UNH Research Finds N.H. Residents Support Sharing of DMV Photos with the FBI

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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DURHAM, N.H.—About 70% of Granite State residents support the sharing of driver’s license photos with the FBI for inclusion in the national facial recognition database, according to new survey research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Currently, New Hampshire is not one of the 21 states that shares Department of Motor Vehicles data.

“The implications of the use of facial recognition technology are vast, but they have yet to receive the attention needed by policymakers,” the researchers said. “New Hampshire is one of the few states comprehensively addressing the collection of biometric data but a discussion among law enforcement, policymakers and the public seems imperative as the use of facial recognition technology continues to expand.”

The researchers also found that respondents were in favor of sharing data regardless of the reason. While Trump voters showed the strongest support when it came to sharing data to capture potential terrorists, more than 60% of Clinton voters and nonvoters also support the practice. Women were especially convinced by the terrorism argument, with 86% in support of data sharing, compared to 58% of men. In addition, the researchers found that support for data sharing was less in the Manchester and Seacoast areas than in other areas of the state but was still more than 60%.

The research was conducted by Dan Bromberg, associate professor of public administration and director of academic programs for the Carsey School; Étienne Charbonneau, Canada research chair at École nationale d’administration publique in Montreal; and Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center and professor of political science.

The Carsey School of Public Policy is nationally recognized for research, policy education and bringing people together for thoughtful dialogue to address important societal challenges. The school develops and facilitates innovative, responsive and equitable solutions at all levels of government and in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.