New Hampshire Governor Signs Opt-Out Privacy Law

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has signed a new privacy law that gives residents the right to opt out of common forms of online behavioral ad targeting.

“New Hampshire is living up to our motto as the Live Free or Die State by ensuring that Granite Staters have control over their personal information,” Sununu said Wednesday when he announced that he had approved the measure.

The statute (Senate Bill 255) specifically requires businesses to honor residents' request to opt out of targeted advertising -- defined as ads based on people's activity over time and across non-affiliated websites. That definition excludes ads served based on first-party data.

The law also requires businesses to obtain people's explicit consent before processing their residents' “sensitive” data -- including information about consumer's race, ethnicity, religion, health condition, sexual orientation, immigration status, and precise location.



With the move, New Hampshire joins more than a dozen states that have enacted privacy laws affecting online advertising.

As with recent measures in eight of those states -- California, Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon and Texas -- the New Hampshire law requires companies to allow people to reject targeted advertising via a universal mechanism like the Global Privacy Control. Such mechanisms allow people to opt out of all targeted advertising, as opposed to opting out company-by-company.

New Hampshire's law sets out certain requirements for a universal mechanism. Among others, such a mechanism must be activated by users (and not turned on by default) and can't “unfairly disadvantage” other data controllers. The mechanism also must allow controllers to determine whether the opt-out request is legitimate, and whether it was made by a state resident.

The bill calls for enforcement by the state attorney general.

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