Showing posts from February, 2015

Australian indigenous objects returned

Australian indigenous objects from the British Museum are being sent home to Australia. Most have not been seen in public. One is a shield with the provenance that Capt. Cook took it with him in 1770.  The objects will be part of an exhibit which will travel to various Australian cities. The report does not say the objects will stay in Australia permanently. Perhaps they will consider that. Read more about it here

cyber threat analysis

#1 threat from abroad to US is now  cyber attacks. Main sources are RUssia, China, Iran and North Korea.  US intelligence agency officials describe current attacks as low-to-moderate level, costing the US a lot of money over time. Of course, it costs the countries leading the attacks money as well. The threat from Russia is considered more severe now than it has been previously. Does that mean it has worsened or we understand its potential better? Read more about it here

Returned Benin works of art

Two bronze artworks, created in the now non-existing kingdom of Benin, were returned by the grandson of a man who looted them, to the great-grandson of the then ruler. The artwork was taken in 1897 by British officers sent to the nation, now part of Nigeria,  in response to the "massacre" of seven British officers visiting the king. Supposedly the officers were on a peace mission and they were supposedly murdered on the orders of the king. What exactly happened and why is now questionable. 500 British went to destroy the capital in retaliation. 800 gorgeous, sophisticated bronzes used as palace decorations and having other social, cultural, historical value ended up at the  British  Museum. Others were sold abroad. Capt. Herbert Walker left with a ceremonial bell and an odd looking bird, both bronzes. He also kept a diary recording his experiences. These items eventually descended to his grandson who got in touch with a society campaigning to return works of art from Benin t…

malware on Lenovos

Lenovo has just been forced to remove from its latest version laptops hidden adware, Superfish, referred to as"malicious" malware. Existing Lenovo machines were removed from stores to disable Superfish. What about those of us with older Lenovos? It doesn't say what it is going to do about them. We love our Lenovo, but it constantly has popups and I've had it wiped of viruses several times. It seems rather ridiculous.  I hope the company agrees to clean out the malware for good. Read more about it here

As a result of the announcement of their malware, Lenovo has just been hacked by a group called Lizard Squad. The attack is still under investigation. Hackers gained access to the network, then the DNS (Domain Name Servers) which convert web addresses into IP addresses. One of the obvious results is that people going to the site are automatically redirected elsewhere.  Other effects of the attack are still being analyzed. Read…

hacking into Sim card codes

The BBCNews announced that both the UK and US hacked into a Dutch company, Gemalto,  a major international Sim card production company, to get codes to eavesdrop on people's phones without permission. Once you have the codes you can access info that is encrypted with the Sims cards, including conversations and text messages. Other types of communications use other systems. The UK's national security agency, GCHQ, says it acted within the law. No comment from the NSA. Privacy rights advocates disagree. Among Gemalto's clients are "AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and "some 450 wireless network providers around the world". Read more about it here  Even though other types of communication are not yet announced as being hacked, you have to believe they will be if they haven't been already.

Today the BBCNews reported that Gemalto is positive both the US and UK hacked into it, but denies that codes were retrieved …

Phones-how you can be tracked

Did you know you can be tracked through your phone's battery use? Read more about it here This is interesting especially in contrast to a CMLife article about how the Michigan police have to wait 4 days for a warrant to access someone's GPS location on their phone if they've been kidnapped. A bill is being discussed to remove the need for a warrant, hoping to save lives, but obviously infringing on civil liberties and privacy rights. Read more about that here

Ancient Welsh woman's remains returned home

Custody battles over contested artifacts and remains are often in the news. Sometimes the items in question are repatriated to their home nation, country, historical institution or returned to descendants of the owner. Here's a case of an ancient woman's remains housed in England finally returning to Wales after a tv show discussed her contested remains. After the show aired, representatives from the two historical institutions  met and discovered they had more in common than not. As a result, a vote occurred and all agreed to return her remains to her homeland. Wouldn't it be great if all contested artifacts, remains, and information could be handled so amicably? She lived in 3510 B.C.  See for more info.

Smelly penguiny job ad for a "living museum"

Today there is a job add for a post office position in the arctic at Port Lockroy, Nov to March.  The site is a "living museum."  I love this advertising:

"Can you carry a big heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow whilst dodging penguins?" asks the job advertisement.
"Are you happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months?"

 It would be interesting to talk to the people who apply for this job. I wonder what their experiences are. It is sad that a "living museum" has such a smelly feel to it.

