SIA Opposes New Hampshire Bill That Would Ban Most Biometrics

ALEXANDRIA, Va.

A bill being considered by the New Hampshire legislature that would ban nearly all uses of biometrics is an inappropriate response to privacy concerns and would deprive residents of an important security technology, according to the Security Industry Association (SIA).

In its current form the bill (HB 1409) would prohibit government agencies and private entities from issuing identification cards, except for employee ID credentials, or use an identification device or system that requires the collection or retention of an individual’s biometric data.

Under the bill, biometric data would also include palm prints, facial feature patterns, handwritten signature characteristics, voice data, iris recognition, keystroke dynamics and hand characteristics.

SIA submitted a letter in opposition to the legislation for an upcoming public hearing held by the New Hampshire House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee. The letter states that expediting the bill through the legislative process without careful examination of its potential consequences would deprive residents the benefits of a safe, secure and efficient technology that could severely compromise their security.

The association is proposing that lawmakers scrap the bill and instead conduct a study of the use of biometrics, according to SIA Director of Government Relations Don Erickson.

“We understand that lawmakers have legitimate concerns about their constituents’ privacy, but the fear of biometrics is based on misperceptions,” Erickson says. “This lack of understanding of the technology leads to dangerous bills like this one, which not only would prohibit the use of systems that can enhance security with no loss of privacy but could even prevent private organizations that work with children from collecting fingerprints to do background checks on prospective volunteers.”

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