A state legislator in New Hampshire recently introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of biometric technology in identification cards – other than employee ID cards – in that state. In addition, it would make it unlawful for a government agency or any private entity to require a person “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.” Biometric data is defined by the bill to include everything from DNA to retinal scans to facial features to fingerprints.

This is the kind of thing that can start a trend. One state adopts a measure, then neighboring states do the same, and soon an issue has national momentum. Before long, and organizations that work with children could risk breaking the law if they require volunteers to submit fingerprints for background checks. That is why it is so important to act early, and it is why the Security Industry Association (SIA) focuses its Government Relations efforts not just on Washington, D.C., but also on state capitals.
For the biometrics bill, SIA submitted testimony to a legislative committee to explain how the privacy concerns that led to the legislation result from misunderstandings about the use of biometrics and to detail why the legislation was a bad idea.

In recent years, SIA has scored many other important victories at the state level, including defeating anti-RFID legislation in California twice and blocking a proposed tax on alarm monitoring systems in Virginia.
In addition to advocating for the security industry’s interests in the states, SIA makes state legislative tracking information available to members via an interactive map on our Web site, and we are building a similar resource for state regulatory proposals.

SIA’s members do business around the world, but we know that legislation and regulations in even the smallest states can have a real impact on security companies’ bottom lines.