From The Age:
A global tobacco giant is using freedom of information laws to obtain data from surveys by thousands of Victorian school children and teenagers that reveal their attitudes to smoking and alcohol.
Public health advocates believe “Big Tobacco” may use the data to hone their marketing of cigarettes to teenagers, as well as to fight plain packaging laws first implemented in Australia and now being introduced across the globe. There are also concerns the data could be shared with alcohol companies.
Tobacco advertising and marketing of all sorts is illegal in Australia and has been for over 20 years. How stupid do these “public health advocates” think we are? How stupid is The Age for uncritically publishing such rubbish?
It’s understood the institute felt legally compelled to disclose the data, effectively giving Big Tobacco access to millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-funded research for the price of an FOI application.
The horror. The horror.
It’s called open access publishing. Taxpayer funded research is supposed to be zero-price. In fact – the FOI fee should be refunded.
The fact is we now know the plain packaging policy is based on fabricated evidence. Now it’s just a case of determining exactly how much of the “evidence” has been fabricated. That means that every academic and research organisation that has published in the area can expect to receive a request for their underlying data. That data, I suspect, will be placed into the public domain – as is quite appropriate for taxpayer funded research data – and people will be able to investigate exactly what has been going on.
This is a delicious irony:
The Victorian Cancer Council is spending thousands of dollars fighting the FOI application in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Charity spending thousands of donated dollars to prevent a taxpayer from access taxpayer funded research?