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Subject: Consequences of Blocking Freedom of Information Request?
Jeff_F_F    11/24/2009 9:25:07 AM
It appears that perhaps the most serious and fully substantiated accusation arrising from the hacked climate-change email scandal is blocking the process of Freedom of Information Act requests, and coordinating with officials within the organization reponsible for ensuring those requests were completed to block them. I'm not that familiar with FOIA in either the US or UK, and I'm not a legal expert. But both my current and previous employer have had regular trainings about how to repond to legal holds, and these emails sound eerily like a script for the "what not to do" side of these trainings. I'm not clear on the exact consequences (civil, legal?), but those trainings made it clear that if discovery in a US civil case involving a corporation had been similarly blocked the corporation and indivisuals involved would be facing serious consequences. Again I don't know if FOIA works the same way, and I'm quite curious.
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neutralizer       11/28/2009 9:50:23 PM
FOI is not the same as discovery.  However, if someone thinks they've had a FOI request unreasonably refused or only partially completed then there is an appeal process, evenatually to the Information Commissioner.  Resposnse to FOI requests usually (should always iaw the act?) include information about how to appeal.
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