An effort to make records available online will cost Philadelphia more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit.
As part of a larger project to make information about city permits available online, about 2,000 people who either were denied a gun-carry permit or had their permit revoked in Philadelphia had their names posted on an interactive map. The information about another 1,000 was shared with the company making the map, but that was not made public.
Initially there was confusion about whether the gun permit information could be made public, said attorney Craig Straw of the city’s law department.
“There was communication going out that it was confidential. It wasn’t confidential,” he said. “And at the end of the day, we put it up, thinking it wasn’t confidential information.”
After three days, the gun permit names were taken offline, but attorney Joshua Prince of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group said the posting violated Pennsylvania law. Those whose names were listed could have been at risk, he said.
“We saw this happen in New York,” Prince said. “New York had disclosed [permit holders] on an interactive map, and there were several articles immediately after that were posted showing there were crimes that police believed were directly related to the posting of that information.”
Philadelphia will pay those whose names were disclosed publicly about $400. Those whose information was just disclosed to contractor making the map will get $25.