Plymouth: Priti Patel lays flowers in tribute to shooting victims
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An animal rights activist’s blog posted the names, home addresses, postcodes, phone numbers, email addresses and IP addresses last month. The data was stolen from the Gumtree-style Guntrader website and posted online – with the activists telling the public to “contact as many [owners] as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals.”
While the data was hacked for the purposes of discouraging people from bloodsports – there are worries that it could fall into the hands of criminals looking to tool up.
The fact the data included a Google Earth-compatible file and gave the grid references of UK gun owners to six figures is even more alarming.
Other gun owners are worried that even if the website has an old address – criminals may target the people now living there now believing they possess firearms.
And there are fears that lone wolves like Jake Davison could use the data to get their hands on the deadly weapons and use them on shooting sprees.
Davison killed five people before turning the gun on himself in Plymouth earlier this month.
While his shotgun was legally held – there are fears that extremists could use the data set to get their hands on similar weapons.
Traditionally British policy on firearms ownership is that domestic homes are less likely to be targeted than the alternative of central armouries which stock far more weapons often of a higher power.
Security measures are proportionately ramped up depending on the number and type of guns – but security relies primarily on obscurity.
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This breach takes away that for about 20 percent of the registered owners across the country.
One worried shooter who spoke to industry website The Register said that while his details were in the stolen data, the geolocation information pointed to his parents’ home and not his own.
A registered firearms dealer who initially scoffed at being included “because I don’t have signs outside” could be traced down to his warehouse’s industrial estate.
Googling his name revealed the precise unit number.
The Information Commissioner’s Office told the Register: “We are aware of a potential change in the Guntrader Ltd incident and we will be making enquiries.”
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation said: “BASC is concerned about this latest development. We have flagged those concerns to the National Crime Agency. In the meantime, we advise the shooting community to maintain vigilance around security and report any concerns to the police.”
Google also revealed that it has removed the file from Google Drive that was linked to from the activist’s blog.
Guntrader spokesman Simon Baseley told The Register that Guntrader.uk had emailed all the users affected by the breach on 21 July. He added that the site has since issued further updates.
“The Information Commissioner’s Office was informed within hours of the breach being discovered and since then we have been working with them and the other relevant agencies to mitigate whatever impact, if any, this might have upon Guntrader’s users,” he said.
Express.co.uk has contacted Guntrader for further comment.
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