the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

ICO Responds

Posted by Jeff Id on February 18, 2010

On January 27 tAV reported that the ICO had apparently advised UEA officials that it was acceptable to ignore the FOI requests.

UEA was Advised by ICO to Ignore FOI

Today blogger Kondealer left this post on tAV.  Apparently he had filed an official complaint with the ICO on the handling of the freedom of information requests.   This in turn was was followed by an official reply.  As will all aspects of climate science,  fog it appears has again ruled the day.  It’s an amazing reply.  One thing we know for certain is that the officer who replied– is absolutely not a lawyer.  My bold below.

Comment:
I’m not so much worried about how the data got out, but how both CRU and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) who, by the way are supposed to uphold the F.O.I Act, initially colluded to withhold the data.

I made an official complaint about this and I copy the ICO’s response below.

Please find attached a letter in response to your query regarding the possible provision of advice by the ICO to UEA in relation to information requested regarding its Climatic Research Unit.

Dear XXXXXXX

I am responding to the enquiry that you made regarding what advice may have been provided by the ICO to the University of East Anglia in relation to its handling of requests for information related to its Climatic Research Unit. This has been looked into and I have outlined below the ICO’s view on this matter.

One of the emails exchanged between IPCC authors and related parties placed in the public domain contains the following sentence:

Keith and Tim are still getting Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests, as are the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and the University of Reading. All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond-advice they got from the Information Commissioner.

Viewed in isolation, this sentence may have created the false impression that the ICO provided advice to the University of East Anglia encouraging it to withhold information.

The Commissioner does not accept this view and wants to stress that such action would be in direct conflict with the vision, aims, and values of the ICO and would undermine his role as statutory regulator. The ICO would not, in any circumstances, encourage an authority to avoid compliance with the law. To do so would undermine the Commissioner’s role as an impartial regulator and compromise his duty to support the presumption of disclosure implicit within Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

Both FOI and EIR assume a default position of disclosure in response to requests made to public authorities, and this presumption is the default position adopted by the Commissioner in responding to enquiries and considering complaints. It underpins all of the Commissioner’s work in relation to FOI and EIR and his officer’s would not provide advice encouraging an authority to avoid compliance with the legislation.

It is unclear what the ‘advice’ noted in the email consisted of, or indeed whether the use of exemptions being proposed resulted from contact with the ICO’s staff or interpretation of the ICO’s existing guidance.
The Commissioner has a statutory duty to disseminate advice and guidance on the operation of FOI and the EIR. This takes the form of guidance documents, responses to written queries, and telephone contacts (usually through his help line).

Although the Commissioner’s Officers seek to address enquiries as satisfactorily as possible, they only provide general and impartial advice. When responding to queries the ICO gives high level, non-specific guidance on how an authority might consider approaching a request. This can involve directing them to published good practice guidance or to relevant ICO Decision Notices or the findings of the First-Tier Tribunal. The ICO deliberately provides this advice at a general level to minimise the possibility of being drawn into specific discussions about individual requests, as the ICO may subsequently be required to adjudicate on a related complaint.

The written queries are recorded on the ICO’s electronic case management system. Telephone enquiries are more numerous, with over 2,000 per week, and given their volume it is not practical to record the content of each (assuming that the caller consented to identify themselves, which they are under no obligation to do). The ICO has checked its records and can trace two examples of written advice provided to UEA which predate the email in question, but these were on unrelated topics with no bearing on the climate-data issue. If the University had sought verbal advice before then, the ICO would only have provided general advice, and certainly would not have explicitly supported or endorsed the use of a particular exemption or exception.

I hope that this goes someway to explaining the ICO’s position and provides some reassurance on this matter.

I hope to be able to provide you with a response to your other query regarding time limits for criminal prosecutions under the Freedom of Information Act shortly.

