Business & Finance
News
4/27/2004
05:45 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

RFID Legislation Gains Sponsors

A Massachusetts lawmaker wants ground rules for how retail RFID is used. The aim is to allay alarmists' worries while making the technology more pervasive.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Massachusetts state Sen. Jarrett Barrios is drafting legislation that would regulate the use of radio-frequency identification technology.

Barrios, who introduced anti-spam legislation in 2003 in the commonwealth, says the RFID bill likely will resemble legislation under review in California and Utah. Barrios spoke at a Tuesday panel discussion, sponsored by Philips Electronics North America and the National Retail Federation.

In February, California state Sen. Debra Bowen introduced a bill that would lay out three requirements for any business using RFID devices that can track products and people. Businesses would have to tell customers they're using RFID and get express consent before tracking and collecting any information. The bill also would call on businesses to detach or destroy any RFID tags that are attached to a product offered for sale before the customer leaves the store.

Barrios says his bill probably will contain three similar points: that consumers have a right to know RFID is being used, that consumers can opt out of using the technology at the point of purchase, and that consumers can deactivate that RFID tags at the point of purchase.

Privacy concerns regarding RFID shouldn't be rooted in outlandish conspiracy theories, Barrios says, but at the same time, "dismissing everybody's privacy concerns is too easy and would be a long-term disadvantage to all of us."

Barrios also says he expects RFID legislation to begin at the state level but ultimately should be handled by the federal government, much like spam legislation has moved from states to the federal government.

RFID is a fast-growing technology, sparked by mandates from Wal-Mart, Target, Albertsons, the Department of Defense, and several European retailers that suppliers use the technology in the next year.

Privacy advocates are concerned that as RFID technology matures and becomes more pervasive, it could be used to collect scads of data on unknowing consumers.

Barrios says he plans to hold a roundtable in late May with government leaders, industry and business leaders, and consumer advocates to solicit ideas and hear concerns regarding his proposed legislation.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.