Tag Archives: Internet Archive

The Joy Reid case and the fragility of archives

The exposure of old, embarrassing posts by MSNBC columnist Joy Ann Reid has provoked a lot of heated discussion. It’s also revealed the difficulty of retaining reliable information about old material on the Web.

When these old posts came to public attention through Twitter, she asserted that there had been one or more unauthorized break-ins altering her articles to add offensive content.

In December I learned that an unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material from my now-defunct blog, The Reid Report, to include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology.

I began working with a cyber-security expert who first identified the unauthorized activity, and we notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach. The manipulated material seems to be part of an effort to taint my character with false information by distorting a blog that ended a decade ago.

Now that the site has been compromised I can state unequivocally that it does not represent the original entries.

The “altered” material, however, also was found on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine with the same content. If Reid’s statement is true, the alterations must have taken place shortly after their publication and yet not been noticed, or else the Internet Archive must also have been compromised.

Continue reading

When the Internet Archive gets a National Security Letter

This post is off topic for this blog, so ignore it if you like. A number of people connected with archives and preservation activities read this, though, and I think it’s important for people to know that the Internet Archive was subjected to a National Security Letter and successfully fought it, thus becoming one of the very few recipients of these Orwellian orders to be allowed to talk about it. Please read the article.

The FBI has issued tens of thousands of National Security Letters. If you’re the target of one, you can’t tell anyone, not even your own family. The Patriot Act originally prohibited people from even talking to a lawyer about them, but that ban was struck down. I have never been issued a National Security Letter, so I can tell you I haven’t. If I had been, I couldn’t say anything, and if you asked me, I’d have to say, “I can’t answer that.”