ClimateGate news

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"it’s clear to us a breach has occurred"

Scientists in the stolen e-mail scandal known as Climategate hid data according to Ben Webster and Jonathan Leake at the TimesOnLine.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.
So the UEA gets off on a technicality.
A spokesman for the ICO said: “The legislation prevents us from taking any action but from looking at the emails it’s clear to us a breach has occurred.” Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine.
But wait. It looks like the University had processes in place which would prevent the complaint process from proceeding in a timely manner.
Mr Holland said: “There is an apparent Catch-22 here. The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”
Very clever. The University's complaint procedure is designed to waste enough time so that prosecution under the FOI Act is not possible. Sounds like bureaucratic obstruction of justice to me.

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