California Data-breached Every CCW Applicant for Past 10 years
As part of a flawed update to its Firearms Dashboard Portal for the sake of "transparency," the California Department of Justice dumped the personal data of potentially millions of gun owners.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta gushed on Monday about the changes to the portal, boasting for instance that it showed the number of "red flag" gun seizures were up 1,231 percent over a five-year period.
"Transparency is key to increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” said Bonta at the time. "Today’s announcement puts power and information into the hands of our communities by helping them better understand the role and potential dangers of firearms within our state."
However, it seems Bonta's DOJ was a bit too transparent, and almost immediately bulletin boards and websites frequented by California gun owners were sounding the alarm that the personal information of concealed and carry weapons permit holders were public-facing.
On Thursday, Bonta's office confirmed the leak was even worse than it seemed.
"[T]he incident exposed the personal information of individuals who were granted or denied a concealed and carry weapons (CCW) permit between 2011-2021," admitted the AG's office. Beyond that, data concerning the state's Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Safety Certificate, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards were also impacted.
The information exposed included:
Date of birth
Driver’s license number
"We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed," noted Bonta.
His office's Thursday statement said the data was public for "less than 24 hours" and asked that anyone who accessed such information, "respect the privacy of the individuals involved and not share or disseminate any of the personal information."
The California DOJ said it will provide credit monitoring services for those whose data was exposed and will directly contact impacted individuals.
"There is no way to sugarcoat the horrible violation of trust committed against Californians this week," said the Firearms Policy Coalition in a statement on the data dump. "What is most troubling, though, is that this was completely foreseeable. Be it by malice or incompetence, countless times throughout history, when the people have entrusted the government with sensitive information–information which, in the wrong hands, could do great harm–we have seen that trust broken. The simple, time-proven fact is that the government cannot be trusted with lists relating to gun owners."
The NRA, which has been fighting California in court since January to prevent the state from sharing gun owners’ sensitive personal information with university professors for "research purposes," this week again asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the Bonta's office from further releasing such data.
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