Bionet public archives and privacy

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Bionet public archives and privacy

Ed Griffiths

Please read the below from Don Gilbert who supervises/coordinates much of the
bionet archives.

I'm not aware of any issues for acedb but if you have concerns you should
probably contact me directly in the first instance.

| Ed Griffiths, Acedb development, Informatics Group,                    |
|  The Morgan Building, Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus   |
|  Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1HH                                           |
|                                                                        |
| email: [hidden email]  Tel: +44-1223-496844  Fax: +44-1223-494919 |

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 17:18:49 -0500 (EST)
From: Don Gilbert <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [Biomail Site List] Update on Bionet public archives and privacy

Dear Bionet moderators,

As some contributors change their minds or learn after the fact
that any public discussions become Google'able and expose their
messages to searches by name, I and likely some of you, get
requests to edit/remove posts from the public archives at

The consensus of comments from many folks on this
is summarized in this policy

A while back I brought this subject to your attention

Please share your opinions among this moderators group. There is
not now software support for moderators to edit the Bionet group
archives. Somewhere down the road for Bionet, if new software
packages make this feasible, I would like to see moderators have
the option to handle these requests.

For now, you should direct requests for message removal/editing
to the above biosci-termsofuse.html document.  If a Bionet
contributor's concerns extend beyond the fairly common
"just don't want my name in Google searches" to some
specific need or harm, I deal with these on a case by
case basis, thru e-mail to [hidden email]

For instance, I handled a request from someone who posted many
messages with a personal address/phone to remove these when the
person started teaching prison inmates (who have web access).
I generally remove those post from people asking for
medical advice, etc. and off-topic posts.

I also have denied requests from people asking removal of their
messages, and replies by others quoting them, on subjects
of controversy where the discussion was pertinant to the
group. This included refusal in the face of legal action against
myself and Indiana U.

Generally if it is an appropriate message for a Bionet group,
this is a public message that should be preserved, and it will be
preserved in other Internet archives. Removing it from Bionet
archives doesn't solve problems of increased spam (spambots read
Usenet directly), and basically may only lower the
ranking in Google searchs of where the message is found
(e.g. all Bionet messages also make it into searchable Google
Groups archives).

Scientists have a public persona, with contact information and
views expressed in many venues.  Googling our public discussions
is now part of our society.  I occasionally look thru Bionet use logs,
and find for instance that Google searches from, which has
no reseachers in-house, only grant program officers and reviewers, is
often a search for people by name.

-- Don Gilbert

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[hidden email]

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