SURVEY: Your views on US Customs' plan to search your social media at the border

Deji from Access Now writes, “You remember that spooky story about the U.S. screening everyone’s social media ‘presence’ at the border? Well, now there’s a way to tell the government exactly what you think about it.”

Boing Boing readers may remember that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is floating a plan to collect the social media accounts of the nearly 100 million people who enter the country every year. They won’t tell us what they’re going to do with the information. They won’t say if they’re going to share the data with the NSA and FBI. They won’t say whether what you post online could single you out for invasive screening. But they do say the program will cost $300,000,000.00.

We need to shut this down before it gets started.

My organization, Access Now, has created a survey to collect opinions about this program, and we’re going to deliver the responses directly to the agency before the deadline on August 22, 2016. Here are some of the questions, and a link to full questionnaire:

Should the U.S. government scan ALL your social media posts when you enter the country? Full survey

If U.S.customs screens social media, would you think twice about what you post? Full survey

Should the U.S. government be able scan your username through other databases to connect it to other information the government holds on you, like your tax information or military records?


The Hotblood! omnibus and FOUNDRY (the companion art book) are now available to download from my shop!  FOUNDRY was originally going to be exclusive to the Kickstarter but I have a stack of leftover books, so it seems appropriate to sell digital downloads as well~

the books are currently on a cargo ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, so I’ll be sending out a survey to collect backer addresses soon! Keep an eye on your inboxes!!

painterofhorizons replied to your post “I may have fought a seagull today over trash, but at least I won by…”

1. This is awesome. 2. I just imagined it. It was even more awesome. 3. I have a similar but different story with a seagull… :D 4. Collecting things at beaches is always awesome!

Gulls are pestering adorable bastard. It was pretty funny too; my partner was laughing at me for a bit after that.   And while collecting things at the beach can be awesome, I’m literally surveying and collecting trash. Walking up and down a sandy beach looking for minuscule pieces of plastic and collecting sand cores is exhausting. The amount of trash I was able to find in just a 100 m transect is also disgusting, to say the least.  

  • Apron, Cameroon. TM 2000.31.2. Gift of Mark Rapoport, M.D., and Jane Hughes. Photo by Renee Comet.

This brightly and intricately patterned cache sexe comes from the grasslands of Cameroon. Often described as a waist panel or apron, it would be tied around the waist following traditional Cameroon female dress. Production of cache sexe became virtually obsolete after laws requiring full clothing for women were passed in 1961.

The complicated patterning required meticulous threading of tiny glass beads. The alternating direction of the stripes, and the numerous colors involved, adds a sense of movement to the pattern, which would have been augmented by the movement of the wearer.  The top row of red beads is attached to a fiber cord. The fringe contains a triangle of beads and cowry shells. Imported glass beads were, in the mid-19th century, signs of status and power in Cameroon society, though eventually become more widely available.


Through its collections survey, TM staff identified roughly 8,500 objects that need special attention before the museum relocates to the George Washington University in 2014. Staff are now methodically assessing and fulfilling these pieces’ individual travel needs—which range from nesting an object in a standard passive mat to ensuring each piece is accurately labeled with its TM registration number.

Here, Assistant Registrar Tessa Sabol loosely fastens fresh labels to centuries-old tunics (top), while Registration Technician Chelsea Hick replaces legacy adhesive labels on a set of Peruvian spindles and whorls with gentler tags (middle and bottom).

  • Spindles, whorls, and implements, Peru, Chilca. TM 1965.40.45A-RR. Museum purchase.
  • Border fragment, Peru, central coast. TM 1970.7.20. Gift of Leo Drimmer-Lichtemberg.
  • Tunic, Peru, central coast. TM 1970.7.21. Leo Drimmer-Lichtemberg.

A thousand years ago, Peru’s north coast was home to the Kingdom of Chimor—and its remarkable weaving culture. Today, surviving tunics, turbans, and other textiles offer a peek into this lost tradition.

Our staff recently surveyed seven exquisite Chimu-style pieces in The Textile Museum’s collections in preparation for our move, including this miniature tabard, or sleeveless coat (top), and tunic (middle). Possibly dating from between 1350 and 1450 C.E., both pieces feature Blue-and-Yellow-Macaw (bottom right) feathers, characteristic of Chimu costume. Look closely at the small metal plaques rimming the tunic: The tulip shapes represent Spondylus shells (bottom left).

