Not so de-identified

The NSC has obtained proof from a cyber security researcher that the ‘de-identified’ maps that WA Police published in March can be used to identify where firearms are stored.

The maps, which were originally identified with dots that The West Australian newspaper then added ‘bullet holes’, have been used by the researcher to extract addresses using Google Maps, open-source software, a script, and a small number of hours.

Click here to see our original story on the maps.

The researcher’s advice is that the process can be used “with extreme precision” and is based on publicly available data that can be used by ‘bad actors who will sell this data on the dark web’.

WAPOl needs to act fast

The researcher provided a list of addresses to the NSC which we have now provided to WA Police for them to check against their database. The addresses are ‘partial’ as we did not want to hold the full address information.

We won’t explain how this process works for obvious reasons, but will explain it to WA Police if they respond to our information. We have copied our advice to WAPol to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and WA Police Minister, Paul Papalia, for their information and action.

We also explained to WA Police one urgent matter they need to attend to, to reduce the risk of this happening. It is incumbent on the regulator to act quickly to protect the information they have from falling into the wrong hands.  

What we can see

Here is an image created from this process.  This image is of poor quality because we have lowered its resolution to reduce the likelyhood of this location being known.  However you will still see a small red dot in the middles of each of the blue patches which pinpoint the locations.

The details that have been redacted are locations, street names, and house numbers.

Do not email the NSC about this.  Instead, please email Papalia by clicking here, urging him to immediately refer the matter to WA Parliament for a full investigation of this matter.  He needs to hear how upset shooters are about this clear and careless use of data by his registry.

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7 thoughts on “Here’s proof that the WA Police ‘de-identified’ maps can be hacked

  1. Tony Lewis says:

    Giving away private information that they vowed would never happen eh? Sounds like they need to be put in their place with a class action suit. It beggars belief how stupid they really are when they should be security experts.

  2. Philip Walter says:

    Conflict at a gun club is not acceptable in any way i have seen this at several gun clubs in the city .
    People in the country areas are not as high strung as some and when a city person comes to visit they think that they are better than us and can bully their way in
    99.9%of shooters are the most respected most regulated most safety concerned of all sportsmen and women ALL it takes is 1 person to lose his cool
    ITS A GAME you are not betting sheep stations on it
    All shooters should be able to compete in safely and securely
    We do not require More Laws we require respect and friendship
    For the police to just shrug this matter off and nothing gets done
    Begs the question
    Who is the officer
    Who investigated
    Who is whos friend
    A pass for the boys
    Says a lot about the officers in charge of the incident investigation

  3. Philip Walter says:

    W.A.POLICE need a wakeup kick in the ass
    We all know we should do as much as we can to limit our exposure as shooters to those who live near us we dont put stickers on our cars we load up the car in the garages we dont walk around in camo clothing in the street
    I have lived here for 22 years and my neighbour only found out after i was robbed .he was shocked as all my neighbours were .to find out there were firearms in the street .luckily we have now 5 new firearm owners as they wanted to find out about guns and now shoot LICENSED every other weekend
    This does not in any way let the WA POL off the hook they have endangered not only the firearms owners but everyone in the area or who eventually enda up on the wrong end of a gun
    Its courtesy of the police dept maps

  4. Hugh Jwang says:

    WAPOL, In their attempt to score positive publicity for their cause has shown themselves to be complicit in ineptitude by allowing data protected by Privacy Legislation to be accessed by potential crime syndicates.

    There should be a class action from shooters identified in this media report BEFORE any thefts occur.

    Any firearms stolen, particularly when people are at home, will likely result in violence as people are not willing to give up their property easily and thieves are not partial to uttering “please” and “thank you” while committing those acts.

    The bureaucrats who requested the release of information to be sent to the ministers office for release to the media need to be held personally accountable with penalties to be pursued regardless of whether they have left their positions or not.

    In a time when governments use terms like “bullying”, “intimidation” & “domestic violence” to perform their virtue signalling: engaging in acts that encourage violence against law abiding citizens should result in charges against those who requested the release of the information.

  5. Trevor Pollock says:

    This is great news for the crimals!?????????
    What a disgrace & embarrassment the WA police force is!

  6. LH says:

    Somewhat ironic that WAPOL are now claiming that publicising this issue amounts to “scaremongering”. Which is what prompted them to release it in the first place.

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