I work in Marketing at Smartwater and I've got a copy of the gun owners list.
Here it is.....
See Met Police - It's a stupid fucking idea isn't it!
Following The Register's report on the Metropolitan Police breaching its own data protection statement by handing the addresses of tens of thousands of London firearms owners to a marketing agency, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has written to the force demanding the decision be investigated. On …
but without as much Outrage and Media coverage. Seems most every major "gun owner list" somehow manages to "accidentally" get released. Concealed carry license holders, registered "assault rifles", find a state/county/country/city that's opposed to such a thing, and you can guarantee there's been a breach.
In places where there's no law mandating reporting of such breaches, you have no idea how often or to whom the leaks occurred.
Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, third time, well, you know the rest.
It doesn't matter if it's London or Louisville. Any time government makes or maintains a list it's a matter of when, not if, it gets out. It doesn't matter if it's guns, gallbladders, or golf balls at some point in time some bonehead will hand it out or put it somewhere it doesn't belong and soon it will be in the wild. A wrist or two will be gently slapped but that's about all. Sure they'll step up their game for a little while but it won't be long before slipping back into mindlessness. It's really not different from clicking some magic button to make a pop-up window go away.
Any time government makes or maintains a list it's a matter of when, not if, it gets out.
I'd be happy to bet that any time a private company makes a list it's a matter of when, not if, it gets out.
Think about that one very carefully before offering me odds.
While that's very true, a private company's list is compiled for its value and the company typically at least has a vested competitive interest in keeping some information out of the hands of competitors. The government sees no comparable value in keeping the list secret.
The downside is that lists with customers credit card information has little value to a company since the banks who issue the cards have the same information but a history of your purchases that can be used in future ads does have value to the company but not the criminals who steal the card database since they're just going to use it to steal money anyway.
Maybe there was one of those 'I don't want you to share this information with your carefully selected partners' tickboxes on the license application ?
- worming tablet mailshots for dog licensees
- burglar alarm mailshots for people who've been burgled. Or who haven't been burgled.
- 'morning after pill' mailshots for women who've been raped
When I moved into the current abode many moons ago, I got the local crime prevention chappie in to give me some advise re burglar alarms etc. When asked to recommend a company he replied they weren't allowed do that. Have things changed so much in the last 20 years that plod can now act as an agency promoting goods and services. If so, can they recommend a good curry house in the Reading area?
"promoting the products of a private company"
Well, to you or I it might look like a private company, but if you read elReg's previous article you might have noticed this part:
"The company behind [Smartwater] was formed by an ex-police detective and his industrial chemist brother, and the firm has since forged very close links with a number of UK police forces"
So you see, from the Met's point of view, that's not a private company, it's one of their mates, and that makes it all just fine, right?
That depends very much what kind of "private" company.
If it was your or my company - (hopefully) oohh no sorry can't do - security, data protection, abuse of a public office etc.
If, hypothetically, it was a "private" company owned / run by one of their mates / ex colleagues then (hopefully not) "Sure thing, Harry, I'll get the list copied off for you right away. Buy us a drink down the Lodge tonight, eh? Drop you the pendrive then ok?
But we all know that the Met are whiter than white, so impossible. Move along, nothing to see here.
"Buy us a drink down the Lodge tonight, eh?"
Please don't bring that into it. It's completely against that organisations ideology for anything like that to occur. Let's not let things you don't understand or have any facts about get in the way of your ignorance though hey.
I have just had a quick look at the National Rifle Association * website** and while their "news" summary box does not include anything about this data escape there is an item about a "Met Police Firearms Licencing Survey" with a link*** to a survey company's "questionnaire". Although clearly badged for the Met it is not clear to whom any completed survey form will be sent. To be fair there is no requirement to provide any personal information but there is space for names, email addresses and telephone numbers to be "volunteered". OK; that is not as bad as revealing postal addresses, but it does suggest that the Met is not really thinking about "security" at all.
may have a serial offender on the loose...
* The UK NRA, that is.
PS: the survey is clearly in hot pursuit of an "inclusiveness" award.
