2018 Speaker Slides

Here you will find the available abstracts and slides from the 2018 symposium, Unresolved: Balancing Access and Privacy in the Digital Age.

Jean-François Blanchette | “Document Theory and Archival Ethics: The Case of Bodycam Footage” | Download Presentation

In the United States, the purported benefits of deployment of body cameras within police forces have brought together unlikely bedfellows: civil-rights organizations (e.g., the ACLU) and law enforcement leaders have together argued that bodycams are a win-win by providing a source of superior evidence than can curtail excessive police force while at the same time protecting officers from spurious claims of wrongdoing. This is a surprising argument, if only because it puts the ACLU in the position of arguing for the policy benefits of the massive deployment of surveillance apparatus by police forces.

Bodycams advocates have also argued that these benefits will depend on policies that appropriately frame their use, chief among these, that footage be defined as public record so as to provide transparent access to the public. In this presentation, I analyze bodycam footage as an instance of the contemporary evolution of documents: in terms of its digital materiality (e.g., massive volume, better outsourced to the commercial cloud), its dual semiotic nature as both audiovisual representation and data to be mined through computational tools, and its charged social context that pits bystander video against official record. Such an analysis can help stakeholders to devise policies and ethical positions that better account for the multi-dimensional nature of the technology.

Jay Fedorak | “Information Management, Technology and the Future of Democratic Accountability” | Download Presentation

This presentation will examine how changes in records technology have affected our ability to scrutinize public policy-making and hold politicians and public servants accountable. The thesis is that technological change is eroding accountability and that we need to take corrective action, to preserve the democratic character of our political institutions. The implementation of telephone, email, text and other electronic communications has given public officials means of communication that are easier to destroy and difficult to preserve, while the explosion of information makes it of decreasing value to the analysis of public policy decision making.

The results of these developments are that it is easier for public officials to escape scrutiny.  This is important because, in a political culture increasingly infiltrated by fake news, it is even more crucial to ensure democratic accountability and increase the numbers of voters who make their decisions based on facts and sound arguments rather than prejudice and misinformation.

To ensure real accountability that will preserve and improve the democratic system of government we all cherish, it is essential that we have an effective system of regulated public access to records of significance.

Sam-chin Li | “Disappearing Government Information: Stewardship in a Digital Age” | Download Presentation

Public access to government information is a basic requirement for a democratic society. The dramatic shift from print to born-digital government information has transformed the way libraries provide services for this information. An enormous amount of information has disappeared from government websites due to the ephemeral nature of web content, technological obsolescence and changes in information policy. This presentation will focus on our stewardship role in the digital age which includes participating in and initiating projects in preservation, resource discovery and long-term public access to government information. Web archiving, digitization, LOCKSS and fugitive document projects will be presented.

Kristina Lillico | “Balancing Access and Privacy – Challenges, Opportunities, Responsibilities” | Download Presentation

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. As such, it holds records which document important decisions that had an impact on citizens in the past, and may continue to impact the lives of Canadians both in the present and in the future. Balancing the right to access to those documents together with respect for the right to privacy creates unique challenges for an archive: ensuring fairness while supporting democratic rights, and doing so in an era of reconciliation, an era when Access To Information and Privacy legislation has evolved, and also an era when Open Government is a desirable goal. Come and hear more about how LAC works proactively with Canadians and Government to manage access to its holdings in an open and transparent manner, while ensuring the privacy of individuals.

Stuart Rennie | Prove it or Lose it: Content and Context in a Digital Age” | Download Presentation

As never before, technology is changing how we balance access and privacy in a digital age. Increasingly, organizations are obliged to provide evidence to prove their compliance with legal and business requirements, especially how they provide access to records while at the same time protecting personal privacy of the information contained in that record. An excellent starting point to reconciling this apparent conflict is for records and archives professionals to go back to basics of what is a record. The three basic aspects of a record are: content, context and structure. Taking the example of implementing an electronic document and records management system, the author will show how these three basics can be applied to meet legal, business and archival requirements for access and privacy.

Jim Suderman | “Uncertain Access: Evolving Imperatives for Accessing Information” | Download Presentation