Q&A: New Hampshire Becomes the Fourteenth State to Pass a Data Privacy Law—With More States Waiting in the Wings

March 13, 2024
Privacy, Cyber & AI Decoded

New Hampshire is the fourteenth state with a comprehensive privacy law, as signed by Governor Sununu on March 6, 2024. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2025. Continue reading for our Q&A on the "trusted" number 14!

Who Does the New Hampshire Law Apply to?

The law does not have a revenue threshold. It applies to entities doing business in New Hampshire or that produce products or services that are targeting New Hampshire consumers during a one-year period that:

(1) Control or process the personal data of at least 35,000 unique consumers, excluding personal data processed or controlled solely for a payment transaction; or

(2) Control or process the personal data of at least 10,000 unique consumers and derive more than 25 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of personal data.

The sale of personal data is defined as monetary and other valuable considerations.

Does Your Business Fall Within One of These Broad Exceptions to the Law?

What Specific Provisions Should You Look Out for?

In addition to the requirements for standard data subject access rights and the requirement for an accessible, clear privacy notice, organizations should consider the following four key provisions: 

1. Sensitive Personal Data

There is an expansive definition of sensitive personal data, which includes physical and mental health conditions, genetic or biometric information, and precise geolocation. This relates to similar requirements in states with new comprehensive privacy laws, such as Delaware and New Jersey. A business must provide opt-consent to use this sensitive data.

2. Increased Provisions for Processing Teen Data

Businesses that process personal data for targeted advertising or sell personal data from 13–16-year-old consumers will need to obtain consent prior to processing, similar to California.

3. Data Protection Assessments

New Hampshire follows New Jersey and other state laws that require data protection assessments for use cases and projects that have a heightened data protection risk of harm. The New Hampshire Attorney General has the right to request a copy of these DPAs in the event of an investigation.

Under this law, a heightened risk of harm has an expansive definition that includes:

1. targeted advertising;

2. the sale of personal data;

3. processing of personal data for profiling; and

4. processing of sensitive data.

We recommend that organizations subject to this comprehensive state privacy law review these requirements that go into effect on July 1, 2024, although enforcement does not occur until January 1, 2025.

4. Universal Opt-Outs

Once the law goes into effect on January 1, 2025, New Hampshire will join other state comprehensive privacy laws that require opt-out preference signal acceptance. New Hampshire's law requires that businesses implement an opt-out preference signal for consumers to allow them to opt out of the processing of their personal data for targeted advertising or sales.

Businesses should plan to implement opt-out preference signals if they have not already, as they increasingly become the norm. As we stated in an earlier alert, we recommend covered businesses put this requirement on their privacy technology roadmap for 2024.

How is the Law Enforced?

While there is no private right of action, this new comprehensive privacy law provides even greater enforcement power to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office, which already has broad authority to enforce the state's consumer protection laws. 

Although the effective date of this comprehensive privacy law is January 1, 2025, for the first year, the statute allows for a 60-day cure period for organizations for privacy violations before the Attorney General's office brings an enforcement action. However, the Attorney General has to determine that a cure is generally possible. To do so, the Attorney General may consider:

After January 2026, the cure period will be permitted only on a discretionary basis.

What's Next? 

The above summary provides an overview of the key provisions of this law but is not a full analysis. And, Kentucky is on its way to passing a comprehensive state privacy law, becoming state number fifteen.

In addition, we are seeing legislation regarding health care, location data, artificial intelligence, and data of children in state legislatures, as well as recurring Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)-style legislation and private rights of action. 

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Law clerk Sabrina Messar contributed to this post. She is not currently admitted to practice law.