California “Identity Information Protection Act” Would Limit Use of RFID

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If California State Senator Joe Simitian gets his way, California will come to the fore of states passing laws which restrict the uses of the controversial RFID chips. South Dakota is presently considering a law which prohibits implanting an RFID chip in a human, and Rhode Island is currently reviewing a proposed law which would prohibit requiring as a condition of employement or receiving services the RFID tracking of an employee, student or client.

The California “Identity Information Protection Act of 2005”, as the pending bill is known, would prohibit state and local government agencies from issuing RFID-bearing identification documents that either transmit personal information or allow personal information data to be scanned. The bill would allow the use of RFID technology in prisons, hospitals, and public health facilities, and at toll barriers.


Explained Simitian, “RFID technology is not in and of itself the issue. The issue is whether and under what circumstances the government should be allowed to impose this technology on its residents. This bill provides a thoughtful and rational policy framework for making those decisions.”

Of course, not everyone supports the bill, most notably those in the RFID industry. Said Holly Sacks, of RFID manufacturer HID, “While HID supports the basic intent of the bill to protect the privacy of people in California and prevent identity theft, we do not believe California Senate Bill 682 will accomplish these objectives. Our primary concern is the appropriate use of technology in secure identification applications.”

Sacks compared the data on their RFID chips to that on a license plate. “The difference is that the license plate number is fully and publicly visible, whereas the serial number programmed on a card must be read by specialized RFID reader technology at very close range.”

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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