The Victorian Government has revealed that the private data of firearm owners was leaked by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (a bureaucracy name if I’ve ever heard one) eight times by email.
From the article:
The error occurred on eight separate occasions, with the attached files including between 800 to 1,900 names.”It really was a simple case of human error,” the department’s communications executive director Catherine Payne said. “The [staff] concerned are horrified … and have been counselled.”
Well, that’s comforting. A massive security leak has occurred and the poor dears who have compromised the safety of not only firearm owners and their families, but the safety of the Victorian public, have been given ‘counselling’ and not held accountable by losing their jobs.
Bureaucracy – remember, it’s always someone elses fault. 1 time might be considered an error. 8 times suggests gross incompetence or indeed, accidentally on purpose. Neither of which are acceptable and given the gravity of the situation certainly not worth someone retaining employment.
It gets better:
The department has contacted the eight people the emails were sent to and said each has either deleted it, or never received it at all due to a large file size.“We can’t be sure [it hasn’t been misused],” Ms Payne said.”That’s the reason we’ve taken the approach of communicating directly with customers.”Dr Vanessa Teague, from the University of Melbourne, said the incident demonstrates how easy it is for these types of breaches to happen.
“There was no hacking, there was no subtle cryptographic error. This was just somebody emailing something they shouldn’t have,” she said.
So in essence, “the people who received it say they deleted it or never received it but we don’t know for sure if someone has misused it.” Orwellian double speak at it’s finest! And, unless you are George Brandis, then metadata and data recovery is not at all difficult. Neither is breaching the registry data that is available to over 100 third party companies via Crimtrac.
But remember, it’s firearm owners’ fault if firearms get stolen.
This is not the first time in recent history that the firearm registry has been to blame for a spate of thefts in Victoria. Criminals were previously eavesdropping on Victoria Police conducting storage inspections. And then there was the infamous 200 firearms missing from Victoria Police. This incident also happens just after a Kennards facility in Newcastle was broken into and over 40 firearms stolen. Hugh McDermott MP and Gun Control Australia surprisingly have not issued a comment.
All these incidents have done, for the umpteenth time, is demonstrated three things:
- Government cannot keep you or your data safe
- Central storage of firearms is a honeypot for thieves
- Firearms registration is a waste of time, energy and taxpayer money for no proven benefit other than those who wish to misuse a centralised repository of confidential information for theft or worse
This incident is only a month removed from the Australian Medical Association’s ridiculous call for a “national firearms registry”. Paging AMA President Michael Gannon. Paging Dr Gannon. This is also the latest in a string of government IT and data security failures. Centrelink, Census, NBN, Immigration leaks, etc, the list goes on.
Furthermore, how Police Minister Lisa Neville is still employed after the Adler fiasco, ongoing youth detention centre riots, Apex gang attacks and now this, remains a mystery. Granted, DELWP is not her portfolio but firearm licencing comes under Victoria Police. Then again it is Labor and it is Victoria, where accountability is a dirty word. If you spend $1 billion not to build a road that the state still needs and still remain in a job, is it really any surprise? Censorship of free speech at Wicked Campers or enforcement of gender pronouns is far more important in the Socialist Republic of Victoriastan.
Canada and New Zealand both abolished their longarms registries after the cost-benefit analysis found it to be of no proven benefit. Has the sky fallen in those countries? No.
Australia already has a de facto firearm registry – Crimtrac. You know, the one where the most law abiding members of the community are grouped in with the least law abiding. And it’s latest annual report makes for interesting reading, in terms of the complete lack of data available on firearm registration preventing and/or solving crime with (as of 2 years ago) over 5 million legally owned firearms in Australia. Much like the 2015 Senate Inquiry.
Further, the very fact that firearm owners are forced to carry around a licence which shows their storage address, name, photo and category of firearm they own is also a security issue. We aren’t arguing to do away with licencing and background checks at all, just that the information contained on licences needs to be amended.
Australia’s morbid fascination with bureaucracy being lord and saviour of the nation is unravelling. Registration is a PR “feel good” waste of time and money that benefits potential government confiscation and nothing else. It does absolutely nothing about the number of illegal firearms out there, especially those coming through our porous borders. For all the recent rhetoric over the Adler and “keeping firearms out of criminals’ hands” the government has just shot itself in the foot. Again. But remember, we’re only one more level of bureaucracy away from paradise.
If this latest leak hasn’t sold you on the fallacy of registration, then I doubt much will.