Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freedom of Information Act

So today I got an email from the Maine Inland department of Fish and Game. They are who I buy my fishing license and(once I start hunting again) my hunting license from. I do it online since its much to difficult to drive to Maine and find a place that is open on the weekends that sells the permits. The email stated that the department had a Freedom of Information request for their email list. They brought the issuer to court with the opinion that their email list is not public information and should be kept private. They lost and now must release their email list, including my email to whoever initiated the Freedom of Information request.

I am not quite sure how to deal with this. At first I was not happy to have my personal information released like that. Then I thought well is that actually private information. After much thought I decided that I don't see how a distribution list for a state licensing department is public record. I understand that they have a right to see who bought a permit and all that (although I am not sure I believe thats public info either) But my email I use to purchase said permit is not of public record. I purchased my permit through the online site, as the state of Maine requests, and I don't see how that is public information.

I am open to (and encourage) all opposite views always in this blog (or in any conversation we have, but I am particularly interested in this topic. What are peoples thoughts on this?


  1. I agree but disagree.

    I think that the list of citizens that have/obtain a license to hunt and fish in Maine should be allowed to be public record. I think that even though as citizens we own the land that we build our houses or even hunt and fish on, it is still part of the United States and sometimes it is okay to divulge this information. I am not sure why the government or whoever requested this information needs this, I am trying to connect the dots between Maine fishermen/hunters with terrorists, but I am failing at this point. Regardless, I think this is okay.

    However I do not believe that your personal email address should be made of public record. When making an email address, you can decide who you give this information to and this is an invasion of privacy if you ask me. Generally I am not one to complain about privacy or anything related to this because I think, well I have nothing to hide. But there is a difference between passing out your personal email address because you want to go fishing and going through someones purse/bag when trying to board a plane.

    Just my take!

  2. Yes I agree with that, I have no problem if they obtain a list with our names, thats public domain. Its the emails address i have an issue with.

  3. understandable! I am in complete agreeance! This could be why we are friends! Ha