Saturday, October 01, 2005

Off target

As for our own gun registry, we should keep in mind the difference between a policy's desirability in its own right, and the actual execution of the policy. Which I say before pointing out that our actual gun registry has run into yet another problem:
A website that generated fake Canadian gun registrations continued to operate for more than a year after federal officials tried to shut it down...

The centre learned of the Internet site April 15 last year, and immediately faxed a letter to the California-based company that hosts the web page.

A lawyer for the centre warned that by hosting the site, Homestead Technologies Inc. was "counselling as well as aiding and abetting a criminal offence."

"Given the severity of the conduct, we would appreciate the site being taken down immediately," the letter said.

But Homestead's vice-president of marketing, Manvinder Saraon, said in an interview that the company has no record of that fax, and first learned of the problem when contacted recently by a reporter. The company has since shut the site down.

"There was no follow-up from the firearms centre, as far as we know," Saraon said.

Now, it could be that the apparent lack of notice was merely a matter of the company now covering its tracks. But surely somebody should have been concerned enough about the site to follow up long before anything actually happened.

Again, this doesn't speak to whether or not the registry was a good idea in principle. But like the contractor-induced cost overruns, it certainly begs a few questions about the people left in charge of the system as it stands.

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