Sunday, March 12, 2017

The federal government collects a lot of data


It stores and provides access to the public to both the raw data and analysed presentations. Ot r at least it did prior to the advent of President Beetlefart. All through his campaign he promised an open government and now we know from experience that means he will close off access to the information our government has.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has made a series of moves that have alarmed groups with a stake in public access to information: historians, librarians, journalists, climate scientists, internet activists, to name a few. Some are so concerned they have thrown themselves into “data rescue” sessions nationwide, where they spend their weekends downloading and archiving federal databases they fear could soon be taken down or obscured.

Previous presidential transitions have triggered fears about access to government data, but not of this scope. “What is unprecedented is the scale of networking and connectivity of groups working on this, and the degree it is being driven by librarians and scientists and professors,” said Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a group that tracks transparency in government.

The White House declined to comment, but Trump’s supporters say the administration’s detractors are overreacting. Trump is committed to open government, said Ben Marchi, a Trump supporter and Republican operative. In a recent interview with McClatchy, Marchi noted how, prior to announcing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, the White House released a list of 21 candidates under consideration.

Yet moves by the Trump administration have helped stoke the fears. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed animal cruelty data from its website, prompting protests from animal welfare advocates, including the Humane Society, which has filed a lawsuit against the USDA. Some Democrats in Congress have protested as well.

Also in February, the Trump administration suspended an Obama regulation aimed at protecting whistleblowers who work for Department of Energy contractors. The regulation would have permitted civil penalties against contractors that retaliate against whistleblowers. Supporters of the rule say its rescission will make it harder for contract workers, including those at the federal government’s nuclear facilities, to come forward with complaints of waste, abuse and safety concerns.
Seriously folks, the government has a lot of information that could embarrass either the administration or a corporation or other wealthy contributor. As that old adage says, "What you don't know won't hurt you, much". Besides, this government is not meant for ordinary people. If you don't have enough money to interest anyone in the administration, this government is not for you.

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