Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Interest in protecting people's privacy in the electronic age will lead Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to ask licenses buyers this year whether or not they want their names included on a mailing list, officials said today.
For at least 20 years, as required by state law, FWP has provided businesses, vendors and other commercial and not-for-profit enterprises access to public records. Some companies use the records to compile mailing lists.
Beginning this week, when they purchase a conservation license, hunters and anglers will be asked if they want their name and address included on lists FWP provides to vendors, businesses and others who request such information.
"By law, FWP must provide access to public documents like hunting and fishing license records," said Ron Aasheim, chief of FWP’s Conservation Education Division in Helena. "The electronic age has raised almost everyone’s concern about access to public records. There are lots of businesses that want to communicate with Montana’s hunters, anglers and other recreationists for legitimate reasons. We hope they’ll respect our customers’ requests and use only the list of those willing to be contacted by mail."
FWP will not include the names and addresses of those who say they do not want them on such lists. Aasheim explained, however, that because Montana law requires FWP to allow public access to department records, businesses and others who seek to compile mailing lists might still do so from original documents. He stressed that even FWP’s publicly accessible documents do not contain personal information like Social Security numbers, Automated Licensing System numbers, phone numbers, or one’s age, date of birth, employer, height, weight, or eye and hair color.