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Resignations Are An Appropriate Response For Firearm Data Breach

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

COLFO says the Police Minister should treat very seriously the latest data breach caused by the new Firearm Safety Authority, by promising an explanation, a fix, compensation for affected people, and resignations if errors are made again.

COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says the Government cannot spend hundreds of millions of dollars on an Authority and registry but dismiss its failures as inconsequential.

“If the safety of New Zealanders hinges on the performance of the Authority and firearm regulations, then its failure yesterday endangered lives.

“Resignations of Ministers and executives at the Authority are a proportionate response to endangerment of citizens.

“Right now, the Minister must demand a detailed explanation, and a fix that ensures this doesn’t happen again. Extra staff training is a bare minimum response.

“An apology and compensation to affected citizens is also called for, as they have been put at risk and trouble by an Authority that promised them total data security.

“The Minister must also ask why there appears to be at least one error in the information, in which a licensed firearm owner was incorrectly identified as having a faulty address. This is the sort of error we warned about, and that rendered the Canadian firearm database useless.”

Only 33 days ago, the security and privacy of data held by the Authority was claimed by Authority Executive Director Angela Brazier to be a "key element" in designing the registry. She claimed "we’ve done everything we can to ensure people’s information is held securely in the system.”

“It is not good enough that the Authority has tried to downplay the matter as human error, not a database weakness. Most data breaches occur via human error, just like this one, and the previous data breach in Auckland.

“How people handle data is as much part of the system as where data is stored.” Mr Devereux-Mack said.


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