Originally Posted by Tyche Shepherd
The Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which is at the centre of the Climategate email hacking, has been reprimanded by the UK Information Commissioners Office, the body which amongst other things adjudicates request under the Freedom of Information Act (other responsibilities include Data Protection and Privacy).
In a statement, The Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith said that data requests made in 2007 and 2008 (which are mentioned in the leaked Emails) should have been honoured by the CRU and that it was an offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information act "to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information". It is unlikely that any prosecutions will arise from this as there is a very short statute of limitations on FOI requests in the UK , However, this case along with other time barred cases are probably going to be used by the ICO to try to change the law and ensure time limits be raised.
More here BBC News - Climate e-mails row university 'breached data laws'
This isn't the results of the main investigation into the CRU which is expected to finish in the spring, but how the CRU dealt with FOI requests is one aspect that the main investigation is looking at
Well, regardless of my opinions on AGW and all that, I have to side with transparency here. Anything less just fuels the conspiracy theorists and the media-vangelists that the right worships will just get louder and more cocksure. Besides, I'd like to know, with a fair degree of certainty, that the numbers and statistical analysis that have been presented were done in good faith.
Now, that said, while the actions were arguably unethical, at least one of the requests was made by the same people publishing crap studies in low quality publications. I'll try and do some more research on this and post links if I get some time. Let's just say I can sympathize with, but not justify the actions taken. And ultimately, even if using perfectly valid data with perfectly valid analysis, not submitting to FOI requests hurts the cause. We really need to do our best to just deal with shitty studies being published and respond with scientific analysis rather than getting egg on the face. It makes me look bad. It makes those who side with me look bad. It makes the scientific institution look bad. And perhaps even more importantly, it makes people like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh look good when they're just preying on their bobbleheaded followers' ignorance. It's really just a shame that this all plays out this way.