date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 10:39:03 +0100
from: "Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)" <David.PalmeratXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: EIR requests for CRUTEM data - Additional exception?
to: "Jones Philip Prof (ENV)" <P.JonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Colam-French Jonathan Mr (ISD)" <s119atXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Mcgarvie Michael Mr (ACAD)" <k364atXYZxyz.ac.uk>
I am working on draft responses to the array of requests and will provide copies in the
near future for your review.
I have noted that one of the grounds that the Met Office used to reject a request for the
data provided to them by Phil was Regulation 12(5)(a), adverse effect on international
relations. Their reasoning is as follows:
Consideration of Exception Regulation 12 (5) (a)
Much of the requested data comes from individual Scientists and Institutions from several
countries. The Met Office received the data information from Professor Jones at the
University of East Anglia on the strict understanding by the data providers that this
station data must not be publicly released. If any of this information were released,
scientists could be reluctant to share information and participate in scientific projects
with the public sector organisations based in the UK in future. It would also damage the
trust that scientists have in those scientists who happen to be employed in the public
sector and could show the Met Office ignored the confidentiality in which the data
information was provided.
We considered that if the public have information on environmental matters, they could hope
to influence decisions from a position of knowledge rather than speculation. However, the
effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence
between states and international organisations. This relationship of trust allows for the
free and frank exchange of information on the understanding that it will be treated in
confidence. If the United Kingdom does not respect such confidences, its ability to protect
and promote United Kingdom interests through international relations may be hampered.
Competitors/ Collaborators could be damaged by the release of information which was given
to us in confidence and this will detrimentally affect the ability of the Met Office (UK)
to co-operate with meteorological organisations and governments of other countries. This
could also provoke a negative reaction from scientist globally if their information which
they have requested remains private is disclosed.
I wonder if it would be wise for us to cite the same exception under EIR in order to both
bolster the Met Office case and our own in regards requests for either all the data CRU
has, or for the subset that he provided to Georgia Tech? This also provides a route to
raise the argument regarding academic freedom and the need for academics to be able to
conduct discussions and the need to share information in order to do so.
I am not sure whether the ICO will see any merit in this argument but I doubt they would
consider it if we don't raise it.....
Information Policy & Compliance Manager
University of East Anglia
Tel: +44 (0)1603 593523
Fax: +44 (0)1603 591010