Read more about it here

FB after you die- now there are options!

Ever wonder what happens to your  Facebook (FB) site when you die? Can your relatives gain access to it?  Or how to access the FB site of a dear one when s/he dies? Well, after his son died, a father petitioned FB for access  to his images. FB officials have agreed to accommodate death on FB by your predetermination of the following options: 1) shutting down your site after you die or 2) allowing others to access it after your demise. I wonder how many will take advantage of these options? For me it is not a big deal, but for some people it clearly is.  Read more about it here

Metadata and Digital Curation Librarian job posting

asbestos in the archives!

Tues. night, in my HST 583 Archives Administration class, one of my students found an asbestos tile in the Bliss Lumber Co. records that they are all processing for the final project. It is clearly labeled as ASBESTOS. Why is it there? Asbestos was used in roofing tile and insulation for decades. There were lots of fires in lumber yards, mills and camps. Asbestos tiles helped protect your roof. They were widely used for decades. This was a manufacturer's example sent to the Bliss Co. to solicit business. The manufacturer was H.W. Johns of Milwaukee, Wis. It dates from 1897-1898. It was still in one solid piece with attached label and original rusting paper clip.

Now, what to do with it? I can't keep it in the archives. I  sent an email to our hazardous waste people to report it and learn how to get rid of it. I specifically asked about what I should tell my students.

After discussion with Jeff, CMU's Environmental Coordinator, we agreed that it is probably pretty non-threa…

Jeb Bush's transparency effort released unredacted emails

In an effort at transparency about his administration and to improve his chance of becoming our future president, Jeb Bush [really his team] released emails from his tenure as Governor of Florida (1999-2007) on Tues. On Weds his campaign team closed access to the information after it was discovered that at least some the hundreds of thousands of emails contained personal data, including contact info, social security numbers and some health information, none of which was apparently reviewed to see if anything should be redacted or closed for various reasons before it was made public. I'm really surprised that nobody remotely considered doing this. Clearly they need an information specialist on their politically minded team. And they should have consulted with the State Archivist of Florida. These are government records he released. I'm sure they have records schedules about electronic/digital information down there. Read more about it here…

Death certificates in the archives

Official MI death certificates, 1914-1922, from a local township showed up in a collection my students recently processed. Trying to get them back to the right state dept is a pain. If you request a vital record from MI, birth, marriage, or death certificate, the records request is handled by a company, not a state unit. It took me three emails to find a person to respond so I can send them in.  I can imagine the reaction in the unit. What is this old, beat up looking piece of paper? What are we going to do with them?

It took almost 2 weeks but I finally sent them off to a person in the

Which governments requests info about users from Twitter?

All large social info companies now release transparency reports so users know which governments are requesting info from them and how often. Since July 2014 there has been a 40% increase from the prior six month in requests for info from Twitter. Behind the US the country requesting info about users most often from Twitter is Turkey which sought to ban Twitter. Read more about it here

British and American data intelligence

Today the BBC has an article about the UK's main intelligence agency GCHQ being "officially censored" because it did not reveal the extent to which it shared info with the NSA. The GCHQ shared more data than it was legally supposed to and initially denied so doing. Information released more recently led to the censor. The GCHQ was found guilty of violating "Articles 8 or 10 [of the European Convention of Human Rights]." Using Prism, a mass surveillance system in existence since 2007, and Upstream, a method of ""collection of communications on fibre cables and infrastructure as data flows past", the NSA can gather various info formats from a wide variety of companies and services including "Microsoft, Skype, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, and Facebook" without asking the companies for it, implying they do not need to legally request it. Read more about it here

CNN archives manager job posting

Sites in the news and implications

Today I'm struck by several current news bits about social media/online sites and the implications.

1)  The operator of Silk Road, a dark  site where millions of dollars worth of drugs was regularly bought/sold has been sentenced to prison on major drug charges, narcotics and money laundering conspiracies, after an extensive, meticulous investigation. This will shut down Silk Road and probably make criminals go elsewhere. It is clear that online works for crime. It is interesting that such a case was brought and won and implies that law enforcement will continue to go after other criminals using dark sites to conduct their nefarious business, so the dark net sites are no longer going to be as safe as they once were for criminals. Read here for more info

2) Net providers will be treated as utilities by the FCC if chairman Tom Wheeler gets his wish to "reclassify internet service providers (ISPs)  [like Verizon] to make them like…

UM Library job postings