tv Washington Journal Joshua New Discusses Open Data and Government... CSPAN March 11, 2017 8:40am-9:07am EST
sovereignty. the idea that borders were significant. that they do find nation states, countries, and there was a deal at their. -- out there. we will try to change her borders by force if you don't try to change hours. -- ours. >> washington journal continues. new is a policy analyst with the center for data animation. he joins us to discuss his recent piece in the hill entitled "why the federal government data is disappearing." what data and where is it missing from? guest: there are too many symbols of federal computer data. i believe it was on valentine's day. the white house opened data portal basically went blank.
there is zero results. happened without warning to the open data community. all the developers relying on this information. even the private sector groups using this data. it's important to note that this could be a trivial to the natural dust settling period with the new administration. something might get lost in the shuffle. a lot of this data and a lot of other federal website information, but some of it still appears to be lost. this data is by no means the federal government's main repository of open data, but it did have an for information. federal budgeting information. information on high-profile policy initiatives on climate change for example. is thet this happened latest in a series of events that to just open data is not a priority of the trump administration like it was the obama administration. host: we have a website if you zoom in.
ss check back soon for new data. why should folks at home care about this issue? guest: open data is often dismissed as a wonky issue. it's really important. it's a political. it is great for the private sector and for the public sector here we are to call it open to government data. there is countless businesses that use data to build new products and services and improve their on logistics, to conduct research. just like publishing federal data can improve transparency and accountability. this is information collected on the taxpayer's dime. they should be able to get some sense of it. host: why is this a particular red flag for you? guest: it's a pretty stark contrast. on president obama's first day in office he declared in an era
of openness in government. he began directing federal agents to start publishing valuable data sets online. we are talking about opening data, data published in a machine-readable forecast the computer can easily understand it. it has to be free. it has to be an open nonproprietary format. it has to be used so anyone can use it for any reason, commercial or otherwise. in 2013, president obama .mplemented an open data policy over onen we have had at 2000 data sites focused on data.gov, the may open data portal. it is intermittently successful. the u.s. has been a leader in the world. weeksed to the past seven where the trump administration has not made any sort of large statements basket of its open data. they have not indicated it will be a priority.
president obama implemented this, it's archived. when you combine that with that without open -- any warning, issued b a red flag. host: there was a story published by wired. rogue scientist race to save climate data from trump. this is right before the inauguration. what is the story here? guest: there is a lot of concern about the scientific community, particularly those that working in research agencies on the environment and the climate that the role of the government in studying climate change will be dramatically reduced. president trump has publicly stated he considers climate change to be a hoax. some people are reporting the epa plans on removing a lot of these climate change data sets
they publish online. it has been the administration's stance to substantially reduce the epa's ability to study climate information. aret of universities racing to back it up on a nongovernment server so the data is not lost as a public resource. what i think is important to consider here is just because the data set is used in the study climate change is not mean it doesn't have a lot of value to the private sector. studying sea level rising can be hugely viable to insurance companies and develop actual burial -- actuarial models. ost: for democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. electric republicans is (202) 748-8001.
we have a call already. eric from atlanta, georgia on the independent line. caller: good morning, how are you? host: what's on your mind. caller: the bottom line here is really -- things a been leaked. we had a documentary done on snowden. all these documents came up missing. i think everybody is turning her head to the wall on the. it was a big issue. if someone decides to sit down and do a document on it and shows us how it threatens national security, nobody is stopping you are doing anything about it. i know we blame obama for all the stuff going on, but i think we should have stopped arresting mexicans and della that before he got all out to all these other countries and wiki leaks
and all this other stuff. i don't blame the media for the leaks. but everybody turned their heads to the wall on it. we know he probably had documents. we don't even know what he took. we don't even know who has them. we're just seeing it come back to us. the media is just reporting what is coming back to us. i think we should stop campaigning at that time, a couple of weeks ago. that should have been a big issue. i am not worried at him blaming obama administration about it. obama caught bin laden. he just cannot and said i got him. i think that's what should have happened on this issue. this should event of big issue.
just to see how big this is. now they want to say everybody is leaking. but that man took off about it information. host: derek is calling about the previous segment. andrea calling from illinois on the independent line. good morning. caller: yes, thank you. thank god for c-span. i know everyone listening can agree with that. you mentioned we pay for this information on climate change and is no longer available. is anyone suing or trying to get the information except rogue scientist trying to get it? it is ours. house.gov notice white was taken down and it was so vast on a consumer level. who is getting this information?
