Scientists at public universities who are funded by BP are being told by BP that they can’t reveal their oil-spill results while litigation is pending.

I’m not sure I buy it. (Caveat: I’m not an attorney.) States like NC have public records statutes making all state records, except for trade secrets, the property of the people, available for all to copy upon request. Now, BP might take a shot at claiming that the data must be kept confidential by virtue of its being a trade secret, but, if this claim were challenged in court, I don’t see how it would be upheld. Nobody will stand to gain financially by acquiring such data, for example, which is one way of justifying a confidentiality claim.

In the end, to really pry this open, somebody may have to spend some bucks to mount a challenge. It would be a nice project for some law students, if nothing else.


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