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DigiCULT
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performed electronically.'
D
uranti, makes the point that, `...these
technologies are introduced in our
offices without anyone so much as won-
dering about the possible consequences.
No one is telling civil servants that they
have to scrupulously register changes in
documents and other records, and that
these registrations should be audited. Nor
is it, that they deliberately tamper with
records ญalthough that happens as well-
but through their actions they jeopardize
the authenticity of records.'
S
uch an example, was the Canadian
Commission of Inquiry into the
Deployment of Canadian Forces to
Somalia. In investigating the database
which stored all the message traffic between
headquarters and troops in the field, the
commission discovered that some entries
H
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Registry, that can have enormous financial
consequences.You can say, that the authen-
ticity of records, and the ability to prove it,
are essential in the functioning of any
society.'
T
he authenticity of records is
threatened by the ease with which
records can be changed, without leaving
any trace. Duranti: `Everyone knows it is
very easy to erase the wrinkles on a digital
photograph.You can also delete whole
chapters from a text without leaving any
trace, or change the date on a document.
There is also the growing need to make
record creation as convenient as possible,
for instance many local governments are
introducing interactive record creation
where a user can request and receive plan-
ning permission completely online.The
planning permission may still be stored in
paper form, but the whole creation process
up to the issuing of the paper form may be
`T
he fast pace with which technolo-
gy for creating and recording of
information is developing, threatens the
authenticity of records. Archivists, and
governments, and other institutions, who
rely on these records are losing control, I
would not hesitate to call the situation
disastrous, states Luciana Duranti, professor
at the School of Library, Archival and
Information Studies at the University of
British Columbia in Vancouver (Can.) and
director of the International Research on
Permanent Authentic Records in
Electronic Systems, InterPARES.
D
uranti, states, `Records are generated
by society and need to be preserved,
sometimes permanently as instruments of
accountability.They are a means of
protecting the rights of individuals,
companies and corporations, and serve as
a source of information for historians.
Hence, it is very important that their
authenticity be guaranteed.'
A
uthenticity, has two components or
aspects, one is the identity of the
record, i.e. is it what it claims to be. Is that
card in the Land Registry, indeed a record
of your ownership of a piece of land.The
second aspect is integrity; the complete-
ness of the record. For instance, does it
show that your neighbour has the right to
cross your land to go to his barn. Records
and the way they are kept ญ the archives -
have to live up to a judicial `rigueur de
control', i.e. a judge must be able to
establish their authenticity beyond any
doubt. Duranti: `If you cannot prove the
authenticity of a record in the Land
Luciana Duranti in Barcelona: `I would not hesitate to call the situation disastrous...'
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