues, including the possibility that information contained in these letters could be misused by state agents such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Shortly afterwards, a group representing the letter writers approached the DLF Government Records Transparency & Accountability interest group to ask that we consider hosting the letter on our wiki, as the issues at hand intersect with our focus on open records culture and the possible misuse of public data sets by government entities in ways that can cause harm to vulnerable members of our communities.
 
Posted below is an open letter addressed to the Owners and Managers of the Otay Mesa Detention Center digital collection. The letter was authored and signed by a group of individuals, many of whom attended a session at the 2019 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum (Tampa, Florida, October 2019) which included a presentation about the Detainee Allies Letter Collection (https://digitallibrary.sdsu.edu/islandora/object/sdsu%3AOtayMesaDetentionCenter) –– an online collection of letters written by people detained in immigration prisons in California, curated by archivists at San Diego State University. This presentation introduced attendees to the project and considered the “complex ethical and legal issues and ever-evolving workflow of digitizing and providing public access to such a collection.” Over the course of the presentation and the Q&A that followed, several members of the audience grew concerned and began to raise questions about the security and privacy of the individuals (all of whom are immigrants detained in immigration prisons) who had authored the letters contained in the collection. They were also concerned about other issues, including the possibility that information contained in these letters could be misused by state agents such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Shortly afterwards, a group representing the letter writers approached the DLF Government Records Transparency & Accountability interest group to ask that we consider hosting the letter on our wiki, as the issues at hand intersect with our focus on open records culture and the possible misuse of public data sets by government entities in ways that can cause harm to vulnerable members of our communities.
  
Line 16: Line 10:
  
  
'''Selected readings'''
+
Selected readings
  
 
* Bernd-Klodt, M., & Wosh, P. (Eds.). (2005). Privacy and Confidentiality Perspectives: Archivists and Archival Records. Chicago, IL: Society of American Archivists.
 
* Bernd-Klodt, M., & Wosh, P. (Eds.). (2005). Privacy and Confidentiality Perspectives: Archivists and Archival Records. Chicago, IL: Society of American Archivists.
Line 29: Line 23:
 
   
 
   
 
* Hugman, R., Pittaway, E., and Bartolomei, L. (2011). When ‘Do No Harm’ Is Not Enough: The Ethics of Research with Refugees and Other Vulnerable Groups. The British Journal of Social Work, 41(7), 1271–1287. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr013, https://academic.oup.com/bjsw/article/41/7/1271/1673805
 
* Hugman, R., Pittaway, E., and Bartolomei, L. (2011). When ‘Do No Harm’ Is Not Enough: The Ethics of Research with Refugees and Other Vulnerable Groups. The British Journal of Social Work, 41(7), 1271–1287. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr013, https://academic.oup.com/bjsw/article/41/7/1271/1673805
 
===Letter Text===
 
''To view signatories to this letter, or to sign on in support, view the letter'' [https://docs.google.com/document/d/12kbtPWe6cpIZUVoEJBLvhJc5JdaCiYY7Jf685QdQZ6M/edit ''here''].
 
 
To the owners and managers of the Detainee Allies Letter Collection,
 
 
We appreciate the presentation shared by Lisa Lamont at the Digital Library Federation Forum (DLF Forum 2019) on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 entitled, “Documenting Detention: The Complexities of Digitizing the Living Archive of a Vulnerable Community.”  We acknowledge that it takes significant amounts of time, energy, and emotional labor to present on a topic that is not only highly political in nature, but also engaged in human rights discourse and the possible violation of those rights.
 
 
Though the questions immediately following this presentation were not numerous, many of us have now had time to reflect on the presentation, the questions it raises, and their ethical and material implications. As cultural heritage and information professionals, we have a history of being strong advocates for personal privacy and protection, rights and permissions, and for serving as responsible stewards of myriad forms of information. In this letter, we the signees defend these values and respectfully request for reasons detailed below that you remove the Otay Mesa Detention Center digital collection from an openly accessible online environment.
 
 
The Otay Mesa digital collection, as represented in the presentation and with investigation afterwards, violates many of the tenets of responsible stewardship. This includes, but is not limited to:
 
Identity protection— though the PII of the writers has been redacted, other information could be triangulated and used to identify the writer or their families, with unknown repercussions; or, law enforcement could arbitrarily punish anyone for their perceived likeness to letter writers (based on country of origin or other factors).  Additionally, this is a form of human data collection of a most vulnerable population. Were this project, its metadata practices, and the resulting digital collection to be brought to a reviewing body of ethical data management (including, but not limited to Institutional Review Boards, and other data management organizations), it would likely not pass review without serious revisions to the collection, preservation, and dissemination of this data. The initial use of a Google spreadsheet for metadata that includes multiple forms of personally identifiable information (name, country of origin, “alien” number, commissary number, etc.) runs counter to best practices for sensitive data collection. The subsequent deletion of the spreadsheet from SDSU Google drives does not mean that this data is no longer accessible by Google, able to be subpoenaed, etc.
 
Copyright violation and consent—implied consent by the creators of the letters is not consent and does not meet basic standards of fair use or copyright law. It should also be taken into consideration that lack of definitive consent from letter writers with low literacy levels should not be interpreted as implied consent.
 
We are concerned that the non-redacted files are vulnerable to subpoena or theft by groups that could further harm the detained people and their families.
 
The risks of online open access to these letters outweigh the potential benefits. Properly redacted [PDF] letters could be accessed in reading rooms, shared with allied groups and defenders of detainees’ rights, used in classrooms, or included in exhibits without being made available online, thus accomplishing the goals of the project.
 
 
We, the signees, respectfully request that this digital collection be removed from an online environment, and ask that the collection only be made available on an un-networked computer. To protect the identity of the letter writers, we also request that you remove from a networked environment any spreadsheets containing identifying information, and destroy all such identifying information; letter writers should also be encouraged not to self-identify for further security, as the physical collections can be subpoenaed by government officials. Furthermore, like the physical collection of letters that has been embargoed for 70 years, the resulting digital collection should also have an embargo of 70-120 years from the date of creation placed on it.
 
 
As cultural heritage and information professionals occupying positions of relative privilege and power, we need to prioritize the protection of the rights and safety of our patrons, collection donors, and, especially, of collection creators—those whose stories and voices are contained in our collections, but often without their knowledge or consent, and who are historically most at risk of being marginalized, mistreated, and silenced.
 
 
Responsible stewardship is at the core of our profession, and we must pursue practices that privilege such a value without exception, especially when vulnerable individuals have unwittingly put their trust in our hands. We hope that your institution will strongly reconsider how this digital collection is made available and maintained both currently, and through its continued evolution and growth as a living archive.
 
 
With thanks for your careful consideration,
 
 
''Full list of signatories viewable'' [https://docs.google.com/document/d/12kbtPWe6cpIZUVoEJBLvhJc5JdaCiYY7Jf685QdQZ6M/edit ''here''].
 

Please note that all contributions to DLF Wiki are considered to be released under the Creative Commons Attribution (see DLF Wiki Project:Copyrights for details). If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here.
You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource. Do not submit copyrighted work without permission!

Cancel Editing help (opens in new window)