Yours sincerely

XXXXX
Senior Complaints Officer
FOI Team 1

So it appears that the ICO admits that such advice would be in violation of it’s charter, then denies without specific denial the advice given to, specifically referenced and actually followed by Phil Climategate Jones.  Since the official ICO wouldn’t have been willing to give advice on the matter, I suppose that it must have been a different commissioners office they were talking with.

Some relevant quotes.

1. Think I’ve managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit.

.

Keith/Tim still getting FOI requests as well as MOHC and Reading. All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond – advice they got from the Information Commissioner.

.

When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the  types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals.

.

2. You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person who is putting in FOI requests for all emails Keith and Tim have written and received re Ch 6 of AR4. We think we’ve found a way around this.

.

According to the FOI Commissioner’s Office, IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI.


46 Responses to “ICO Responds”

  1. mikep said

    The natural interpretation is that FOI officers are employees of UEA, not people in the ICO. Universities have FOI people and these are the ones I think responsible for the bad advice.

  2. Jeff Id said

    #1, There are two groups but you need to read what the emails say.

    All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond – advice they got from the Information Commissioner.

  3. Carrick said

    Jeff ID:

    All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond – advice they got from the Information Commissioner.

    But this is second hand (or worse) information.

    Unless you had some other way of knowing what the “advice” actually was, I would be very careful in treating as canonical a report of a report of a conversation.

  4. windansea said

    maybe they “mis heard” the advice?

  5. Ian said

    It’s rather like the situation when you contact the tax boffins: advice that you get on the phone may not be the same as the advice you get in a written exchange. Moreover (in Canada, at least), if the advice you were given was wrong, the Canada Revenue Agency can still claim interest, penalties etc., and will happily disavow the verbal advice you were given.

    Here, we don’t know what the UEA’s FOI people said to their contacts at the Information Commissioner’s office. How they characterized the situation would undoubtedly have influenced the advice that they were given. Maybe the thing to do is to FOI all contacts, notes of calls and emails between the UEA’s FOI officers and the Information Commissioner’s office? Find out what the exchanges were and how the situation was actually characterized when the issues were put in front of the ICO.

  6. Jeff Id said

    #3 –

    Then from a completely different email:

    According to the FOI Commissioner’s Office, IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI.

    I think it is reasonable to assume that Phil was being honest with this and was well informed of the true situation. He was very involved in the whole process and the ICO could certainly have given some advice to fellow enforcement officers from UEA. They probably just overstepped their typical procedures. Cops treat other cops differently because they are on the same team.

    In my opinion, it would be a stretch to take the ICO at it’s word on any of this matter b/c they have far too much to loose. Of all the organizations involed, the pressure of a screw up like this on them means that even if the janitor gave the orders to ignore FOI’s, they could never admit even the slightest error in judgment. So in that case, we would get lies and obfuscation. The answer wouldn’t be much different than if they had done nothing wrong.

    One part I found interesting was the attempt to imply out of context by saying:

    Viewed in isolation, this sentence may have created the false impression that the ICO provided advice to the University of East Anglia encouraging it to withhold information.

    Of course viewed in complete context, you also get the impression that ICO provided the advice.

  7. Carrick said

    Jeff ID:

    I think it is reasonable to assume that Phil was being honest with this and was well informed of the true situation

    It isn’t a question of honesty, it is a question of the accuracy of third-hand accounts.

    Even first hand accounts are heavily influenced by memory and even the retelling of events. By the time you get to third hand accounts, it is useful to say “can we find anything to substantiate this?” In the absence of that, in my opinion, it has little or no probative value.

  8. Binned said

    Possibly the ICO gave advice, listing all the requirements and exemptions, but without offering any encouragement for any particular action, and UEA picked out the exemptions they thought applied from this larger body information.

    I know it’ll be hard for you to believe that the CRU could have “cherrypicked” the advice in this way; being respectable people they’d never do anything so dishonest. But with a bit of creative misunderstanding this could be described as advice from the information commissioner, in much the same way that The Yamal Tree data could be described as the temperature in Siberia.

