Environment and Ecology

Climate centre hacked

This subject has already been covered on the web, but I haven’t seen it discussed yet on Sciblogs, so thought I would bring it to the fore.

Being quite aware that I don’t do the climate change thing (as it were), for no reason other than that there are other people far more qualified than me to do so.

But still, this is quite something…

To fill everyone in: the University of East Anglia, which is apparently one of Britain’s leading climate change research centres, has been hacked. The emails, covering 1991-2009, first appeared online on Nov 19th, and have since gained widespread attention.

And yes, this was a crime - the centre was hacked, and personal emails stolen and disseminated publicly. Not allowed. Not even slightly. No matter how one might justify it.

Further, lines from the emails are being used by climate change skeptics (deniers?) as proof of collusion between scientists. You know, as part of this huge conspiracy, involving thousands of scientists all over the world, in which anthropogenic climate change is all a big fib. Yes. That one.

The fact that the emails have been split up and discreet sentences used (for example, taking the phrase’ trick’ to mean deliberate obfuscation, or even outright lying, instead of a just-as-common phrase, to mean ‘clever technique’) alone is, basically, the same thing as cherry-picking and quote mining…a ‘trick’ used fairly often by…certain groups. And while not technically a crime, it is certainly dishonest. Taken out of context, even the most innocuous sentence can sound dastardly.

Not much more to say (there’s been plenty already written), and a little more serious than most of my posts, but it’s something I think important…

More info:

  • http://2farmertom.wordpress.com/ tomfarmer

    small point aimee.. it’s the guardian(link)

    also have your feeds picked up yet the strong possibility that what is doing the rounds are not original files.. could explain the ‘how’ and some backstory to your observation re “discreet” sentences etc.. the possibility of inserted material to deliberately skew or bias meanings cannot be overlooked here. Authenticity being, OTOH, the main point presently..

  • Aimee Whitcroft

    Thanks for that, and yes, you’re absolutely right, the authenticity of the emails is also questionable. Also, that ‘discreet’ should have been ‘discrete’…

  • Aimee Whitcroft

    (Note: I have changed the original mistaken link/name)

  • http://www.bioinfotools.com Grant Jacobs

    Poneke now has a few words on this: http://poneke.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/leak/

    Fanning the conspiracy flames…