" To be fair there is no requirement to provide any personal information but there is space for names, email addresses and telephone numbers to be "volunteered". OK; that is not as bad as revealing postal addresses ... "
How about the use of a reverse telephone directory, or if they are a TalkTalk customer the info is pretty much out there already. If I can tie up a mobile phone to a FAC holder's address then some nefarious GPS tracking will tell me when the house is empty.
I expect SmartWater is a hacking target in the reasonable belief that there is a good correlation between customers and those with something worth protecting.
Gotta love marketing, commercial and police (who should know better) departments.
If I can tie up a mobile phone to a FAC holder's address then some nefarious GPS tracking will tell me when the house is empty.
Crikey. Sounds a bit in depth. And is making the three rather dangerous assumptions that:
1. All FAC holders are single, therefore an FAC holder being out means the house is empty.
2. All FAC Holders store their firearms at home.
3. If the FAC Holder is out, their guns are actually at home (and they haven't taken them shooting!).
If you want their guns that badly, you'd need to stake out their house old-school to assess the number of residents and whether guns are being taken in or out, then plan the heist accordingly. GPS might be vaguely useful for checking if they're on their way home so you can avoid being disturbed in the act, but it's really just an additional tool on top of good old-fashioned thief-craft.
You'd also want to check where the nearest river is so you can dump the guns once you realise you've just stolen a single-shot .22lr target rifle which is worth £5k to the owner but utterly fucking useless for any criminal purpose.
I don't think the NRA in the US is useless. They seem to be getting almost everything that they want,
Oh, they're pretty useless. They're have absolutely no idea how to campaign, lobby, win hearts or influence people. They preach to the converted because it's easy, but consistently fail to make new friends.
They just about tread water by shouting "Muh Second Amendment" periodically, but when someone comes along with a law that isn't un-Constitutional (such as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban) they have no idea where to put themselves. The most they managed there was to get a sunset clause so it needed renewing after 10 years (and Bush Jr didn't, so it lapsed out).
I'm not so sure this list is very useful to the average burglar. Unless they treat it as a list of houses not to rob.
1) They don't want to confronted by an armed householder.
2) The guns will most likely be double-barrel shotguns or single-shot small bore rifles, which are fairly unsuitable for criminal activity. The the criminals would presumably prefer to obtain semi-automatic handguns.
3) The guns will probably be locked in a safe anyway.
4) As soon as they pick one up, their crime goes from "burglary" to "armed robbery". Which will land them in a whole lot more trouble in the event they get caught.
You don't often hear about legally held guns being stolen - even from gun shops or shooting clubs, the location of which is widely advertised.
"They don't want to confronted by an armed householder."
You have no idea of the restrictions that UK gun owners operate under. Ever threatening to use your gun, with no intent to unlock it let alone assemble it, may result in revocation of your FAC.
If there is an "event" the bench is likely to take the view that use of a firearm is not reasonable self defence. If there is time to unlock, assemble and load a firearm there is a good chance that you can get away. There will need to be an unusual and peculiar set of circumstance to successfully run self defence using a firearm.
"If there is an "event" the bench is likely to take the view that use of a firearm is not reasonable self defence."
In theory a private citizen has exactly the same rights as CO19 with respect to use (Police have possession exemptions, but nothing else) in self defense or defense of others. So if CO19 are allowed to shoot someone they suspect to be armed then so is anyone else.
In practice you are absolutely correct.
> 2) [...] The the criminals would presumably prefer to obtain semi-automatic handguns.
The criminals would presumably prefer nuclear bombs as then they could just blackmail the Government for billions? But, in the mean time, I expect they'll settle for whatever they can get.
> 3) The guns will probably be locked in a safe anyway.
Phew, good thing that criminals can't open safes then.
> You don't often hear about legally held guns being stolen - even from gun shops or shooting clubs, the location of which is widely advertised.
Members of gun clubs don't always store their guns at the club. Also, the security requirements for guns stored in unattended premises are very strict. Much easier to steal a gun from a gun owner's house.
a) The sharing of the info is just WRONG. However it happened.
b) "Smartwater" just selling UV ink marking kit? Typically available under £5 in the high street, maybe even Poundland.
c) Weapons all have serial numbers which are MUCH harder to remove than UV ink, and even if removed can probably still be identified.
d) UV marking is pretty useless for anything as it does not stop or deter theft. Most stolen stuff isn't recovered. If it's not a weapon, then an engraved email address or maybe mobile number is more useful, you know, if you leave it on the train, not if it's stolen.
