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1073 “Global Warming” Emails Leaked

Published on November 23, 2009 by in email

A collection of 1073 email messages and 72 documents from Britain’s University of East Anglia (UEA)‘s Climate Research Unit (CRU) related to climate change research was leaked on to the Internet last week. This collection is currently being widely discussed on the Internet and gives a peek into how climate change research has been managed, including the process of peer review. Phil Jones, Director of the CRU and Professor at UEA, told Investigate Magazine‘s TGIF Edition the emails appeared to be genuine and that they may have been retrieved during a recent hacking incident, saying “It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.” Some are now referring to this incident as the “CRUHack” which is searchable on Twitter.

The collection was first posted to a Russian FTP site before finding its way on to BitTorrent and being published as a web searchable archive.

I won’t get into the specific subject matter as this is already being covered on many sites (some links provided below); however, I will provide an overview of the email that is provided.

  • Email Files: the email is available in 1073 text files each containing one MIME message. Some messages have the Eudora x-flowed tag indicating that Eudora may be the email client used.
  • Email Headers: only common headers such as From/To/Cc/Subject/Date are available.
  • Date Header: the email date header shows a variety of dates including different formats, time zones, and UTC offsets indicating the date field is original and has not been canonicalized.
  • From/To/Cc Headers: These headers appear to all contain SMTP email address with some headers also containing display names. The original collection has full email addresses while many downstream reposters have anonymized email addresses by removing the server name portion of the email address.

The CRU appears to be considering their options in light of this hack. As of yet, they have not threatened legal action against the numerous blogs and users that have reposted the email. Some have suggested that the email has already been but into the public domain but CRU has not made a statement on this yet; however, as of now, they do not appear to be taking, or threatening, legal action against parties that are posting this data.

For discussion of the contents, including alleged efforts to manipulate climate change data, see the following sites:

Photo courtesy of Victius.

 
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