FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) is an important US law that allows the public access to government records. Anyone can file a FOIA. Most scientists are employed by universities, which are subject to FOIA requests. A right-wing group called “American Tradition Institute” has filed several requests to review emails of climate scientists, especially communications those scientists have had with the media, such as the New York Times, etc.
The issue gets complicated from there - issues of intimidation, conspiracy, free speech, politics, etc. It’s an interesting question - should government employed scientists’ emails be made public?
UPDATE: Please read the story.
UPDATE II: What about students’ emails, who get government funding from TA-ing, dorm monitoring, scholarships, lab grants, government loans, etc.?
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- pfowolf answered: Censorship or any blackout of govt employed people goes against the 1st Amendment. It is wrong when the Right does it, wrong for the left.
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- geodetea answered: That’s the tricky thing about transparency. It cuts both ways. Too bad we can’t get the emails of a large energy company, like Chevron…
- neightkelly answered: Everything the government does should be made public.
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- squashed answered: Absolutely. With some narrow exceptions, these are covered by FOIA. When you’re a public employee, this can happen and you should know that.
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- questionall answered: Well, if it has to do with their work for the government then I would have to say yes.
- iknowhowyoufeelman answered: as soon as we make communication between executives at banks that receive government bailouts public too.
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