Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Emails: hacked or leaked?

If you are into the details of Unix and servers, this will make your day



Georg said...

Brillant. One should start a phd on this.
By the way everything was on one server and hacking one single computer was enough. How do I know it?
I know it.

Bishop Hill said...


Please tell us how you know!

Richard Tol said...

The implications are quite serious. Denying a legitimate freedom of information request is a crime, as is tax evasion and claiming reimbursement for a trip that did not take place. A stolen email is no proof. A leaked email is.

Georg said...

Well, then Richard, lets hope nobody is ever interested in your mails. One never knows.
"Die schaerfsten Kritiker der Elche waren frueher selber welche."

Mitchell said...

That analysis is criticized here:


Particularly interesting is the remark about the numeric IDs which identify the emails in the zipfile. The headers of the emails contain the date and time on which they were sent. If I understand the comment correctly, the numeric IDs are Unix timestamps for those sending times, but moved by 4 or 5 hours from UK to eastern US time. This suggests that the emails were given their current identifiers on a computer in North America, or one that was running on North American time - which in turn suggests a hack rather than a leak.

fred said...

"Well, then Richard, lets hope nobody is ever interested in your mails. One never knows."

Well, it depends whether Richard works as a civil servant and is aware about the email policy of his employer (which UEA clearly has).

" * The Act gives everyone both in and outside UEA a right of access to ANY recorded information held by UEA
* A request for information must be answered within 20 working days
* If you receive a request for information which mentions FOI, is not information you routinely provide, is unusual, or you are unsure of, you should pass the request to your FOIA contact or the Information Policy and Compliance Manager
* You should ensure that UEA records are well maintained and accessible to other staff, so that they can locate information needed to answer a request when you are not there
* As all documents and emails could potentially be released under the Act, you should ensure that those you create are clear and professional"


Georg said...

I was less referring to the FOI when answering to Richard rather to the general probability to make for example you (or Richard or Reiner for that matter) looking very bad, criminal, greedy, idiotic, arrogant, jealous, macchiavelistic by selecting a "best of" of your last 15 years e-mail. All those persons that so lighheartedly analyze the Phil Jones mails do not spend one single second on the question if this is illegal or unethical behaviour, but they give a lot of importance respecting the FOI act. I am still waiting on the guy who gives me his password so that I can check his e-mail and put a selection on a russian proxy server. Or are you a voluntary?

bernie said...

Analyzing emails that are in the public domain is not illegal - at least in the US. It does present somewhat of an ethical dilemma ... but given the perceived stakes not much of one, IMHO. Almost all scandals involving public officials or civil servants involve some questionable actions on the part of those releasing details that corroborate the scandalous behavior.
As for your thought experiment, it is ill-structured. You would first have to hypothesize what nasty comments would be in the emails. What is so damning about the emails is that they confirm in detail what had been hypothesized by McIntyre, Pielke, Keenan and others.

Georg said...

And even if Phil Jones only had spoken about Disney Movies, the mails would confirm what these brave man believe and allways said.
Your password?

Fred said...

George: "Or are you avoluntary".
Nice try George, but I'm not a civil servant who has collected $22 MILLION tax payers money since 1990.
Now George, have you read the last paragraph of the FOI compliance of UEA?
These or NOT private emails and Phil Jones and his ilk knew about it, or should know about it.
Now stop making a fool of youself asking for volunteers and passwords.
About Phil Jones making himself look bad, that's hardly the leaker/hacker/reader to blame, or issit?

Georg said...


"About Phil Jones making himself look bad, that's hardly the leaker/hacker/reader to blame, or issit?"
At all. In your responsability are just your mails (we cannt see unfortunately) and how they might appear and your moral standards. Obviously your position is: The FOI Act is very important and I gave a hack for all the others rules and laws. Interesting.

Richard Tol said...

I am not subject to a Freedom of Information Act, but it is my policy to pretend that I am.

My data and models are on the web for any and all to scrutinize at their heart's desire.

Georg said...

That is good news, Richard. So obviously I am completely wrong about human nature. Besides of Phil Jones and Mike Mann nobody hides anything, everybody speaks openly to everyone, doesnt make stupid jokes among friends, behaves childishly and is tempted by conspiration.
Well, now these two guys are caught with their pants down and the rest of the world doesnt need any privacy. So let's get rid of these laws. Nobody needs that anymore (and let's add one exception for me. Not that I need it, but I like these civil rights).

Richard Tol said...

You're being silly.

Georg said...

you're being an honest person without failure.
If only I could attain like 5% of your honesty and super-transparency (though what was your password again?).