Field ornithologist Dr. John P. O'Neill, who has played a key role in identifying feathers from Chimu pieces, writes: “It is a shame that we shall never know if the magnificent feathered tabards, crowns, and other artifacts of the Chimu were used by living people or not, but even if they were made to adorn the bodies of the dead, they are among some of the finest and most spectacular examples of human craftsmanship ever created” (Rowe 150).

  • Tabard, Peru, Chimu Style. TM 1962.9.7.
  • Tunic (detail), Peru, Chimu Style. TM 1962.9.6.
  • Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, CC image courtesy of bzd1 on Flickr.
  • Spondylus princeps, CC image courtsey of Kevin Walsh on Flickr.

Ann Pollard Rowe, Costumes and Featherwork of the Lords of Chimor: Textiles from Peru’s North Coast. Feather identification by John P. O'Neill. Washington, D.C.: The Textile Museum, 1984.


The collections survey worked through a drawer of Peruvian accessories recently.  Particularly love the embroidered cuffs!

  • Cap, Peru, 20th century. TM 2002.18.9. Latin American Research Fund.
  • Cuffs, Peru, Huancayo region, Saños Chico, 20th century. TM 1969.29.1A-B
  • Neckline, Peru. TM 1961.29.2. Stanley Selenguy (Pinata Party, Inc.)
  • Double Bag, Peru, Chiclayo Province, Monsefu, 1957. TM 1999.7.43. Gift of John Cohen.

The collections survey pulled out a massive object the other day - this Peruvian mantle.  It looks like a net, but if you look closely, each of the strands is actually a woven strip, and each of those strips is woven together, instead of being knotted.  

  • Mantle, Peru. TM 1983.40.1 Gift of Arthur M. Bullowa.

Fun fact: It was exhibited in the 1990 exhibition: “Textiles of Wonder and Delight: Selected from the Collection of The Textile Museum by Ed Rossbach”


It’s a wrap!

Textile Museum staff have concluded a monumental initiative to survey our collections in preparation for the museum’s 2014 move to the George Washington University—finishing up with this intricate seventh- to eighth-century textile fragment (top).

Gently packed in an acid-free “passive mat,” whose hinged flaps secure the piece without contact (bottom), and stacked in a box, this artifact is already fully equipped for a safe journey to the museum’s new conservation resource center, currently under construction at GW's Ashburn, Va., campus.

Through the collections survey, TM staff have identified more than 10,500 additional objects (roughly fifty-five percent of the museum’s entire collections) as “move-ready." Next up, our team will use survey data to determine travel needs for the remaining collection pieces and make recommendations for the configuration of the new storage space.

Read more about our collections survey here.

  • Islamic fragment, Iran/Iraq, 7th–8th century. TM 73.609. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1949.
  • Tunic, Peru, South Coast, Paracas Period (ca. 600-200 BC). TM 1959.15.1. Museum Purchase.

This piece was exhibited in the 1964 Textile Museum exhibition entitled, “Textiles of Ancient Peru”   

This piece was notable in the collections survey, because of what it will need to travel: It currently lives on a board between tissue, but will be rehoused into a passive mat for security while moving and going forward.  

The Winter 2013 issue of the TM Member’s Magazine included a feature talking all about the collections survey - you can read it on issuu.


The Collections Survey

In advance of the move to GW, and the re-housing of the collection at a new facility on the GW Ashburn, VA campus,  a full survey of our current collections needed to be done—all 19,000 pieces of it.  Tessa Sabol, assistant registrar, and Esther Méthé, chief conservator, along with several stalwart interns and volunteers, have already evaluated about 6,000 pieces, examining each for object dimensions, current storage housing, additional support required for travel, and future conservation needs. 

Though the survey is being run by conservation and collections management, the whole museum has had a chance to enjoy their labors, stopping in to see a particularly beautiful or unusual piece (many photos of which you will see here).  “A special bonus of doing the survey is the chance to share with conveniently passing staff members.  We in Conservation and Collections Management often take for granted working directly with historical objects, but running across a pre-Columbian Peruvian tunic decorated with colorful feathers or an Indian pre-cursor to the modern Parcheesi board game is a fantastic treat.”