[Taxacom] Privacy laws and Science

Adolf Ceska aceska at telus.net
Sun Jun 18 08:31:25 CDT 2006

When they make their data public, some herbaria are reluctant to release
even the names of the collectors.

It is the time when this issue should be taken to the Supreme Court.  They
would be only glad to deal with this diversion rather than to be concerned
with some more important issues.  

There are several - mostly ornithological - collections in the Royal British
Columbia Museum where the collector was my cat, Niban Ceska.  (I really like
the North American habit to share your last name with your pet!)  I am
pretty sure that I took his collections to the depository against his will,
and I am also sure that he would not have given me his permission to list
his name as a collector.  What should we do in cases like this?  

The Animal Rights people may even object to release the scientific names of
animals without their consent if one publishes a paper dealing with them.
The botanical names are "off the hook" in this case, although here, in
British Columbia, all plants are considered to be the "wildlife", for the
lack of other legislation that would cover - for instance - their

Is there any lawyer in our scientific community who would stand up and say
that - considering, e.g., the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution - we can
publish the collectors' names or the names of those who identified the
specimens without breaking the law?

We are living in a rather absurd world.



Adolf Ceska, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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