Firearm owners have claimed to have issues with the handling of information that the Canadian Firearms Program collects. In this case the Firearms Program handed over information about firearms owners to EKOS Research Associates Inc.
While this isn't breaking news, as the complaint was filed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in October 2009, it is a fact that information was given to EKOS "to survey firearms licensees about their dealings with the program". This is a fact that we've said in videos and articles in the past and it has been taken in disbelief by firearms owners hearing about it for the first time. In this article we're including a link to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada source at the bottom of the page.
In the investigation by the Privacy Commissioner it was found that along with the customer satisfaction questions they were tasked with, EKOS also collected some demographic data and information on the guns owned by the respondents. With the "Long Gun" registry in effect at that time it would stand to reason that the Firearms Program already would have such sensitive information available to them, so it would bear the question to mind as to why the data of firearms owned by the respondents needed to be asked or collected by EKOS at all?
It was found that the RCMP Firearms Program acted within the boundaries of the Firearms Act, and that EKOS acted within the boundaries of the Privacy Act and handed back the information to the RCMP. This is however a sobering issue in the fact that highly sensitive information about firearms owners can be legally handed over to private enterprises. While in the case mentioned with EKOS all of the information was apparently handled properly, would it be the same case in the future with other private enterprises, or is there the possibility for highly sensitive information to accidentally fall into the wrong hands or even be maliciously hacked?
With such methods of handling information, apparently legally allowed in provisions of the Firearms Act, it's no wonder that firearms owners have privacy concerns as to how their information is handled. Even with the "Long Gun" registry allegedly abolished (we'll get into that in another article) firearms owners still have their information attached to their firearms license. Which in the day and age of information being able to create vast online businesses, the firearms license and who holds them is highly valuable information in itself.