Keeping data safe from Trumpists

Scientists in Soviet bloc nations wanted to defect because they envied our liberties. Now the United States has men and women afraid that an incoming presidential administration will shred documents:

Their undertaking, at the time, was purely speculative, based on travails of Canadian government scientists under the Stephen Harper administration, which muzzled them from speaking about climate change. Researchers watched as Harper officials threw thousands of books of aquatic data into dumpsters as federal environmental research libraries closed.

But three days later, speculation became reality as news broke that the incoming Trump administration’s EPA transition team does indeed intend to remove some climate data from the agency’s website. That will include references to President Barack Obama’s June 2013 Climate Action Plan and the strategies for 2014 and 2015 to cut methane, according to an unnamed source who spoke with Inside EPA. “It’s entirely unsurprising,” said Bethany Wiggin, director of the environmental humanities program at Penn and one of the organizers of the data-rescuing event.

Back at the library, dozens of cups coffee sat precariously close to electronics, and coders were passing around 32-gigabyte zip drives from the university bookshop like precious artifacts.

When Rick Perry and a Treasury secretary designate hint in congressional testimony that they want to return to the ripe old days of Albert Fall and Teapot Dome, these scientists don’t look so paranoid. The worst part? Conservatives will read this article and find their basest fears confirmed: a rogue element in the bureaucracy may obstruct their goals.

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