Fears Raised About Access to Government Data

March 9, 2017 by
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McClatchy News Service outlines the things that the Trump administration has done that have alarmed groups with a stake in public access to information including historians, librarians, journalists, climate scientists, internet activists.

Wondering who is visiting the White House? The web-based search has gone dark. Curious about climate change? Some government sites have been softened or taken down. Worried about racial discrimination in housing? Laws have been introduced to bar federal mapping of such disparities. Federal rules protecting whistleblowers? At least one has been put on hold.

In the article, Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, addresses the explanation given by Trump supporters that "detractors are overreacting" saying, “The reaction we are seeing is driven by concerns unique to this administration. It’s because of the antipathy this president has shown toward government statistics and scientific knowledge.”

Issues mentioned in the article include:

  • The suspension of an Obama regulation aimed at protecting whistleblowers who work for Department of Energy contractors.
  • The decreased access to White House visitor logs which enabled journalists to track lobbying.
  • The removal of the phone book of employees at the U.S. Department of Energy from DOE’s website.
  • The removal of two pie charts reporting the link between coal and greenhouse gas emissions from the educational website “Energy Kids.”

The article also notes that researchers fear that the Administration will cease collecting some information.

The article reports on several data rescue efforts.

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