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California Gun Owners’ Personal Information Exposed in Statewide Data Leak

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A data breach in California this week exposed the personal information of people in the state who have applied for permits to carry firearms in public. 

The leak, announced Wednesday by the California Department of Justice, revealed the name, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and any criminal history of those who applied for a concealed and carry weapons permit between 2011 and 2021. The breach occurred while the department was posting updates to the Firearms Dashboard Portal. The information was accessible via a spreadsheet on the portal.

Additionally, data from the following dashboards also were exposed: Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Safety Certificate, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards. 

The California DOJ said it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the data leak. 

“This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said June 29. “I immediately launched an investigation into how this occurred at the California Department of Justice and will take strong corrective measures where necessary.” 

The Department said the data was exposed for less than 24 hours. The agency urged those whose information was revealed to monitor their credit history and consider placing a security freeze on their credit report, blocking potential creditors from access. DOJ also recommended placing a fraud alert on the report, signaling lenders or creditors that you may have been defrauded.

The breach follows a Supreme Court decision last week that said it is unconstitutional for the state to require applicants to show “good cause” when seeking a firearms permit. 

About Susan Katz Keating

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