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Republican N.H. gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway releases privacy-related policy platform

Andrew Hemingway, former chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire as well as state director for former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in 2011, announced his candidacy challenging incumbent Maggie Hassan for governor on Thursday night, January 30, 2014 in Manchester.

(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Andrew Hemingway, former chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire as well as state director for former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in 2011, announced his candidacy challenging incumbent Maggie Hassan for governor on Thursday night, January 30, 2014 in Manchester. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Andrew Hemingway wants to protect New Hampshire residents from undue intrusions on their medical records, student-related data, cell phone activity and emails. If elected governor, he’ll try to do just that.

“Privacy is an issue that underlies all of our civil liberties,” Hemingway said this week. The governor “must be willing to be bold, be innovative and be creative in the pursuit of privacy.”

Hemingway, 31, released a detailed proposal this week aimed at protecting New Hampshire residents from having their medical records, student-related data, cell phone activity, emails and more intruded upon. He is the only Republican in the race against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan so far. He said she’s failed to protect New Hampshire residents from possible invasions of their privacy, especially the National Security Agency data collection programs revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last summer.

Hemingway praised state Rep. Neal Kurk, a Weare Republican and privacy advocate, for his efforts on several bills moving through the House this session, including one that would prevent police officers from searching a person’s cell phone without a warrant and another to keep colleges and universities from accessing people’s private social media accounts.

“I think that it’s something that for the most part has been largely ignored outside the efforts of Rep. Kurk and a few other state representatives,” Hemingway said. Privacy is “something which is critical and something which we need to talk about and be proactive on.”

Some of the proposals Hemingway is advocating for are already in practice. For example, Hemingway suggests laws that would prohibit police officers from monitoring EZ-Pass data and obtaining email records without a warrant. Kensington police Chief Mike Sielicki, chairman of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, said the police already are unable to do either of these things without a warrant.

On education privacy, Hemingway suggests a bill that would prohibit third-party access to information about New Hampshire students. This piece of his platform is based on fears surrounding the Common Core education standards and new computer-based tests that schools across the state will start giving in 2015. Some states have said they will give a third-party company called InBloom access to student data, but New Hampshire has not agreed to that.

State laws already require students’ names to be deleted before storage of statewide tests unless authorized by a parent or required under federal law, and prevent the state Department of Education from sharing personally identifiable student information to any person or entity outside of New Hampshire. The state Department of Education is also supportive of a bill by Kurk to further limit what information it can collect from students.

Hemingway’s other proposals center on privacy of medical data and on the use of new technologies, such as facial-recognition technology. On health care, he would suggest the state implement laws banning the state from collecting an individual’s health information and forbidding health insurance companies from giving information to the federal government.

If elected, Hemingway would also push for laws that prohibit state courts from using metadata related to cell phone calls or video cameras that use facial-recognition technology without proper warrants.

This privacy proposal is the first in a series of legislative proposals Hemingway plans to launch in the coming months, including plans on health care, education, the economy and gambling.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Privacy? Hmmmm . . . I guess that means he'll block any legislation that would intrude on people's privacy in the boudoir like infringements on marriage equality or abortion rights or birth control . . .

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