Tuesday, February 21, 2017

‘All of our federal data assets are currently at risk’ — here’s how people are trying to protect them; FedScoop, February 19, 2017

Samantha Ehlinger, FedScoop; 

‘All of our federal data assets are currently at risk’ — here’s how people are trying to protect them

"A group of coders, librarians, scientists, storytellers and others passionate about data came together at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., this weekend to preserve federal data that some worry could disappear under different Trump administration priorities. The goal of the DataRescueDC event: store federal climate and environmental data that is “vulnerable under an administration that denies the fact of ongoing climate change.”

But while fear of losing federal scientific data during the Trump administration has galvanized work across the country to preserve reputable copies of key data, during Saturday’s events experts involved in the project said that it also highlights the need for creating an official infrastructure for safeguarding federal data.

“We talk a lot in this country about our failing infrastructure, and it’s really obvious when drinking water supplies are dangerous to the people who drink them. And it’s really obvious when a bridge collapses over the Mississippi river. But what was not really obvious, I think, until this juncture that we are now at is how incredible vulnerable our infrastructure for federal data is. Like, there isn’t one really. It’s totally just absent in many — in very powerful ways,” said Bethany Wiggin, founding director of the University of Pennsylvania Program in Environmental Humanities, which is facilitating Data Refuge."

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