  9. Phillip Bratby said

    Whichever way you view the sentence, the ICO advice to the UEA, Met Office and Reading University FOI officers was to ignore FOIA requests (according to Phil Jones). If “our FOI officers” refers to all three organisations (one wouldn’t expect UEA to need more than one part-time FOI officer).

  10. Confused said

    Jeff, surely the “complete context” involves actually knowing what the so-called advice was and not relying on Jones’ hearsay. It strikes me that if the IPCC is beyond national FOI requests there is plenty of ground for ambiguous jurisdiction over data, which could lead to anything from innocent misinterpretation (best case), to convenient selection of jurisdiction (middle case), to willful obfuscation (worst case).

  11. Andy Krause said

    Well then, the commissioner should be very concerned that the University of East Anglia originally ignored the FOI requests and were using the FOI’s name in doing so. I eagerly await his investigation.

  12. Raven said

    It is also possible that the FOI officiers did not actually provide all of the information to the ICO or deliberately misled the ICO in order to get the answer they wanted.

  13. DaveJR said

    I think the advice that was offered by the ICO was in good faith and regarding the UEAs obligations under the law.

    For example, the advice the UEA might have sought could be something like “If this data is confidential, are we required to release it?”, and you can guess how such an answer could be abused!

  14. paul irwin said

    somebody needs to sue the uea and ico and, through a court-administered discovery process request the additional documents, emails, and data that will conclusively prove your case. the potential damages are hundreds of millions of dollars of fraud, conspiracy, and harm from fraudulently-based policy decisions. i’m sure millions of people would be glad to contribute to a fund to initiate a class-action suit against the uea, ipcc, and other groups that have defrauded the public as a result of their intentional – or unintentional – slant on the issue of climate change. imo, institutionalized prevarication at this scale equals fraud.

  15. Chris S said

    I think you’re reading much more into this than the e-mails or ICO statement imply. UEA FOI officers probably interpreted non specific advice from ICO, to suit their purposes.

    Bodies in the UK like the ICO, tend to be staffed by bureaucratic robots, whose primary skill is to interpret and stick to the rules, anally. I would expect that you could take the ICO’s statement as accurate and factual.

    It’s the UEA that have the agenda.

  16. Pat Frank said

    Here is the core issue of the ICO response; comments follow: “[1]Viewed in isolation, this sentence may have created the false impression that the ICO provided advice to the University of East Anglia encouraging it to withhold information.

    [2]”The Commissioner does not accept this view and wants to stress that such action would be in direct conflict with the vision, aims, and values of the ICO and would undermine his role as statutory regulator. [3]The ICO would not, in any circumstances, encourage an authority to avoid compliance with the law.” [numeration] added.

    Here’s how the ICO office is telling the truth in this response:

    [1] Discussions with the UEA FOI officer is not “advice to the University of East Anglia.” Further, verbal mention of possible exceptions is not encouragement “to withhold information.”

    [2] Direct advice to withhold information violates the charge of the ICO office. However, discussion of potential exceptions does not.

    [3] The law always has grey areas. Discussion of such areas as routes to plausible exceptions, such as that the IPCC does not fall under national FOI laws, does not violate the legal letter of the ICO charge.

    Therefore, it is possible that the response letter is carefully worded to be true without being accurate; providing the opportunity for mental reservations to public reassurances. It is vague, with the appearance of specificity.

    The ICO could easily have violated the spirit of the law without having violated the letter of it. There is no reassurance in the letter that this is not so.

    The ICO needs to be explicit in reply, which he was not. Did he, or did he not, have conversations with the FOI officer at UEA and other universities? Did he, or did his office, discuss possible FOI exceptions with university FOI officers, or others, that included using the international standing of the IPCC as a plausible FOI exception?

    I’m sure a lawyer would see large holes in the ICO reassurances.

  17. bigcitylib said

    Sounds to me that, originally, Jones convinced the local info officer and the UEA upper management AND the UK ICO that the FOI requests were frivolous. One arm of ICO is now trying to wheedle out.

