Wednesday, August 21, 2013
N.R.A.'s Secret Data Mining
Upset over the government snooping into your emails, cell phone calls and tweets? Who would blame you.
But the government isn't the only one keeping information on you without your permission:
WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association has rallied gun owners — and raised tens of millions of dollars — campaigning against the threat of a national database of firearms or their owners.
But in fact, the sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself.
The country’s largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby’s secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy.
That database has been built through years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun safety classes taught by NRA-certified instructors and by buying lists of attendees of gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines, and more,
BuzzFeed has learned.
The result: a big data powerhouse that deploys the same high-tech tactics all year round that the vaunted Obama campaign used to win two presidential elections.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam declined to discuss the group’s name-gathering methods or what it does with its vast pool of data about millions of non-member gun owners. Asked what becomes of the class rosters for safety classes when instructors turn them in, he replied, “That’s not any of your business.”
The NRA Wants to Keep Gun Records Secret From Everyone Except the NRA
"...while the NRA has lately become one of the harshest critics of fourth estate access gun permit data—it has said "personal information regarding [permit] holders serves no public interest and only exposes law-abiding citizens to potential criminal acts" and places them at "risk to criminals who may target their home to steal firearms"—the group holds itself to a very different standard.
When Tennessee first tried to make gun records private in 2009, the effort died "amid fears that political groups and gun advocates would no longer be able to access addresses of handgun carry permit holders to add to their mailing list soliciting contributions," according to the Associated Press.
Indeed, in a survey of public records requests filed in 7 of the states that make (or formerly made) gun records public (we're still waiting on answers from 9 more), Gawker found multiple examples of the NRA and other conservative, "pro-gun" partisans seeking the lists for their own political and fundraising gain.
In 2009, for example, a North Carolina firm called Preferred Communications emailed the Virginia State Police to find out how much it could pay to buy a list of the state's gun permit holders. It was requesting the information on behalf of the NRA."
It's not just "Big Brother" watching you. The N.R.A. knows what you've bought and when you bought it. And they don't want you to know why they've gathered all this information on you WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.
Hate the government snooping and taking your personal information without your knowledge?
Do you own guns?
What do you think about this?