Civic News
Data / Ethics / Federal government

These government open data sets have been taken down since Trump took office

The Sunlight Foundation is tracking these changes; others are working to grab and store the data.

Where have all the data sets gone? (Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

The Obama Administration may have been far from perfect when it comes to open government and open data, but at least there was impetus to try.

Back in October, during the White House Open Data Innovation Summit, administration officials showcased the progress made over President Obama’s eight years in office. At the time the Sunlight Foundation’s Alexander Howard criticized the administration’s missteps. “You’ve heard a lot of rhetoric about how great they’ve been at this,” he said. “But they haven’t been always.”

This, of course, is Sunlight’s raison d’etre — to hold government to task for its accountability and transparency (or lack thereof).

But less than a month into the Trump administration… Well, let’s just say the benchmarks of accountability and transparency have changed a little. Federal open data sets are actually being removed from the internet, and Sunlight is keeping track of where this happens.

“Prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Sunlight joined other transparency advocates in expressing concern about the future of open government data in the United States,” a blog post reads. “We highlighted the ways an administration could alter government data that fell short of outright removal, from defunding collection to limiting access to altering data sets. Taking open government data offline entirely was the most extreme action we anticipated. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s now begun happening.”

So the Sunlight Foundation is keeping track of federal open data sets removed from government websites in a spreadsheet on their site — see something? Say something. It’s also not just a matter of documenting what data is lots, as groups across the country are working to download and store said data.

And then, in related news, there’s this:

Companies: Sunlight Foundation

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