CONCORD, N.H. (Dec. 22, 2015) – A bill introduced in the New Hampshire House for the 2016 session would prohibit a federal-local surveillance collaboration that the NSA’s former chief technical director called the “biggest threat since the civil war.”
Rep. Neal Kurk prefiled House Bill 1494 (HB1494). The legislation would prohibit government agencies from acquiring, collecting, retaining or using personal information and social media data without a warrant in most cases.
The bill does allow a few exceptions to the warrant requirement. Governments can collect personal information with the express written permission of the owner, pursuant to a judicially recognized exception to the warrant requirement or in some emergency situations.
HB1494 broadly defines “personal information.”
A person’s name; date or place of birth; social security number; address; employment history; credit history; financial information; account numbers; cellular telephone, voice over internet protocol or landline telephone numbers; biometric identifiers, including fingerprints, facial photographs or images, retinal scans, DNA/RNA or other identifying data unique to that individual; or one or more pieces of information that, when considered together or in the context of the information that is presented or gathered, are sufficient to specify a unique individual.
HB1494 includes criminal penalties. In other words, law enforcement agents collecting information in violation of the law would be subject to arrest.
The legislation does contain a qualification that seems rather broad. It allows information collection “if required by a government pursuant to state or federal law, provided that such information is requested of and supplied…