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New Hampshire lawmakers consider banning facial recognition technology



A new bill was presented to New Hampshire lawmakers this week, asking for a ban on facial recognition use in the state, writes InDepthNH.

A subcommittee of the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee will have to analyze it first.

People present during the hearing for House Bill 1642 were strong opponents of facial recognition technology, however an industry official explained a ban would “take a critical law enforcement tool off the table.”

The bill prohibits the state or a state official from using a facial surveillance system, making such practice inadmissible in court.

Security Industry Association (SIA) representative Drake Jamali explained why biometric facial recognition technology could provide great benefits in law enforcement operations and crime prevention. Albert Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law with 39 years of privacy law experience argued the technology is unreliable, while Jamali cited research showing .1 percent error or failure rate.

Warning there are privacy rights that shouldn’t be overlooked, Scherr offered to help the subcommittee draft a narrow exception for the use of facial biometrics technology.

In early January, the New Hampshire Senate pushed back on the Biometric Information Protection Bill that the House passed last year, which would ban companies from using biometric information, such as fingerprints and DNA, for unreasonable purposes without customer consent.

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