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Monday, November 23, 2009

Climate change hack has an FOI angle

The publication of email exchanges between scientists following a cyberattack on researchers at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England suggest attempts to skew the debate about aspects of the climate change debate, but also reveal attempts to keep unhelpful information from Freedom of Information requests in various parts of the world. According to The Wall Street Journal :
"More recent exchanges centered on requests by independent climate researchers for access to data used by British scientists for some of their papers. The hacked folder is labeled "FOIA," a reference to the Freedom of Information Act requests made by other scientists for access to raw data used to reach conclusions about global temperatures.

Many of the email exchanges discussed ways to decline such requests for information, on the grounds that the data was confidential or was intellectual property. In other email exchanges related to the FOIA requests, some U.K. researchers asked foreign scientists to delete all emails related to their work for the upcoming IPCC summary. In others, they discussed boycotting scientific journals that require them to make their data public."

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