Procedure for Release of Personal Information for Research Purposes

Section 91-A:10

    91-A:10 Release of Statistical Tables and Limited Data Sets for Research. –
I. In this subdivision:
(a) " Agency " means each state board, commission, department, institution, officer or other state official or group.
(b) " Agency head " means the head of any governmental agency which is responsible for the collection and use of any data on persons or summary data.
(c) " Cell size " means the count of individuals that share a set of characteristics contained in a statistical table.
(d) " Data set " means a collection of personal information on one or more individuals, whether in electronic or manual files.
(e) " Direct identifiers " means:
(1) Names.
(2) Postal address information other than town or city, state, and zip code.
(3) Telephone and fax numbers.
(4) Electronic mail addresses.
(5) Social security numbers.
(6) Certificate and license numbers.
(7) Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers.
(8) Personal Internet IP addresses and URLs.
(9) Biometric identifiers, including finger and voice prints.
(10) Personal photographic images.
(f) " Individual " means a human being, alive or dead, who is the subject of personal information and includes the individual's legal or other authorized representative.
(g) " Limited data set " means a data set from which all direct identifiers have been removed or blanked.
(h) " Personal information " means information relating to an individual that is reported to the state or is derived from any interaction between the state and an individual and which:
(1) Contains direct identifiers.
(2) Is under the control of the state.
(i) " Provided by law " means use and disclosure as permitted or required by New Hampshire state law governing programs or activities undertaken by the state or its agencies, or required by federal law.
(j) " Public record " means records available to any person without restriction.
(k) " State " means the state of New Hampshire, its agencies or instrumentalities.
(l) " Statistical table " means single or multi-variate counts based on the personal information contained in a data set and which does not include any direct identifiers.
II. Except as otherwise provided by law, upon request an agency shall release limited data sets and statistical tables with any cell size more than 0 and less than 5 contained in agency files to requestors for the purposes of research under the following conditions:
(a) The requestor submits a written application that contains:
(1) The following information about the principal investigator in charge of the research:
(A) name, address, and phone number;
(B) organizational affiliation;
(C) professional qualification; and
(D) name and phone number of principal investigator's contact person, if any.
(2) The names and qualifications of additional research staff, if any, who will have access to the data.
(3) A research protocol which shall contain:
(A) a summary of background, purposes, and origin of the research;
(B) a statement of the general problem or issue to be addressed by the research;
(C) the research design and methodology including either the topics of exploratory research or the specific research hypotheses to be tested;
(D) the procedures that will be followed to maintain the confidentiality of any data or copies of records provided to the investigator; and
(E) the intended research completion date.
(4) The following information about the data or statistical tables being requested:
(A) general types of information;
(B) time period of the data or statistical tables;
(C) specific data items or fields of information required, if applicable;
(D) medium in which the data or statistical tables are to be supplied; and
(E) any special format or layout of data requested by the principal investigator.
(b) The requestor signs a "Data Use Agreement" signed by the principal investigator that contains the following:
(1) Agreement not to use or further disclose the information to any person or organization other than as described in the application and as permitted by the Data Use Agreement without the written consent of the agency.
(2) Agreement not to use or further disclose the information as otherwise required by law.
(3) Agreement not to seek to ascertain the identity of individuals revealed in the limited data set and/or statistical tables.
(4) Agreement not to publish or make public the content of cells in statistical tables in which the cell size is more than 0 and less than 5 unless:
(A) otherwise provided by law; or
(B) the information is a public record.
(5) Agreement to report to the agency any use or disclosure of the information contrary to the agreement of which the principal investigator becomes aware.
(6) A date on which the data set and/or statistical tables will be returned to the agency and/or all copies in the possession of the requestor will be destroyed.
III. The agency head shall release limited data sets and statistical tables and sign the Data Use Agreement on behalf of the state when:
(a) The application submitted is complete.
(b) Adequate measures to ensure the confidentiality of any person are documented.
(c) The investigator and research staff are qualified as indicated by:
(1) Documentation of training and previous research, including prior publications; and
(2) Affiliation with a university, private research organization, medical center, state agency, or other institution which will provide sufficient research resources.
(d) There is no other state law, federal law, or federal regulation prohibiting release of the requested information.
IV. Within 10 days of a receipt of written application, the agency head, or designee, shall respond to the request. Whenever the agency head denies release of requested information, the agency head shall send the requestor a letter identifying the specific criteria which are the basis of the denial. Should release be denied due to other law, the letter shall identify the specific state law, federal law, or federal regulation prohibiting the release. Otherwise the agency head shall provide the requested data or set a date on which the data shall be provided.
V. Any person violating any provision of a signed Data Use Agreement shall be guilty of a violation.
VI. Nothing in this section shall exempt any requestor from paying fees otherwise established by law for obtaining copies of limited data sets or statistical tables. Such fees shall be based on the cost of providing the copy in the format requested. The agency head shall provide the requestor with a written description of the basis for the fee.

Source. 2003, 292:2, eff. July 18, 2003.