where is it? we paid for it? people's, notican the property of the administration. guest: there was no information on climate change or any sort of climate data that has already been taken off-line. that is the concern that the scientists have and they are trying to be proactive about protecting this information. the information is still there. the information on whitehouse.gov was some high-level policy documents. it was not that critical environment of research data. to your point, there is no legal guarantee the government has the published its information. the actions president obama took to establish an open data policy was built on executive authority alone. they are not legally binding. nowhere in the u.s. code does it say u.s. agencies have to publish this information. dictate the would taxpayers should get the benefit
from it. late last year bipartisan group of congressmen introduced the open government data act. codify what president obama established. it passed the senate unanimously. the day after the house left for the session. he could not go anywhere. it really was supported on both sides of the aisle. we can expected to be reintroduced any day now. hopefully we will have the legal protections soon. host: you talked about the epa. we have a headline. published animal welfare information from his website. the story details efforts to take infection reports from the website detailing treatment of animals in research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding facilities and other facilities. what happened? guest: this was kind of a weird example of what pops up when you don't have robust leadership on open data.
the usda collects a lot of information around animal abuse. everything from research labs to puppy mills. they publish this information in -- if you run a show horse operation, you can find out if someone has a history of animal abuse and is invite them. or you can make sure you not buying from a puppy mill. this is not a political issue. when i believe happened was there was a group of people competing in a show horse competition with a history of abusing animals even their information was on this website. they can play this is violating the privacy. not true, but the usda decided and set of taking prohibitive measures, they just took database down from public access. if you want to access information which some places
are required to do, you have to file a freedom of information act request which you take months. that is what happens when you don't have the highest levels of -- host: why hasn't there been a uniform policy? guest: open data is relatively new. i think there is a reason why open data policies was established in 2013. it can be a little resource intensive to get all this information hosted online. been -- itthere has has been operating pretty well. i don't big a lot of people could be concerned this is something on the chopping block are it a lot of people don't really know what it is and how it benefits the private sector or how it benefits government operations.
fortunately a lot of people in congress did catch onto that need and they been working on the open data act all of last year. i think it could happen again. host: you mentioned the freedom of information act. explain what it is. guest: i can't speak to the recent revisions, but it requires any government otherwise, prevented national security or privacy or some thing like that has to be made available to the public. usually this involves a request to makernment documents your it doesn't violate this protections. it has to be made available to the public, usually published online. when the government completes this request they never have to do it again because is publicly available. one of the great benefits of open data is a should dramatically reduce the amount of requests the government has
to fulfill. they can be resource intensive to continuously respond to these requests. it with -- if it is open by default to begin with, a cleans up a lot of space on people's plates. host: we have carl calling from michigan, traverse city, michigan. good morning. caller: thank you so much for c-span and what you're doing this morning. i had a couple of comments on what you're talking about. you are talking about the u.s. -- us.gov. guest: the two portals is the white house open data portal se.gov,s open.whitehou and the main repository for government open data which is just data.gov. pen.whitehouse.gov was cleared out of information. it did not have -- it was not the most crucial repository of a lot of the data.
it was high-level budget information which is elsewhere in archive formats but it is still, i think, cause for concern. caller: let's say transition a government. new guy comes in. we will clear this off and start over with her own stuff. the same information, will it reappear or be different so that future people using yet information to do studies start out with the correct information from the research. that is what i would be concerned about here. is the information put back up the being false or used surreptitiously to misguide people. i thank you for your comment. guest: it definitely is to be expected there is some sort of -- this was done without any sort of warning are basically any statements on open data. i would agree with your point.
