About NH 2Government Accountability Amendment
This updates our Fourth Amendment right to be free “… from unreasonable searches and seizures …” for the information age. It protects personal information from government snooping regardless of where or how it is found.
Vote YES on NH 2
NH 2 in November would add the following to Article 8 of the NH Constitution Bill of Rights:
“[Art.] 2-b. [Right to Privacy.] An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”
Sponsored by Neal Kurk and Renny Cushing.
Election Countdown: November 6, 2018
Today, personal information can also be found in the cloud. It can be copied, not seized. Bits of your DNA, which identify you, can be found on your fork after you finish a meal at a restaurant. Government ought to demonstrate probable cause of a crime to collect such information just as they do when they want to read private letters.
Why do we need this amendment?
The U.S. Supreme Court has established a two-part test to determine whether personal information can be seized by the government. First, the individual must demonstrate an expectation of privacy, i.e. do something, like closing a door, to show that privacy is desired, and second the expectation of privacy must be reasonable.
Unfortunately, courts and ordinary people don’t think the same things are reasonable. Most people would think that they haven’t surrendered their DNA by dining out and they haven’t made their personal thoughts public by sending texts and emails. Courts think those things are not private. Texts and emails are not encrypted, so anyone with the right equipment can read them. Similarly, you didn't take that fork to the bathroom and wash it.
We need this amendment so that ordinary people’s expectation of privacy is the norm, not the exception.
NH Question 2 is the necessary response to this technological and scientific era. It fills the gap in the New Hampshire Constitution regarding individual protection from governmental intrusion in personal and private information.
While Part I, Article 19 of our state constitution provides some protection in the arena of
So many Americans have tested their DNA that the nation’s privacy is at risk
A new study argues that more than half of Americans could be identified by name if all you had to start with was a sample of their DNA and a few basic facts, such as where they live and how about how old they might be. Click here to read more…
NH Question 2 does not absolutely prohibit any and all access to personal and private information.
Those who say so are either misunderstanding its legal effect or greatly exaggerating its effect.
Instead, it would effectively change the balancing a court already does when deciding whether the governmental interest in gaining such access outweighs the nature and degree of intrusion on an individual’s privacy interest.
Specifically, it would require the government to now show a compelling state interest in obtaining access to the personal and private information before a court would order such access. Sometimes, the state will be able to meet that burden, particularly when public safety is at risk and sometimes it would not.
The imposition of this burden will in no way cripple the government’s ability to function.
Access to personal and private information for which the government has probable cause to believe will help solve a crime will still be accessible via a search warrant.
NH Question 2 only applies to government conduct related to individuals. It does not apply to commercial
Part I of the New Hampshire Constitution (and, for that matter, the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights) only regulates interactions between the government and an individual. Generally, state and federal statutes regulate the interactions between commercial entities and individuals, and between individuals.
NH Question 2 is a very necessary step to take back an individual’s privacy in their personal and private information in response to the growing prevalence and capacity of technology used by the government.
It puts in place an incremental but essential increase in an individual’s protection from government interference, consistent with New Hampshire’s legacy of cherishing individual liberty.
The Need for NH Question 2 – A Gap in Privacy Protection
Professor Albert (Buzz) Scherr – UNH School of Law
I am a professor of law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. I have taught at UNH Law for almost 25 years in areas such as criminal procedure (crime, police investigation & the Constitution) and genetic privacy (commercial and governmental intrusions on one’s genetic information) among many others. I have also consulted on and written
Would Question 2 Lock Roe v. Wade
into the NH Constitution?
No! Professor Albert Scherr of the UNH School of Law assures that:
The informational privacy right in NH Question 2 is very different from the decisional privacy right relied on in Roe v. Wade and the many subsequent cases in the U.S. Supreme Court addressing the same issue.
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