California bill would curb open records requests used to harass biotech, public health researchers

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Corporations and activists from the left and the right are abusing open records laws to harass public university researchers. A growing body of analysis shows that these attacks are growing both in number and severity. Fortunately, some states have begun to clarify how these laws apply to university researchers, both through courts and state legislatures.

[Recently] California Assemblymember Laura Friedman introduced legislation that would modernize the California Public Records Act to encourage the release of information that enables public accountability while protecting the research and discovery process that is so critical to the mission of public universities.

Related article:  Will gene editing boost food production? The potential of a 'revolutionary technology'

[Editor’s note: Michael Halpern is the deputy director of the Center for Science & Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.]

post I wrote in 2015 detailed how anti-GMO activists used overly-broad open records requests to attempt to vilify genetic researchers and the journalists who report on their work….

We said that the group’s requests constituted harassment because they were so broad and seemed like fishing expeditions. The group has since proved this point, publishing and deceptively framing emails on its website to intimate that reporters were taking money to write favorable stories on genetically modified food (they were not) and shopping around other manufactured controversies….

Read full, original article: Corporations and Activists are Exploiting Open Records Laws. California is Trying to Change That

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