ALBANY– Each year, thousands of New York sportsmen disclose personal information as part of their applications for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and permits.
Among the personal details maintained by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are an individual’s first and last name, date of birth, height, eye color, driver’s license number, mailing address, telephone number, and whether the licensee is 40 percent or more military disabled. Senate Bill 2951, cosponsored by Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- 57th District), protects against this personal data being disclosed beyond use for a sporting license.
“It is incredibly important to strengthen protections for sportsmen against the disclosure of personal data. The DEC collects this information to ensure that hunters and fishermen are properly licensed. However, sportsmen rightfully have an expectation that their personal data will be kept private,” said Senator Young.
The DEC recently installed a new database system, the DEC Automated Licensing System (known as "DECALS") which maintains information provided through sporting licenses and permits.
With a growing worldwide marketplace for personal information, concerns have been raised about the sale of personal data to outside vendors and warehouses. Existing law does not contain restrictions on the release of information for holders of licenses and permits to outside vendors or other state agencies. This legislation would correct this gap and require DEC to establish procedures to ensure information is not disclosed.
“When someone voluntarily discloses personal details, such as medical conditions and physical attributes, they should be assured that New York State will not misuse this information or pass it along to an outside vendor. Disclosure of these details should be kept confidential, so that there is no intrusion into sportsmen’s privacy,” she said.
The bill has passed the Senate and is now before the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee.