Compliance Management, Privacy, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

New Hampshire legislature rejects biometrics bill

The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a controversial bill that would have banned the use of biometrics data in identification cards.

The bill would have prohibited biometrics data – including fingerprints, retinal scans and DNA – from being used in state- or privately-issued ID cards, except for employee ID cards. In addition, it would have banned the use of ID devices or systems that require the collection or retention of an individual's biometric data.

It was originally introduced by lawmakers, who were acting out of concerns for residents' privacy. But it was opposed by at least two trade groups, including the Security Industry Association (SIA), a business trade group covering the electronic and physical security market, which said biometrics technology has a number of security benefits, namely around ID management.

The bill was rejected by a vote of 267 to 39, a spokeswoman for the New Hampshire House of Representatives told on Friday. 

“We are very pleased that New Hampshire residents will not be denied the use of this important security technology,” Don Erickson, director of government relations for SIA, said in a statement. “This bill grew out of misperceptions regarding supposed threats to privacy, but biometrics can make people safer while, at the same time, protecting their identities.”

Rep. Neal Kurk, R-N.H., who sponsored the bill, did not immediately respond to an interview request made by

In the past, there have been similar legislative actions taken in opposition of biometrics technology, Erickson said. For example, a similar bill was introduced several years ago in Pennsylvania to limit the use of biometrics, but it was never acted on.

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