The Journal News Gun Owner Database Debacle

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Whenever one's privacy is breached in the public sphere, there's always that awkward, immediate reaction when the reader asks, "Was that one too far?" Well, it depends on impact and damage; this was a main concern with WikiLeaks - "Did their privacy leaks put anyone in harm's way?" underlies every controversy they step into. But, with these kinds of situations, that first initial breach is always the deepest.

This is the situation brewing in White Plains. A local suburban newspaper named The Journal News made headlines yesterday by publishing an online map (powered by Google!) of gun owners' homes in the Tristate area with data obtained through New York State's Freedom of Information Act. The map was a counterpart to a post-Newtown article by writer Dwight Worley that called for more public information available on those that own firearms. 

When the Journal News was first hit by audiences for its decision to publish the map, the President, Janet Hasson, had to take to the paper's defense. She did so in a statement to Politico, in which she wrote, "We know publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings."

Well, at least she was right about the 'controversial' thing.


Gun owners on the Web claimed their privacy had been treated with the same respect as sexual offenders, arguing that their Second Amendment right did not imply an infringement of other rights. Readers shared the same outrage, too.

This backlash culminated in a childish 180: a blogger named Chris Fountain took the matter to the next level of nonsense by publishing another map (powered by Google!); this time, it featured the names and locations of the employees at the The Journal News. "Well, I just thought they were being hypocrites," Fountain told CNN.

Also, the blogger included a bit from Mel Brooks's Blazing Saddles entitled 'Where the White Women At?' in his post. Why? "I've received e-mails from abused women who were under protective order and in hiding and they're terribly afraid that now their names and addresses are all over the Internet and accessible through that map," Fountain continued. Reasonable but that emotional route only goes so far when you do the exact same thing to a different group of people. 

If Fountain had pursued a cease-and-desist order for the paper's article, this weed could have uprooted before growing any further. Instead, the possibility of blowback mentioned before has been doubled in size and breadth. What's worse than a breach of privacy? A counter-breach of privacy.

Way to keep it civil, guys.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]
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6 comments
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BevAG
BevAG

Journalists now have as sleazy a reputation or worse than used car salesmen used to have back in the day.

sdemonte, you said it very well.  The journalists no longer do what they are supposed to do, which is keep the people informed of what the government is doing, not only when a Republican is in, but also when a Democrat is in the White House.  

Saying that the journalists have now made Lindsay Lohan more of a story than wanting to know the reason our Ambassador was sodomized and killed with three other Americans in Benghazi is exactly on point with what our present day journalists are doing, and it's disgusting.  WHERE ARE THE PRESENT DAY WOODWARD and BERNSTEINS!!!!!!



sdemonte
sdemonte like.author.displayName 1 Like

I love it, the Voice is OK with printing gun owners info, keep in mind prison guards are now being threatened along with abused women, cops, etc., but they have a problem with the journalists info being posted? You know what? Journalists are in the public eye, like celebrities, so since journalists say celebs have no privacy wither should the journalists. Seriously, journalists were granted sweeping powers by the constitution mainly so they could tell the people what the government is doing to them, but for some reason journalists only do their job when a Republican is in office. When a Democrat rules and expands all the horrible Bush policies they say nothing. When the Dem tramples 200 years of bankruptcy law they say nothing. When the Dem circumvents the constitution under the guise of "for the general welfare" they say nothing, even though they always mentioned the constitution when Bush was in power. When a Dem expands the power of the executive branch they say nothing. In other words, you are a disgrace to our country. You were given total freedom by our founders and what have you done with that power? Made Lindsay Lohan more important than what Washington is doing... and worse yet, you are pushing a political agenda versus reporting the truth. Yes, you make me sick.

mhorns_1
mhorns_1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

The Journal News will soon be snuffed like a rat in an avalanche of civil lawsuits.

mhorns_1
mhorns_1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

If they want to enhance public safety, these POS journalists should publish the names and addresses of aholes convicted of violent crimes and gun violations.

BevAG
BevAG like.author.displayName 1 Like

I've called all of the numbers that are posted on the internet of the
people that work at The Journal News who posted the names and addresses
of the registered gun owners in two counties.

They
either ring and no answer or they have voicemails that are so full you
can't leave a message or their phones have been disconnected.

Caryn's
was the only one I was able to leave a voicemail on her work and home
voicemail both.  I told her what a despicable woman she and her
journalist co-workers are for putting out the names and addresses of
registered gun owners thereby leaving those neighbors that don't own
guns open for criminals to know their home doesn't have a gun.

I
told her that I was glad that her name and address is plastered all
over the internet so that everyone now knows where she and her children
live.  I also told her that under ordinary circumstances I would not be
applauding that because I can see the potential danger in that, but in
this case since they don't care about the danger to the people in those
two counties by putting out that map I'm not all that concerned about
her safety.

I also told her that I hope the citizens stop
buying their newspaper and The Journal News goes out of business and
that it puts a big dent in the Gannett newspaper income stream.

mpolatnick
mpolatnick like.author.displayName 1 Like

Publishing the names of gun owners and receivers of abortions is a good idea. But why not publish the names of Atheists, Gays, and unmarried couples in the neighborhood? All dirty laundry has to be hung out to dry.

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