Legislation before the New Hampshire House -- HB 1409 – proposes to ban the use of biometrics for state or privately issued identification cards and as a condition of doing business. Sponsors of the proposal suggest they are concerned about individual privacy as well as the sharing of biometrics data among agencies. While much has yet to be done before its becoming law, it is already apparent that the legislation is in conflict with numerous federal laws and regulations which mandate a biometrics in everything from ePassports and military identity cards to identification of workers employed by government contractors. Other states have considered or are considering similar legislation, often aimed at radio frequency identification embedded in cards, but none have been enacted.

In the case of the New Hampshire proposal, “biometric data’’ means any of the following:

·         Fingerprints, palm prints, and other methods for measuring or recording ridge pattern or fingertip characteristics.

·         Facial feature pattern characteristics.

·         Behavior characteristics of a handwritten signature, such as shape, speed, pressure, pen angle, or sequence.

·         Voice data used for comparing live speech with a previously-created speech model of a person’s voice.

·         Iris recognition data containing color or texture patterns or codes.

·         Keystroke dynamics, measuring pressure applied to key pads.

·         Hand geometry, measuring hand characteristics, including the shape and length of fingers, in 3 dimensions.

·         Retinal scans, reading through the pupil to measure blood vessels lining the retina.

It stipulates that no government agency or private entity shall:

·         Issue an identification card, other than an employee identification card, or use an identification device or system, that requires the collection or retention of an individual’s biometric data.

·         Require an individual to disclose or provide biometric data as a condition of doing business with, engaging in any business activity or relationship with, or obtaining services from, that agency or entity.

The act shall take effect Jan. 1, 2011.

What do you think about the proposed legislation? Email your comments to zaludreport@bnpmedia.com