Georg said...

For those who are even more profound than you-are-silly-Richard some explanations: I am still amazed that the use of 1000nds of stolen mails (by the way some economist collegues of yours Richard who have nothing to do with the evil Mr Jones. Did you ask them, Richard, if they appreciated their publications?) are discussed here and at many other places without any justification. I think it is something worth some justification.
In the liberal netpublication http://www.freiewelt.net/ you find for example the same problem on very small webspace. One of the classical issues of the german FDP (Liberals) was allways the protection of personal data (Datenschutz). On the freiewelt you find logically for example here http://www.freiewelt.net/blog-1195/widerstand-gegen-staatliche-%DCberwachung.html a very clear appeal against new european laws allowing the control of financial transactions (fighting terrorisme). The very same person and some others on the same webside (have a look on your own, there are several articles) are however extensively using and citing the stolen CRU mails. To my impression that's perfectly hipocritical behaviour.
Using these mails for whatever point needs a little more arguing than just "It fits my needs" or "You are silly". That's all what I wanted to say.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Georg -
you seem to ignore several facts here:

1 the emails have been made public no matter if you like it or not
2 people will read them, and have done so
3 they are referred to in the media who perused them
4 they are referred to by scientists from CRU and other relevant climate research institutions
5 these scientists have confirmed the authenticity of the mails either explicitly or implicitly
6 Many scientists involved with CRU or IPCC who have commented have commented on the meaning of 'trick' and 'hiding the decline'
7 Others have commented on other aspects
8 As a result of both the publication of the mails and the content UEA has set up a review panel.

Where is the problem?

Georg said...

"Where is the problem?"
Strange that I have yo remind you:

1) Thausands if not hundred thounsands of people get drunken to some degree each day and use their car afterwards. That doesnt make it a) legal or b) morally acceptable.

2) The fact that someone agrees on an investigation doesnt make him guilty.

3) Witch-hunting disappeared actually with the Maunder Minimum.

4) Self-righteousness is not an argument. Still I havent seen your mails of the last 15 years.

5) Kant's golden rule;
„Handle so, daß die Maxime deines Willens jederzeit zugleich als Prinzip einer allgemeinen Gesetzgebung gelten könne.“

Might be finally the discussion of these mails is fine and ok, but I hoped that you mentioned at least one of these points in a crital way before having fun discussing these mails.
Of course you can say that spending billions of dollars on worthless mitigation needs to cancel the civil rights of evil Mr Jones but let's hope that your mails never must be discussed in CNN.


Reiner Grundmann said...

I hope you do not want to attempt to put the genie back into the bottle. As someone interested in the sociology of science I am fascinated by the information availbale. You may have a moralistic aversion, and I respect that. I just see that for the first time you can see 'science in the making' on the internet. By this I do not mean the snide remarks about colleagues (these are trivial and you might find them in careless emails among many academics). Rather it is the political game they are playing while at the same time pronouncing their 'objectivity'.

Georg said...

"Rather it is the political game they are playing while at the same time pronouncing their 'objectivity'."

Are you kiddin? This is surprising to you? How old are you? 15?
Hans is underlining often that it is very important that Science is still a working social system after the climate change histeria passed by, and I agree with that. But I also like still to have some respect for our civil right system afterwards.
At least I dont give my password to nobody, even not for a social science study on how scientists speak secretely to each other.

PS If you are interested in cabale among scientists I could give you a very long list.


Newton accused Leibniz for 10 years to have stolen him the idea of differential calculus. He literaly ruined the last years of Leibniz live though he perfectly knew that Leibnis was innocent. He mobilized the entire Royal Society against him.
Have a look into this story:
Its quite instructing. Jones ist still on a low level on the Newton scale. Everyone ist still living and happily publishing.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Sorry but you do not get the point which is NOT about the cabal among scientists (this has existed most of the time in most fields of research).

Rather the point is that the central researchers figuring in the emails were the leading researchers for the IPCC report at the time. Philip Jones and Kevin Trenberth were Coordinating lead authors for the Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group 1, Chapter 3: Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change. Michael Mann was the key scientist of the now infamous ‘hockey stick’ reconstruction with which most of the email controversy has to do. These scientists had a conflict of interest when evaluating published research (of which their own of course figured prominently). It appears that they actively sought to suppress other research findings which did not concur with the main 'message'.

This has enourmous relevance given the function of the IPCC. It is at the body informing decision makers worldwide at the top level.

TCO said...

Why don't we just ask CRU if there existed some file like this internally (if something had already been generated as has been speculated).