this data is a public resource and should not be taken away from the public. i think there is opportunity for congress to step up to the plate and prevent the deletion of federal data that is already been publicly available. considering the fact sometimes data needs to be adjusted or otherwise merged, but just like congress the published information they should require the information does not go away. good morning. on whatlike your take is going on and what is already happened with noaa. the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. and how that affects not just the united states but the entire world and what uses there have been for it. and what we are going to do to be able to hang on to that. if it's defunded, what can we do to bring people's consciousness
to this and realize just how desperately important this is. i'm afraid we've already reached the tipping point with our climate. i'm concerned with what's happening with all of our data. if you can speak to that i would appreciate it. guest: noaa is a case study of whites so important. popular -- the most data set downloads on data.gov. there is the national weather radar mosaic, consistently among the top 500 downloads a month. usedeather app you have relies on this data. they collect something between 20 and 40 terabytes of data per day. they can only afford to make about two of those available. open in machine readable is the default that they need to be a will to keep the lights on as well. concern, if my
policymakers think this data is not important because it has a tangential relationship with climate research and thus could be on the chopping block, i think of it be enormously counterproductive. this data benefits so many people in the private sector. there is a very compelling reason to keep funding noaa to collect this information because they have one of the best satellite data connect -- collection networks in the world. tweet fromve a stella. "maybe they are updating fax on both sides of the aisle. for eight years really heavy progressive issues offered." evelyn from mississippi, democrat. caller: good morning. whitehouse.govt website. i am disappointed in the way it looks.
simplistict to sound but it's more like a facebook page more so than a page to inform all citizens. written to a it is particular group of people and sounds to me like it is opinions more so than fax. -- facts. i was very disappointed because as a citizen i want to know what's going on in the government. appealed to just a certain group of people. i am concerned because i think it should be information for all americans, whether you believe it or not. it should be something for everybody to at least read about. that is my opinion. guest: i agree. i can't speak to specific website content of whitehouse.gov, but one of the
main benefits of open data is the capacity to drive civic engagement. in the past couple of years we have seen the department of transportation hosts a hack fun. they invite people from all over the country to have a crack at it and see what tools they can build. a lot of other agencies have followed this model. once you have a lot of open data, any citizen can use this data, report fraud if they find it. they can build their own tools. it open data would help alleviate a lot of those concerns are in -- concerns. host: good morning. caller: the lady before talked the global warming position of the obama
administration. director and the questions that were raised on that by the trump administration. a lot of concern about data support thelated to positions of government and in the case of the global warming climate change episodes of the previous administration, we have seen great effect of government trying to control the people's co2 in enemy of the people through propaganda. we've had headlines of the hottest month of the year, hottest year of the century. it's not true. i think data manipulation by the
government is one of the greatest concerns we should have regarding policy. commencee scientific -- consensus is that humans contribute to climate change and data absolutely confirms that. there is no reason to believe this data has been manipulated. i believe that has all been debunked. i want to reiterate my point that businesses rely on this information for reasons that don't have to do with preventing climate change. the insurance industry relies on this. they need to know this data if they are going to set insurance rates. saying this data has been falsified. they rely on it to great effect. host: our final call comes from tennessee on the independent line. caller: good morning. everybody does not agree with
obama. i wouldn't believe a word he said and he just goes after michael moore and all of the hollywood crowd. have you ever thought about that? that is don't believe relevant to open data. i think the scientists at the epa have done a great job of delivering this crucial data. i don't think it should be subject to political whim. host: thank you so much for being with us this morning. come up, our spotlight on an article inures the nation. we'll be right back.
>> in case you missed it, here are some clips from programming this past week. therosenstein before judiciary committee. refrain from disparaging people. if we charge somebody with a crime and its appropriate to introduce evidence against him in court we do it. floor, the senate urban on president trump's travel ban. >> this includes some cosmetic alters, but they don't the fact that president trump's travel ban is still unconstitutional and still inconsistent with the values of this nation. >> paul ryan on the health care plan. to our constituents, if you give us this chance, this
is what we will do. now is our chance and opportunity to do it. >> chris murphy on the legislation. >> you are going to hate it. this is a dumpster fire of a bill that was written on the backs of napkins behind closed doors because republicans know it's a disaster. korea's haley on north use of missiles. >> this is someone who is trying to get attention. this is someone who is trying to cause a reaction. this is what bothers us. it hit less than 200 nautical miles of japan. their goal is to be able to reach u.s. bases in japan. this is not something we can take lightly. every country is in danger from the actions of north korea.
>> the energy and commerce committee markup of the health care bill. >> this is one of the most important things we are going to vote on this year and it's rushed through. we don't have all the details. this is why we are so disgruntled. >> c-span programs are available at www.c-span.org and by searching the video library. >> washington journal continues. week spotlight on magazines, we are joined by michael mishak, an investigative reporter. he wrote a piece in the nation magazine. thanks for being with us. the thrust of the piece is more than any other special-interest, the oil industry has reshaped califo.