    Which is interesting–before the crap hit the fan everyone thought the FOI requests were nutzzo.

  18. Raven said

    bigcitylib,

    The requests were not rejected because they were frivolous. The were rejected because PJ told the FOI officers a bunch of lies about what sceptics like SteveMc were trying to do. We know that whatever Jones told them it was a lie because if he had told the truth there is no way the FOI officers could have agreed to without information.

  19. bigcitylib said

    PJ showed his info officer that CA was a bunch of kooks, they both convinced upper management at UEA, and apparently everyone apparently convinced someone at the ICO. Looks like ICO jumped the gun with their earlier denunciation.

    Good work. Hope this is in the papers tomorrow! Maybe what will come out of this is UK will alter FOI laws so as to exclude teabaggers.

  20. Raven said

    bigcitylib,

    In other words, you agree PJ lied through his teeth. If he told the truth UAE management would have understood that that SteveMc requests were legimate and refusing them would violate the law. This is the position that ICO is taking now that it knows the truth about who was asking for the data and why.

  21. Alan Wilkinson said

    I’m not familiar with the UK ICO but if it is anything like the NZ law then the ICO would never give specific advice based on a case presented by only one side since its role as an independent adjudicator on appeal would then be hopelessly compromised.

    So my bet is that the ICO did as it says, responded with a general outline of the law and its interpretation, and that the UEA administrative staff took it on themselves to create their own (incorrect) “ruling”.

  22. Pat Frank said

    Bcl #19 — you’ve never given any evidence that you understand any of the science or statistics of the climatological debate, so your diagnosis of CA as “a bunch of kooks” is entirely a product of your political prejudice.

    No one who understands anything of the science, and especially of the numerical and statistical methodologies directed to proxy thermometry, could seriously consider Steve McIntyre a “kook.”

  23. Richard said

    It appears to me that the ICO is saying the following: (1) We have no record of an inquiry from CRU or East Anglia. If an inquiry was made, it would have been made orally to the Help Line. (2) Whether an inquiry as claimed had been made, ICO would have never given the advice which CRU and East Anglia say they received. (3) Even if an oral request led to the wrong response, which ICO denies, ICO disavows that advice.

    This is a major defeat for the CRU people. They can not now prove they had advice from the ICO approving their actions. The “FOI person” is clearly an CRU-East Anglia employee. What may have happened here is a FOI person gave proper advice to the CRU to disclose the documents. The CRU officials complained about the advice and demanded that another FOI person be assigned to the matter. A second, more compliant FOI person was given the issue. The second person, realizing that good evaluations and job security might be jeopardized by giving unwelcome advice, may have presented an improbable weasel-like way to avoid disclosure and CRU jumped at it.

  24. windansea said

    bigcitylib Alexa blog traffic ranking #1,062,180

    nice going!!

  25. Steve E said

    Raven,

    I agree with most of your argument. PJ created his own truth that fit “the agenda.” He was a highly respected person in an officially officious position… just the type who would get an ICO official to give a most favourable nod and wink.

    Where I disagree is: I don’t believe that ICO is taking its current position because it “knows the truth about who was asking for the data and why.” I think this is an exercise in protecting your butt and if they can make SteveMc look “unreasonable” they will.

    Despite all that is coming to light, institutions will fight to protect their legitimacy and the political orthodoxy will do what it can to protect those institutions no matter how high to heaven it may stink.

    Colour me cynical…

  26. Steve E said

    Perhaps I should have said, colour me skeptical or colour me deniarable (sic)

  27. AMac said

    Raven, bigcitylib —

    What are the grounds for denying an FoI request? In particular, is it only a matter of the request, or can the status of the requester be important as well?

    For instance, the law might demand that a requester be a citizen or resident of the UK. Or, the law might be written such that the focus is only on the request itself, with the identity of the inquirer essentially irrelevant to the FoI process.

