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New Zealand Gun “Buyback” Rocked by Apparent Data Breach

New Zealand Police Gun Breach
New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement addressing the breach. Image credit: stuff.co.nz

New Zealand police authorities acknowledged Sunday evening that they’re investigating a reported data breach affecting the so-called “buyback” program instituted after the Christchurch shooting last March.

The breach, which was originally reported by the pro-gun Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) revealed names, addresses, and bank account information of gun owners who have complied with the government’s confiscation of most semi-automatic firearms. According to COLFO, the erroneous information disclosure was live on the police-run registration website for over three hours. In total, more than 70,000 records are said to have been exposed and there are unconfirmed reports that the entire database was downloaded at least once.

New Zealand Buyback Data Breach COLFO
An example of data exposed in the breach. Image credit: COLFO

New Zealand’s compensated confiscation has thus far been far from a smooth-sailing endeavor. An open online registration form allowed pro-gun advocates around the world to submit false turn-in forms, forcing police to close the site less than a week after its launch. Early indicators also pointed to high rates of non-compliance.

It’s likely we’ll hear more about this breach in the coming weeks, particularly as the buyback’s December 20 deadline approaches.

Why This Matters

Breaches of this nature demonstrate show why people are reluctant for the government to develop any type of database of firearm owners. Besides the fact that it makes gun confiscation easier for the government to carry out, data compromise is also a potential risk. When this information is compromised, it allows criminals to have a shopping list of available firearms.

Why This Matters segments are the opinion of the author. Agree or disagree, let us know in the comments below.
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