Perimeter security and prevention is HUGELY more valuable. So locked locks is MUCH better than a burglar alarm etc.
So how did Smartwater get the addresses and is their product any earthly use for a weapon?
IIRC, their product is uniquely identifiable to the customer. Much more sophisticated than daubing your postcode on with "invisible ink"
Yup, just using a chemical signature instead of daubing your property with numbered micro-dots (e.g. systems like Alpha-Dot).
Not that you'd want to daub firearms with either SmartWater or AlphaDots. They've got a serial number, and if that's been scrubbed off, then it probably means the gun's been butchered and you don't want it back anyway - just take the insurance and replace it.
"The force press office admitted that its main idea with the Smartwater initiative for gun owners was about deterrence, thanks to the stickers that Smartwater sells, rather than identifying stolen guns"
And where, exactly, are you meant to put this sticker?
On your front window? Announces there is a gun in the house and makes you a target.
On the gun? WAY too late by this point - if you have broken in and have the gun in your hand, are you REALLY gonna put it down because of a sticker?
"On your front window? Announces there is a gun in the house and makes you a target."
No, it identifies you has having something valuable enough to be worth protecting. Not really all that much better, granted, but smartwater is not just for gun owners.
Actually, I was more surprised to learn that in London there are 30,000 licenced gun owners. I know London is a big place, but that still seems like rather a lot considering the UK gun laws/restrictions. Maybe the urban rabbit problem is worse than I thought? ;-)
Would I qualify for a gun licence?
I must have been 10 or so at the time, interested in guns, my dad was in the home guard and he kept his sten gun and ammo on the living room mantle piece.
so I made my own, a piece of Renolds 531 drawn seamless steel ex bike tubing the same int dia as the standard C cell batteries ext dia. Plugged the end with some broom handle fixed with 4 wood screws, a couple of handles and a supply of standard bangers from guy Faukes night.
Off to the beach to try it out. Light the banger drop in plus one battery, and wait! at must have gone a mile, didnt see it !!.
so another test. There was a dereleict house near buy with some big windows. A perfect target. And it really worked!
The tube started to bulge after as bit so got a stern warning from Dad who took it away.
Cant get those bangers any more.
When I was in Junior School in the mid fifties, one of the boys brought a .303 shell in to show off to his mates. It was discovered that it was a perfect fit in the support wire holes in the concrete fenceposts around the playing field, so it was inserted, and hit with a nail and a rock. Enormous bang, cloud of dust, and the bullet hit the next fencepost in line, causing a large crater in the side. Not as large as the crater in the post that had held the shell, though. The hole on the cap side still fitted the cartridge case, but was about three inches diameter on the other side, with the reinforcing bars bulged outwards into the air, and the brass of the case laminated against the tapered sides of the crater. Damage was still there many years later when I revisited the school before I went up to university. There was a lot of live ammo kicking around during that period, another schoolboy (not from my school though) put a cartridge in the vice and used a hacksaw to try to remove the detonator end, the shell went off and the bullet entered his left forearm, travelled along through the muscle, and exited from his elbow. He recovered, but his left arm was always weak after that. Kids today don't know what fun we had.
The firearms team spend a good amount of time telling you not to let on to anyone if you have any sort of firearms as it makes you a target for theft, they take away licenses when firearms are stolen unless you can prove you took *every* reasonable precaution, they ask for every bit of information about you including your medical history and come visit your home to ensure you are *the right sort* of person.
Then the tools go and share your address, either intentionally or through carelessness, over a product that is no use whatsoever in protecting individually unique and serial stamped firearms.
Do you think the fella whose stolen gun was cut down and used on Jo Cox would feel happier knowing it had smart water marking on it so it could be returned to him if found? I doubt it.
"Firearms owners are a regular target for "good ideas" dreamt up by senior police officers, normally those with no knowledge or experience. The Register understands that this initiative most likely came from the Smartwater division of the Met rather than the firearms licensing department." There, fixed it for you
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