With Donald Trump taking over as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, there were fears over his policies on climate change. Many took the matter into their hands and launched a drive to collect the data from government websites, that can be deleted once the new president takes over, and store it in a secure place.
It was the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles where a total of 60 programmers and scientists gathered to complete the mammoth task. Many of them did day jobs at IT firms or startups, while some had undergrad computer science majors. The scientists included ecologists, lab managers, and oceanographers and they came from universities all over Southern California.
Volunteer ‘data rescue’ events like this are getting into the trend at universities across the country for a while now. At the events held in Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago, Indianapolis and Michigan, thousands of pages have been scraped off of EPA.gov, NASA.gov, DOE.gov and whitehouse.gov. the data gathered has been uploaded to Internet Archive. Another event is planned at the New York University in February.
The group of hackers, scientists, lab manager and students have worked tirelessly to scrap as much data about climate and environment from the government websites. The data was expected to be deleted once Trump took office.
This data will be used in the future to ascertain what changes have been made to the government websites. Bethany Wiggin, the director of the environmental humanities program at Penn and one of the organisers of the event, said that a weekly report on changes will be produced. They will let people know what the changes exactly are.