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June 22, 2005
California Bill Would Regulate Gov't Use of RFID
The LA Times has an article on a proposed state statute regulating government use of RFID for tracking people (Not Letting Chips Follow Where They May). The basic concept is probably a good idea, but I'm not really sure that this legislation is the best way to go about it:
Rather than an across-the-board ban, the amended bill would forbid state and local governments from mandating radio-frequency ID technology in driver's licenses and in student ID, health insurance and public library cards. The bill would not limit private industry use of the technology.
With a few exceptions, governments could use the technology in other forms of identification so long as they included at least three protections, stipulated in the amended bill:
- They must make sure the information is disguised with a unique identifier. A person's name, address and birth date, for example, would be represented by a number.
- State and local governments would have to encrypt that unique identifier or scramble it in some way so that only a person with a code could link the identifier with the original information.
- The cards must not transmit information to a reader until the machine verifies, perhaps using a secret password, that it is authorized to accept the data.
The technical safeguards don't seem to make a lot of sense to me. The bill is California SB682
posted by Ernest Miller |
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