    Was PJ or CRU or UEA or the UEA FoI office working to deny the requests of Steve McI and his associates because PJ et al. find their persons or politics to be disagreeable? If so, that may have presented something of a problem, procedurally speaking.

    Quickly Googling, here is an 11-page PDF from the UK OIC, a FAQ entitled “Vexatious and Repeated Requests.” Excerpts —

    However, while placing a general duty on public authorities to give access to official information the Act also provides an exception to that duty for requests which are vexatious or repetitious. (In the case of the Environmental Information Regulations, the equivalent provision is for requests which are manifestly unreasonable.)

    [snip]

    An important point to note here is that it is the request rather than the
    requester which must be vexatious.

    [snip]

    As stated, section 14 applies to requests received by a public authority, not to the person who has submitted the request… A useful test which a
    public authority could apply in determining whether to comply with a request for information in such circumstances is to judge whether the information would be supplied if it were requested by another person, unknown to the authority. If this would be the case, the information must normally be provided as the public authority cannot discriminate between different requesters.

    [snip]

    A better starting point is the assumption built into the Act that public authorities must generally discount the identity and circumstances of the applicant and must regard any release of information as if it were a release to the world at large.

    These quotes make it unlikely that PJ and the FoI bureaucracy will be cheered by this idea for a defense of their (in)actions:

    PJ showed his info officer that CA was a bunch of kooks, they both convinced upper management at UEA, and apparently everyone apparently convinced someone at the ICO… Maybe what will come out of this is UK will alter FOI laws so as to exclude teabaggers.

  28. Raven said

    AMac,

    The FOI act does not distinguish between requesters. The emails make it is painfully obvious that PJ did break the act because they make it clear that PJ was not worried about releasing the data. All he cared about was making sure the data did not get in the hands of people that ‘might find something wrong with it’.

  29. David Adamson said

    The ICO response is the equivalent of throwing the CRU under a bus, it’s official language for “we never did advise CRU to ignore FOI requests”
    Jeff, BTW loose does not mean lose!

  30. bigcitylib said

    The point isn’t whether McI and Co. are whackjobs (they are); or even whether a “law” was broken (who knows?). The point is that a whole truck load of people would have been involved in the decisions re the FOI requests, including, it seems, ICO staff. If Sir Muir goes into this particular issue, then he will have to speak with both the UEA FOI officer and the ICO people the FOI officer spoke with. In fact it makes it harder for the ICO to throw UEA under the bus, as ICO central will almost certainly be drawn into the investigation to determine what their people on the phone line did or did not say. Since the origonal ICO sanction against UEA was done without contacting UEA officials–speaking up before thinking, in other words–I imagine this will cause them some embarrassment.

  31. bigcitylib said

    By the way, the official statement from UEA says:

    “During this case we have sought the advice of the ICO and responded fully to any requests for information.”

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/vcstatement

    …so its almost certain that their decision was taken after consultation with someone in the ICO. Probably a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing at ICO.

  32. Jeff Id said

    #30 Bigcitylib

    The point isn’t whether McI and Co. are whackjobs (they are); or even whether a “law” was broken (who knows?).

    This sentence has two points and two problems. First the breaking of law was so obvious that the ICO admitted it very early in the invesigation. But I wonder why would you say Steve McIntyre is a whackjob? I’m not on his defense team but when I spend a year and a half of MY life studying his results and comparing them to the team results and can find no errors, I wonder just what exactly constitutes whackjob. Is there some error I’m unaware of?

    I suspect it’s a lack of mathematical understanding on your part but the only people who think there is a debate as to whether the HS’s are good are climatologists, advocates and people who have no math background.

    Is there some piece of evidence for bad work somewhere?

  33. JohnH said

    Even if the ICO gave the advice the CRU say they recieved it is of no use in protecting the CRU from falling foul of the FOIA UK. The precedent set is in the Westminter MP’s expenses row, some of the MP’s tried to use the excuse that the expense claims were valid because they had confirmation from the Claims office that the expenses were within the rules. The MP’s were able to provide documents supporting their stance, however it was ruled they could not use this defence as they should have not relied upon the advice of the Claim office as it was their own responsility to operate within the rules. So the FOC could have given any wrong advice they wanted too but it doesn’t get the CRU off the hook.

