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Climate emails: were they really hacked or just sitting in cyberspace?

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David Leigh, Charles Arthur and Fred Pearce
London Guardian
Thursday, February 4, 2010

More than two months after the moment that thousands of confidential emails, documents and computer code from the University of East Anglia (UEA) was released online it remains a mystery who was behind the hack.

Even Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientist, remains confused. This week, he sought to blame the leak on a foreign intelligence agency, only to admit later he had no evidence.

The university called in police last November, insisting they were victims of a criminal “theft” of data. Under Superintendent Julian Gregory, a group was pulled together from the counter-terrorism squad and Scotland Yard’s electronic crimes unit, which also included two officers from the national domestic extremism team who have expertise in pursuing “climate extremists”.


So far, the police investigation has got nowhere. It is not even clear whether the crime of computer data interception has actually occurred. What if the hacker was given a legitimate password? What if the data was accidentally open to public access?

The known facts are these. Over the weekend starting Friday 13 November, someone copied files from a backup server at the UEA’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich. They were then posted anonymously on the internet and various bloggers were alerted.

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Within days, their contents spread around the world and were being hailed by CRU’s enemies as evidence of anything from poor science to a full-blown criminal conspiracy.

Full story here.

This article was posted: Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

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