Thousands Of UK Gun Owners Names And Addresses Revealed In Leak By Animal Rights Activists
An investigation has been launched after a map supposedly showing the addresses of thousands of firearm owners in the UK was leaked.
Last month, the names and addresses, postcodes, telephone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses of UK firearms owners were published on a blog by animal rights activists.
The data was stolen from Gumtree-style Guntrader website and shared online, with activists urging people to ‘contact as many owners as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals’.
The activists reformatted the data so that it could be easily put into a mapping system to show specific homes, according to tech website The Register.
They claimed to have advertised the data as being able to be exported into Google Earth, making it easier to discover approximately 111,000 potential storage locations for firearms. The National Crime Agency (NCA) is investigating the data breach, and said in a statement that it is ‘aware that information has been published online as a result of a recent data breach which impacted Guntrader’.
The statement continued:
We are working closely with the South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit, who are leading the criminal investigation, to support the organisation and manage any risk.
Numerous robberies targeting licensed gun owners outside of their homes are not unusual, and police have issued numerous warnings to the licensed firearms community emphasising personal safety. The recent GunTrader breach could lead to a wave of such crimes, and after the data was leaked in July, firearms owners expressed concern that criminals may target their houses.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) advised its members at the time to ‘be vigilant around home security’.
According to GunTrader’s website, it has a ‘full electronic gun and ammunition register’, which it promotes as the ‘most safe and secure gun register system on the market today’.
The business originally claimed in July that no information about the location of firearms was taken, but later admitted that user names and addresses had been taken. The CSV file that was posted from the activist’s blog has since been removed from Google Drive.
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