  34. AMac said

    Jeff Id #32 —

    > > The point isn’t whether McI and Co. are whackjobs (they are)

    McIntyre discovered that Mann et al (PNAS, 2008) tortured the Tiljander proxies by wrongly calibrating the uncalibratable, and by using at least two of them in an upside-down orientation (their “warmer” signals were read into the reconstruction as “colder” and vice versa). Links.

    bigcitylib weighed in at ClimateAudit with this rebuttal of McIntyre —

    Given Connolley’s latest, which includes a link to Mann’s supplementary data, [PDF]

    …it seems that:

    1) Connolley is correct on the narrow math point: in this situation, there is no such thing as the signal being upside down.

    2) Mann et al were well aware of the problems with the various proxies that Mc has discussed, and dealt with them as best they knew how. Perhaps not up to Mcs exacting standards, but still, they were not caught out entirely by them, as Mc has insinuated.

    Bottom line: Mc here as is re-picking a nit Mann himself picked back in 2008. Nothing to see here.

    [sarc]Unless I’m missing something, bigcitylib has shown that McI is, indeed, a whackjob.[/sarc]

  35. Jeff Id said

    #34 I don’t know how he got such an incorrect view of the situation. In fact I didn’t know this view even existed.

    In Mann 08 there was a RegEM multivariate method which by its nature flips proxies for the best hockey stick. This resulted in using Tiljander upside down. This is incorrect on it’s face value which should have resulted in an immediate correction to the HS. It’s not even a point worth arguing yet Mann is such an advocate that’s exactly what he did. It’s a sophists argument.

    However, there were two methods used in Mann08, the other – beaten to death here – is the CPS method. This method does not flip proxies for the best HS, it eliminates them. In the case of Mann08 CPS, this proxy was also phisically flipped and used upside down in a method which can tell the difference. Therefore the first sophist argument is absolutely moot WRT the correctness of Mann08.

    So to his point

    1 – I assume Connelly must have supported the fact that Multi-Variate methods will flip the data for best fit. – I don’t know his full position on that but of course, upside down data is incorrect so that alone should invalidate the method. There is a post on this topic I was thinking of before cliamtegate, the problem of flipping also extends to signals not only with inverted signals (like tiljander) but muted signals as well. After I’m done messing with temp, I’ll do some Mann08-09 signal processing.

    2 – I do believe they are aware of the data eliminating problems which cause variance amplification in the calibration range. The methods are one after another specifically designed to organize the noise into an amplified signal. See the HS posts above. They apply equally to EIV methods.

  36. AMac said

    Jeff Id #35 —

    Separately, there is a non-statistical argument to be made that Mann et al (PNAS, 2008)’s use the Lake Korttajarvi proxies constitutes an extremely informative test of the most important Null Hypothesis with respect to proxy-based reconstructions of paleotemperature anomalies. Link.

    The noisy assertions that Mann’s highly advanced computers automatically correct all possible data-flips obscure the signal, such that discussions never reach the jumping-off point for the interesting arguments. Unfortunately.

  37. Kondealer said

    Dear all, many thanks for all the feedback.

    I have now decided what I will do next.

    1) I will make an F.O.I request to the ICO for all materials pertaining to contacts that the ICO had between CRU regarding what advice may have been provided by the ICO to the University of East Anglia in relation to its handling of requests for information related to its Climatic Research Unit.
    This will include transcripts of telephone conversations, because I believe that they are recorded for “security and traning purposes”

    2) I intend to send the ICO’s letter to the “Independent” CRU Inquiry under Sir Muir-Russell pointing out that CRU can no longer prove they had advice from the ICO approving their actions. Which IMHO refutes what CRU are saying on their website
    “During this case we have sought the advice of the ICO and responded fully to any requests for information.”
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/vcstatement

    Watch this space.

