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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Freedom of information vs. the churn of intellectual debate  |  Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:49 pm
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Michael Mann's hockey stick graph has been validated with some minor corrections years ago but conservatives funded by fossil fuel interests are still hounding Mann to release emails dating from the time he worked for the University of Virginia. This being a public institution, these groups claim the right to read his emails since his salary was paid by the taxpayers of Virginia.

A judge ruled that his emails are protected from public scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act because they represent
Quote:
the churn of intellectual debate, evolving research, suddenly going up a dead end in your paths of inquiry, having the ability to come back, all this is part of the intellectual ferment that is protected.
and that they are Mann's proprietary material and proprietary means
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a thing or property owned or in the possession of one who manages and controls them

The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to rule on whether the state’s FOIA exempts unpublished academic research from being disclosed to the public, even after it’s been concluded or has been released elsewhere.

Allowing public access to emails in which hypotheses, ideas for research, opinions about other researchers and, yes, probably some political sniping might occur would tremendously hamper the free flow of thoughts and ideas among academics and set back the progress of research, which presumably is exactly the result that the conservative groups want.

Or are they seriously looking for inappropriate manipulation of data?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2013/10/09/prince-william-foia-case-on-global-warming-headed-for-virginia-supreme-court/


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Freedom of information vs. the churn of intellectual deb  |  Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:22 pm
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how would you like it if under cover of the FOIA someone wanted to see the content of your personal (or even works) emails ? if you were me you would probably get in hot water for deleting emails as soon as i don't deem to them needed anymore - would b e grist on the mill of any conspiracy theorists

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Freedom of information vs. the churn of intellectual deb  |  Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:45 pm
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I never thought of this before but a lot of the work I did for a private firm (before half retiring) was on government contracts from, for instance, the DOE. I suppose under the applicable FOIA my emails could have been subpoenaed if some entity thought the taxpayers' money wasn't being properly spent. I don't think this would have bothered me much. Any congressman reading my emails would have been extremely bored.

Whether such emails within a private firm under a government contract constitute part of the "intellectual ferment that is protected" is not obvious to me. There were competitive technologies being developed in other countries and revealing our intellectual property to them could have been harmful to the taxpayer.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Freedom of information vs. the churn of intellectual deb  |  Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:25 am
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bunbury wrote:
...which presumably is exactly the result that the conservative groups want.

Or are they seriously looking for inappropriate manipulation of data?

Either way, they win. It's sad, really, that this anti-intellectualism streak has taken such hold over so many (often very well funded and well connected) individuals. I'm often reminded of the red scare and McCarthyism. At some point, perhaps we humans will stop repeating the mistakes of our past. Perhaps not, though...

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OldChemE
Post  Post subject: Re: Freedom of information vs. the churn of intellectual deb  |  Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:47 am

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Many years ago, when I was working for GE, and we first got company e-mail capability, before we were allowed to start using e-mail there was a mandatory lecture we had to sit through led by a company lawyer. The gist of it was simple: DO NOT let yourself believe your e-mail is private. Write nothing that you would not want printed on the front page of the New York Times. GE called this the New York Times test. It amazes me how accurate this turns out to be.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Freedom of information vs. the churn of intellectual deb  |  Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:53 pm
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Interesting point, magnified now with social media, camera phones, etc.

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