Fishing license has personal information
: We are all concerned about identity theft, yet the state Division of Aquatic Resources requires Social Security numbers on freshwater fishing licenses. We can apply for the license at McCully Bicycle, Nanko, Sports Authority, etc. The area where the Social Security number goes is blocked off (but still visible). However, it is not blocked off in the license book, which gets returned to the state. We're hoping the governor will review this practice and delete the need for the Social Security numbers. Can you please look into this?
Answer: The Division of Aquatic Resources is aware of the concerns about Social Security numbers falling into the wrong hands, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the division.
"Our department, like other state departments, is reviewing the way it keeps its official records to assure security for personal information," she said.
But as of now, the number is required for various licenses by federal law, under the Social Security Act, Section 466(a)(13)(A).
"This provision is in compliance with the 'deadbeat dad' issue to try and track persons who are delinquent on their child-support payments," Ward said. "States receive substantial federal funds to run their child-support programs, and noncompliance risks losing such funding."
A measure was introduced in Congress on Jan. 22 to remove the requirement that states obtain Social Security numbers from applicants for recreational licenses. No action has yet been taken on HR 611.
Ward said the DLNR received a report from someone who had lost his freshwater license and was concerned since it had both his Social Security number and signature.
To decrease this risk, licensing agents have been asked not to write the Social Security number on the top copy of the application form, which is the original and serves as the actual license.
Agents can do this simply by lifting the first copy and writing the number on the second copy, which goes to the division and would be the only one with the Social Security number clearly visible, according to Alton Miyasaka, of the Division of Aquatic Resources. (There are several carbonless copies under the original.)
However, apparently not all agents do this. Why not?
There is no law requiring it, so it is up to the agents "whether they do or don't," Miyasaka said.
Applicants can ask them to do so and if they refuse, the option is to get the license elsewhere, he said.
Meanwhile, you can apply for the freshwater license online. By doing so, the issue of having Social Security numbers on the actual licenses is eliminated. There is a similar provision for Social Security numbers for commercial fishing licenses.
But, Ward said, only Division of Aquatic Resources staff issues these licenses, so "there is less risk of a security breach."
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