Wednesday, May 18, 2005

RFID: California's Identity Information Protection Act

Utah introduced a bill designed to limit the use of RFID by state and county government. It was voted down. Maryland introduced a similar bill. It, too, was voted down. This is California's second RFID bill. The first was... voted down.

So, California's Bill No. 682 may not be an original idea, but it is important and relevant. And the strong bipartisan vote in favor of the bill is also important and relevant.

California Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced the bill in February 2005. Yesterday the California state senate approved the bill in a 29 to 7 vote (21 Democrats and eight Republicans). If passed into law, the California bill will be the first legislation to limit the use of RFID.

An excerpt from bill 682: "This act would prohibit identification documents created, mandated, purchased or issued by various public entities from containing a contactless integrated circuit or other device that can broadcast personal information or enable personal information to be scanned remotely, except as specified."

Nothing wrong with that.

RFID is amazing technology that represents tremendous positive potential. RFID may be the best tool we have to keep our prescription drug pipeline safe, to alert us when an Alzheimer's patient wanders, or to warn us when our car tire is getting low.

It is not the best tool we have for identification.

New technology requires new vigilance. New uses of old technology also requre new vigilance. If we don't make deliberate decisions about the role of RFID in our lives, someone else will. It is that simple.

Sally Bacchetta - Freelance Writer


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