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DGIF's Director claims no knowledge of us being sold out by them and VIPNet...Director of DGIF should resign... and VIPNet's managerial arm (Virginia Interactive, Inc.) TERMINATED by State Corporation Commission!

This letter dated 3/26/03 at 11:55 P.M. was emailed to the Virginia Game & Inland Fisheries Director  (I have a copy of the email):

Dear William L. Woodfin,

I understand you are promoting a scheme at DGIF to publish and sell the personal information of persons who obtain hunting, fishing, and boating licenses from the Commonwealth. Shame on you - where have you been? Why do persons who follow the law and obtain licenses before they hunt, fish, or boat lose their right to privacy? What's next - gun registration? Biometric sign-in at state parks?

The open publication and/or sale of personal data from "public" government records has become a mantra to many persons who seek to hijack the logic of "open government" to facilitate the commercial and government surveillance of private citizens without their permission. This perversion of "sunshine laws" to justify the invasion of personal privacy is also injurious to public safety. Unfortunately, it usually takes a well-publicized murder to make the public aware of the danger of publishing personal data from government records. You are likely aware that it was the 1989 stalking murder of Rebecca Shaeffer that prompted the Congress to pass the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA"). Ms. Shaeffer's home address was located by her murderer "...with the help of a private investigator who obtained it from California motor vehicle records" (see "Access and Aggregation: Public Records, Privacy, and the Constitution," Yale University, by Daniel Solove, J.D., 10 August 2001, p. 25). You may also be aware that the Supreme Court of New Hampshire has ruled in Resmburg v. Docusearch (February 2003) that "that information brokers and private investigators can be liable for the harms caused by selling personal information. In the case, a young woman was murdered by a stalker who obtained her personal information from information brokers and private investigators" (see Ms. Boyer's murderer, Liam Youens, noted that: "It's actually obsene [sic] what you can find out about people on the Internet."

It's time for some priority changes at the DGIF. The bright line needs to be re-drawn between government agencies, commercial data hunters, and identity theives. Right now, you all are acting like a "Band of Big Brothers."

Mike Stollenwerk
Fairfax County Privacy Counsel


And here's what the DIRECTOR of the Division of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF) wrote back to him:

In a message dated 3/31/2003 1:38:37 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

 I really don't have any idea of what you are talking about? What is your
 source and is it credible? If you are talking about VIPNET on boating
 information you should express your concern to them as we have no
 control over what they do. Since there is no data base for
 hunting or fishing licenses I have no idea of how to respond to you."


APPARENTLY, William L. Woodfin, Jr., the director of DGIF, has had a lapse in memory… or either he doesn't know what he is doing and should resign.  When he wrote that email above back to the Chairman of the Fairfax Privacy Council, he had to know about the "contract" that was entered into by the Board of Directors and VIPNet, the public/private partnership group which is helping to sell us out on this.  That "contract" allows VIPNet (Virginia Information Providers Network) to sell the information.

On October 24, 2002 when the DGIF Board members met, it was right after the break and when they resumed their meeting at 11:45 AM when Director Woodfin presented his report which included a discussion on the hunting and fishing "licensee" database.   Here is an excerpt out of the Board minutes taken from DGIF's website:

"Director Woodfin reported that the Department of Technology and Planning and the Virginia Information Provider Network (VIPNet) have indicated that they can automate the Department’s hunting and fishing licenses by January 2003."

That was done right before Woodfin advised the Board of the following taken also from the same minutes of the meeting 10/24/02 meeting:

"Director Woodfin reported to the Board that as of January 1, 2003, the subscription rate to the Virginia Wildlife magazine will be increased from $10.00 to $12.95 annually. The price for the wildlife calendar will increase from $6.50 to $10.00 each."

But still the question remains: How could Director Woodfin write what he did back to Mr. Stollenwerk knowing full well about the DGIF "contract" that had been approved with VIPNet???  The contract allows 1) continuing to sell boat registrants information since that part was "renewed" and allows 2) people to renew boat registration online and (3) will allow (when completed) hunters and fishermen to buy their licenses online which will then allow them to easily create that database. When the database is created, they will be selling the hunting and fishing licensee's information all under the guise of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.  And buying a fishing license online from BASSPRO will help create the database sooner since the info will be entered into a computer at BASSPRO and downloaded to VIPNet.

HEY BOATOWNERS: To see how the boat registration information is being sold, click here to take the "demo"… just keep hitting "next" down in the bottom left corner of each page.  You will get their guided tour of what you get when you sign up to buy boat registration information.  (See my previous story "Hunters to become the hunted! Fishermen, too!")

Does the DGIF have to sell our info or agree to turn over our info to VIPNet??? NO!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!


Enabling Legislation 

According to the "enabling legislation" found on the VIPNet website,

Code of Virginia Section 2.2-2252 states:

"Access to public information of state agencies

A.      All state agencies may make available to the Authority access to public information upon terms mutually agreed upon by the Authority and any such state agency."

The law says state agencies MAY make available…it does not say SHALL.  SO why did the Board of Directors for DGIF enter into such an agreement when they had to know when the public found out, they'd be furious???

Then it states in the next COV section:

"Section 2.2-2253

Access to public information; receipt of information; application of statutory restrictions on confidentiality to Authority

A.      The Authority may provide electronic access to public information provided to it by any state agency and to the extent provided in the agreement with the providing agency…"

It is unknown WHY the DGIF's Board would enter into such an agreement.


