The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $1.4 million to 3,265 citizens as part of a class-action lawsuit over posting confidential gun permit information online.
According to Philly.com, the lawsuit stems from citizens who were denied a license to carry firearms or who had their permit revoked and then appealed to the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which posted information like applicants’ names, addresses and appeal information online.
In appeal documents, applicants had to describe why they needed a firearm. Some wrote that they carried a lot of money at night, said Ben Picker, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.
Simply put, the city “didn’t do their homework before releasing the data,” Picker said. “It was a road map for criminals.”
As Philly.com reports, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said posting the information online constituted a violation of the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act which states that “all information provided by the potential purchaser, transferee or applicant, including but not limited to, the potential purchaser, transferee or applicant’s name or identity . . . shall be confidential and not subject to public disclosure.”
The website with the gun permit information was taken down after three days.
Craig Straw, the lawyer who represented the city of Philadelphia in the case, chalked it up to ambiguity in the law over whether appeal information is confidential, Philly.com said.
“There was some consultation, but there was miscommunication among all the parties,” Straw stated.
The Philadelphia Police Department asked that the information be taken down.
“It was decided we should take the website down just to err on the side of being cautious,” Straw said.
According to Philly.com, 2,188 people who had their information posted live on the website will receive $440 each. 1,077 people who had their information posted in a city database only accessible to city contractors and employees will receive $25 each under the terms of the settlement.
Read more: http://www.philly.com
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