The costs of indiscretion

February 9, 2012

I thank Anthony McIntyre for his response to my letter ("The sin of omission was Boston's, not ours", 2 February), but it misses my point - and proves it at the same time.

No guarantee of confidentiality, no matter how judiciously worded or by whom, can stand under the law, so when writing up their results, researchers need to be extremely careful not to advertise to the world that they are in possession of highly sensitive "guilty knowledge".

If they fail to be discreet, they shouldn't be surprised when the inspectors call.

John D. Brewer, Department of sociology, University of Aberdeen

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