Another university resists FOI
Sep 1, 2011
Bishop Hill in FOI

H/T to reader Ian for this story from the BBC about the University of Stirling resisting attempts by tobacco giant Philip Morris to get hold of research about teenagers' reactions to plain packaging for cigarettes. The university is claiming that handing the information over would amount to a breach of confidence.

Clearly if individuals' names are attached to the disclosure then they would have a case, but one can't help feeling that the university's argument is a smokescreen put up because they don't want to hand over the research. Whether this is because they have something to hide or because they just don't want to comply with the law remains to be seen.

Update on Sep 1, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

More at the Independent:

Professor Hastings said that Philip Morris's demands have taken up large amounts of time and resources, diverting his department's attention from its primary role of investigating smoking behaviour. "We have spent a lot of time on this. A research unit like ours simply can't afford this," he said. "But for me the crux is the trust we have with young people. How easy will it be for us to get co-operation from young people in the future?

"Our funders will have to think carefully about the further funding of our research. I don't think for one moment a cancer charity is going to take kindly to paying us hundreds of thousands of pounds to give aid and succour to a multinational tobacco corporation."

This all has a rather familiar ring, doesn't it?

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