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Toronto group wants to save science and climate change data from Trump with internet archiving

A "guerilla hackathon" this weekend is bringing people together to help archive as much information as possible before Trump takes office.

From left: Matt Price, Michelle Murphy and Patrick Keilty are the organizers of a hackathon event this weekend at the University of Toronto. Their goal is to archive U.S. data on climate change to protect the information from the Trump government.

Eduardo Lima/Metro / Metro Order this photo

From left: Matt Price, Michelle Murphy and Patrick Keilty are the organizers of a hackathon event this weekend at the University of Toronto. Their goal is to archive U.S. data on climate change to protect the information from the Trump government.

As the world prepares for a Donald Trump presidency, a group of concerned Torontonians are doing their part to stop crucial scientific and environmental information from disappearing into a black hole during his administration.

The University of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon and Research Unit, a forum for untangling tough questions related to science, is hosting a “guerrilla archiving” event this weekend to “save environmental data from Trump.”

It’s part of a North-American wide movement to support the Internet Archive’s End of Term 2016 project.

The San Francisco based non-profit is working to preserve as much web-based scientific information available on U.S. government websites as possible.

“We’re trying to go after the data that might be lost,” said event organizer Patrick Keilty, assistant professor at University of Toronto.

Every time an administration changes government websites change too, and some information risks falling through the cracks, Keilty said.

But scientists and activists are more worried than usual that Trump’s administration will cut environmental budgets or restrict access to important data through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

During the day-long Toronto workshop, plans are to identify what information is vulnerable from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, help to archive it, and then hand the information over the Internet Archive.

Michelle Murphy, Director of Technoscience Research Unit, said the information is crucial to help governments and communities respond to environmental threats.

Climate change data in particular, Murphy said, needs to be kept public so people can’t deny it’s happening.

“The Trump administration has been very explicit in not accepting climate change and wanting to remove environmental regulations.

“They’re not taking what we’d call an evidence based approach to governance.”

You can join in the free event Saturday Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Click here for more information on the event. Remember, you don’t need to have a tech background to come; ordinary research skills are also very helpful.

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