Sunday, May 22, 2005

RFID Watch: CA SB 682 to ban RFID in CDLs

I just read in RFID update that the SB 682 passed the California Senate 29-7. According to the California Legislature's Bill Info Center, the following is the current text of SB 682.

If you want to read the bill, just select Senate Bills from 2005-2006(Current) and then put in the bill number. The interface is really poorly designed with the clear button in front of the search button, so be sure to click search.

The State Senate yesterday approved a bill with broad bipartisan support ( 29:7 ) that would prohibit state and local governments from issuing identification documents containing a Radio Frequency Identification ( RFID ) tag, a device that can broadcast an individual's most private Information including their name, address, telephone number, and date of birth. The bill will be heard next in the State Assembly. It is the first bill of its kind in the country and has drawn national attention following the federal government's decision to embed RFID tags in new U.S. passports.

Known as the Identity Information Protection Act of 2005, SB 682 was authored by State Senator Joe Simitian ( D-Palo Alto). The bill would also make it unlawful for a person to read or attempt to read an identification document without the owner's knowledge.

"This is a milestone for a very important measure to protect people's privacy, personal safety, and financial security," said Simitian. "RFID technology is not the issue, the issue is whether and under what circumstances should the government be allowed to use this technology. SB 682 will help encourage a thoughtful and rational conversation about that question." |Link|

RFID is a cool technology with great potential, but it's expensive and a good business case has to be made for any IT application. I don't think a serious business case has been made for putting RFID in DL's or passports, not yet anyway. It's a nifty technology, but why the rush to implement it? I think it's more a fad than anything else right now.

I don't think RFID should be banned, but I don't think it should be implemented in any particular context without a good reason in terms of efficiency, ease of administration, or even surveillance. If surveillance is the goal, let's at least be honest about it and discuss it like adults.

I don't hate people who are fundamentally dishonest. But I refuse to do business with them. Unless they are my elected representatives.

Any proposed RFID application should also consider the privacy, security, and social implications of tagging as well as the cost-benefit analysis. The more heuristics the better, if you ask me. But I'm a nerd.

No comments: