In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Ct., The Journal News, a New York state newspaper, sparked a massive controversy when it used public records to publish the names and addresses of gun owners in two counties. The gun owners argued vehemently that their privacy had been violated and safety was in danger now that criminals knew that they had firearms in their homes. For revenge, someone posted online a list of Journal News editors and writers and their home addresses. Eventually, the Journal News hired armed guards.
Now, just as the story was quieting down, Gawker has listed the addresses and names of gun owners in New York City. Unlike the Journal News, which was advocating a gun control message, Gawker seemed keen mainly to highlight that the information posted by the Journal News is part of the public record and that the gun owners’ addresses had been available through a quick Internet search for years.
“In any case, it’s clear that many of the Rockland County and Westchester County gun owners who are outraged at having their addresses plastered on the Internet have had those addresses plastered on the internet for years without it causing a problem,” Gawker’s John Cook wrote. “And if anyone wanted to really stir some [expletive] up, they’d grab those Who’s Packing databases and throw them up on Google Maps.”
Gawker then reported that it, too, had received threats.
The gun ownership post came only hours after staffers received a memo detailing the site’s plans to expand internationally through partnerships with the India Times internet group, a new gossip site in Hungary (where many of their developers are based), and Gizmodo Espana.