Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Data disappeared from Obama administration site promoting transparency; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 22, 2017

Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; 

Data disappeared from Obama administration site promoting transparency


"If you wanted to know who visited the White House, how much the president’s secretary is paid, or which state has the most federally funded teaching positions, the information was just a few clicks away. With a bit more technical knowledge, you could explore public data sets to analyze the president’s budget, or look for trends in government spending.

No more.
Dozens of data sets disappeared last week from Open.WhiteHouse.gov, a website the Obama administration created to promote government transparency.
Visitors to the website now and find a message saying “check back for new data.” But it isn’t clear when any new data will be posted, and government watchdogs aren’t confident that it will ever happen.
“We are working to open up the new sites,” White House press aide Helen Ferre emailed in response to questions. She did not respond to follow-up questions about the content of the “new sites,” whether they will include visitor logs, why data sets were removed, and when aides will post new information...
The data the Obama administration provided hasn’t been deleted. Rather it’s been preserved by the National Archives in accordance with a law that prohibits federal data from being destroyed. Find it at https://open.obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/...
The data is no longer in a user-friendly format. Users have to have the technical knowledge to unpack zipfiles and must have software that can handle large files with millions of rows of data."

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