As shutdown commences, federal open government databases go dark or dormant

From As hundreds of thousands of federal workers were sent home amid the first federal government shutdown since the 1990s, so too did many of the databases that provide government transparency and allow researchers to understand the social and economic fabric of the United States.

Because of a lack of staffing or because they were deemed non-essential services, much of the statistical information kept by the federal government will remain dormant as long as the shut down continues, if it hasn’t disappeared entirely.

The U.S. Census Bureau and – a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s open government initiative – shuttered entirely early Tuesday morning, while other agencies, such as the FEC and the Bureau of Labor Statistics will not update their websites, cutting off a flow of critical economic and political information.

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