When I recently walked into a local store to purchase my annual Maryland hunting license, I handed over the normal driver’s license and hunter safety card.
What happened next both astonished and frightened me.
The salesperson asked for my Social Security account number. I observed no less than six people listening to hear my answer. This is a change from 2011. I declined; I didn’t know this person and was shocked by the number of people attempting to listen.
I already had given my full name, address, driver’s license number and now was being asked for my Social Security number for entry into the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ COMPASS database.
I have been the victim of credit-card fraud, so I’m a bit sensitive as to who has information about me. I asked why he needed this information. He told me that the state of Maryland requires it. I simply left with my money and uncompromised identity.
The next day, I wrote to the DNR, my state delegate and representatives. They simply pointed out that it was Maryland state law intended to ensure that the state did not provide services to people who owed money. They admitted that it did have unintended consequences, but offered no action or assistance in helping to fix the problem.
So for the hunters who already have bought a license and given out your Social Security numbers, take heed.
I am a certified information-technology professional with years of experience seeing instances of data exfiltrate from databases at the hands of hackers. It’s inevitable.
Try as you might to protect it, no website connected to the Internet that uses only a username/password combination can be considered truly safe. I fear that the state may cause many hunters to have their identities stolen, and they may never know how.
Sadly, if you purchased a 2012 fishing or hunting license, your identity is now at risk.
Dan Slick, Mechanicsville