Friday, February 10, 2017
Preserving reality against the Trump administration—the data rescue movement
Under federal appointees with records of being hostile towards environmental health regulation, data may be harder to come by, Whittington worries. “If you don’t have the data, you’ll be told your problem doesn’t exist. It is in a way a struggle over what we consider reality.”
by Larry Geller
Who could imagine the US government could stoop to destroying scientific data on a massive scale?
In its place, we’re fed “fake news” or just stare into the void where (for example) climate data used to be.
On the first Saturday morning in February, scientists, programmers, professors and digital librarians met at New York University in New York City to save federal data sets they thought could be altered or disappear all together under the administration of US president Donald Trump. Around 150 people turned out for the gathering, many after hearing about it through Facebook.
Enthusiasm for guerrilla archiving is skyrocketing; the day at NYU was the latest in a ballooning list of “data rescues” across the country. All-day archiving marathons have been held at Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Boston, and Michigan, and by the time the NYU event was over, attendees from several other cities had volunteered to host their own.
Data is being harvested as fast as possible before Trump appointees can get to it. Twitter reports that government web pages (for example, the EPA website) have already been altered to remove information and data. The data is saved using special apps and stored in new websites and the Internet Archive. T
Anyone who may need to access this data in the future might check out the Quartz article and stay in touch with the rescue movement. Or join in if you have a special interest that depends on access to information that may be disappeared.