Agency Agreements

And then at the VIPNet Authority Board meeting on 10/31/03, it states in the minutes:

"Agency Agreements
Mr. Willett presented one interagency agreement. This agreement encompassed three projects for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). The first project, a current service provided by Virginia Interactive, required renewal. The next project, a database similar to the boat registration, will be used for hunting and fishing licensees and would be a fee based service. The third project, a citizen service for online registration renewal for citizen boat owners is a specific directive of the governor’s strategic plan. It will be funded with a user fee of $1.50 for each transaction. DGIF has agreed to cover credit card fees.

A motion was made to approve the agreement and was seconded. The vote was eight votes to zero in favor of approving the agreement."


Virginia Interactive, Inc.

The Mr. Willett referred to in the VIPNet Authority minutes is Rodney Willett who is head of Virginia Interactive, Inc.  They were hired to be the Virginia arm of NIC which is the only company responding to request for proposals to run VIPNet…

"Partnering with NIC
The Public-Private Partnership

The Commonwealth of Virginia partnered with NIC to provide e-government services to the Commonwealth, as well as to maintain the Commonwealth of Virginia Portal. This partnership, with VIPNet as the government agency overseeing all aspects, has helped Virginia become the leader in e-government in the country. For more information about NIC and its other government partners, visit the NIC Web site."

So Mr. Rodney Willett came with Virginia Interactive whose "history" is below taken straight from their website with the link here.

"NIC is a worldwide leader in providing electronic government services, managing transactions and applications available to more than 150 million people. Founded in 1991 in Kansas, NIC operates government portals in 17 states and seven local governments. Additionally, NIC provides e-government application services to 80 local governments, 23 states, and seven federal entities in the United States through its divisions and affiliated entities. NIC also has strategic partnerships with Bank of America (financial and e-commerce services), Sun Microsystems (for computer hardware and related technology solutions), Oracle (for database software), and AOL-Time Warner (NIC manages AOL's online Government Guide).

NIC has more than 330 employees in 30 states and Europe. NIC is a publicly held company and traded on the NASDAQ under EGOV.

NIC created Virginia Interactive Inc. as a Virginia based subsidiary responsible for managing the Virginia portal, VIPNet. Virginia Interactive's offices are located in Richmond, Virginia in the Bank of America Center. The company's 19 employees include Web programmers, project managers, system administrators, graphic artists, and marketing associates…"

Check out what the stock market analysts say about this company….

Anyway, at the July 24, 1997 VIPNet Authority meeting. it states in the minutes found at

"A motion was made and seconded that the draft contract between the Virginia Information Providers Network Authority and Virginia Interactive, Inc. be approved with the modifications that had been directed by the Board. The motion carried unanimously."

But according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Virginia Interactive, Inc. is TERMINATED!!! KAPUT!!!   For not paying fees they owed to the Commonwealth of Virginia, they have been terminated!

So here is a company hired to handle our most personal information - from DMV records with our social security numbers, to other records, to the boat registration information, to the hunting and fishing licensee information….and they are terminated by the SCC! 

According to a search of the SCC website on 4/13/3 found thru this link  it shows Virginia Interactive (Corp ID # 0529933) TERMINATED effective March 31, 2003 because of fees being delinquent in the amount of $670 in fees and $67 in penalties for 2002. Total delinquent is $737.

So what gives?  Who's watching the store?  Virginia is doing business with a terminated company who owes money to the Commonwealth!  Where is the Attorney General?  He hasn't done squat to help when some Clerks violated Virginia law and put SS#s on marriage licenses on the internet but yet he knows it…. And he hasn't helped protect our personal records/information that's stored in the Circuit Court Clerk's offices which has been thrown onto the internet in some places and others are preparing to do it…so why should he care about DGIF selling us out?  He didn't back HB 2426 (read previous articles on this site) but yet his and his twin brother's SS#s are in the Scott County records on a Credit Line Deed of Trust. He has said he was concerned about identity theft but he didn't do a thing to help protect our lives/records in the Clerks' offices! And he wants to be the next Governor of VA???   The Republicans should think about calling in former Lt. Governor John Hager to run instead!


What you can do to help...

If the Division of Game and Inland Fisheries is using us for profit (appears they are) and violating our privacy, every sportsman/woman should do the following:

(1)     write a letter to the Governor and DGIF essentially "opting out" of this data selling idea.  A form letter or e-mail sent among hunt/shooting clubs, etc. could be developed and passed/sent around.

(2)     Cancel your Virginia Wildlife magazine subscription,

(3)     If you don't want to cancel the subscription, then write to DGIF and "opt out" of them selling your name (as a subscriber) which has to be in writing per COV Section 2.2-2705 A. 51, 

(4)     Don't buy another calendar, 

(5)     Do not contribute to wildlife activities by checking the box on your State tax return,

(6)     Come to the next DGIF meeting on May 1 at 9AM at the DGIF headquarters at 4010 Broad Street, Richmond.  Show the directors you mind having your privacy violated,

(7)     Contact your Senator and Delegate about all this and make it a campaign issue this year. And while you're at it, include that you're against our records/lives being put online by the Clerks of Circuit Courts ie divorce papers, marriage licenses, notary public commissions, deeds, deeds of Trust, financing statements (UCCs), concealed carry permit info, wills, list of heirs, etc…   

We are required BY LAW to buy those licenses and to register boats and they don't have to sell this info!  And has anyone thought of how wrong it is to sell minor's names? 

Please help!!!!  Your privacy is being violated!

NOTE: Please forward this article to anyone you know who has a hunting and/or fishing license and also to anyone who owns a boat…


(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)