  38. AMac said

    Kondealer #37 —

    You might request records or notes pertaining to telephonic communications, as well as transcripts. It could be instructive to know when UEA/CRU – ICO calls were placed (and when they were not placed), and their durations, even if no transcripts are made available.

  39. Ash said

    Both statements could be true. PJ/UEA FOI guys could phone up and ask the ICO: “What should we do when we get inundated by requests from complete nut-case deniers who have no real need of this data, and who are making multiple FOI requests simply as a form of harassment?” And the ICO could have answered “In a situation like that where they are clearly not serious requests and are meant purely as a form of harassment then you can ignore them”. OK, so we know these requests were legitimate, and there was a perfectly good reason for the requesters to need the information, but think of it from the UEA/PJ position on this. Essentially, the PJ/UEA arrogant world view was these people are a bunch of nutters harassing us. Therefore we can ignore the requests.

    The ICO giving ‘general advice not specific to the case’ could recommend to ignore nutters without needing to make a specific judgment on whether indeed these requests were from nutters. The fault is on UEA/PJ for classing anyone who doubts or even questions their dogma as ‘harassing nutter denier climate criminals intent on destroying the world’, not the ICO.

  40. Deep Thought said

    Ash, I can see where you are coming from.
    However the UEA/CRU view is subjective. It is not up to CRU to determine whether or not a request is harrassment, rather that of the IOC. If CRU made a false representation of the character of the person who made a request, is this not libel?

  41. Alan Wilkinson said

    Ash, the point is that UEA would have asked for specific advice and the IOC would have responded with a general statement on the law’s provisions and interpretations. I’ll eat my hat if it was anything else.

    Kondealer is correct in his follow-up approach. It can only reveal that no specific advice was ever provided by the IOC. UEA will be left under the bus.

  42. Ash said

    Alan, yes I agree with you. CRU is being hung out to dry by the ICO. No specific advice could have been received, only general. I was simply saying that *at the time* the CRU may have believed (wrongly of course) that the ICO advice meant that they could ignore the requests.

  43. John M said

    Maybe what will come out of this is UK will alter FOI laws so as to exclude teabaggers.

    Ahh, life under liberal rule. Laws drawn up and enforced in order to limit your political opponents.

    Well, if it’s the only way to advance your agenda, might as well try it.

  44. Kondealer.

    WRT the holland FOIA.

    Holland put in his request in early may 2008.

    By may 27th or so PALMER had already predetermined the basis for rejection.

    The mails were confidential.

    They asked Ammann if his mails were confidential

    On the 28th or so Jones ask mann to delete mails ( and other)

    june 2 or 3 the denial goes out.

    So the window to ask the ICO was around may 2008 to June 2.

    I seriously doubt if the ICO said anything. AFTER this affair the ICO came upon the best excuse.

    read the ICo and jones et al at CA

  45. Kondealer said

    Have now sent a “submission” to the CRU Inquiry Team pointing out the apparent inconsistency between CRU leaked emails-
    “All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond-advice they got from the Information Commissioner.”

    And the statement issued by UEA-

    “During this case we have sought the advice of the ICO and responded fully to any requests for information.”
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/vcstatement

    And the response I received from the ICO (the subject of this thread)

    “Viewed in isolation, this sentence (from the email) may have created the false impression that the ICO provided advice to the University of East Anglia encouraging it to withhold information.”

    I have had a formal receipt of my submission-

    “Sir/Madam

    Many thanks for your email to the independent Climate Change Email Review. All emails will be read and eventually published by the Review.
    If relevant to the Review remit, your email will be considered as a submission by the Review team.

    Where possible we will try to respond to questions raised, though the volume of emails received means that this may take time.

    With best wishes

    The independent Climate Change Email Review team.£

    I’ll wait with bated breath.

    I will now work on my F.O.I request to the ICO for all correspondence pertinent to the above.

  46. bigcitylib said

    You go boy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: