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16 January, 2021

Police bungle reveals firearm owners' emails

THE private email addresses of hundreds of licensed firearm owners in the Moreton Bay region have been mistakenly exposed by police in two mass emails sent earlier this week


Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said he was “extremely concerned” about the data breach, which mistakenly revealed the email addresses of more than 1200 people in emails sent out by an officer on Wednesday.

The email was to advise police would be conducting weapons licencing audits in the coming months following a number of firearm thefts in the Moreton District.

“This is an absolute howler by police and licensed firearm owners have every right to be outraged,” Mr Dametto said.

“The personal email addresses of hundreds of firearm owners in that local area, many of which use their name in their address, have now been unmasked to complete strangers thanks to this act of gross incompetence.”

Standard practice for mass emails normally dictates that recipient email addresses are placed in the “BCC” (blind copy) field of an email or the use of a mass email service in order to protect the privacy of recipients.

Mr Dametto said a police follow-up request for the mass email be deleted was “too little, too late”.

“The cat’s already out of the bag. You would hope every person who received the initial email will do the right thing but the risk of that information falling into the wrong hands is now very real,” he said.

“These are the people who we as licensed firearm owners are supposed to trust with our personal information. It does not help the relationship when a monumental mistake like this happens.

“I would hope the Police Minister will give directions to put effective systems in place to ensure this never happens again to any licensed firearm owner in the state. We cannot afford to risk a repeat of this data breach.”


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