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Give Your Views to the EU—Now!

The European Commission is proposing requirements that could dramatically curtail the benefits of RFID technology, so end users and vendors need to submit comments before April 25.
By Mark Roberti
Apr 07, 2008The potential of radio frequency identification to deliver value to companies and consumers across Europe is at risk. If you conduct business in Europe and think RFID might help you improve efficiencies, or if you sell RFID systems in Europe, you need to act—and soon.

The European Commission, which has been examining the privacy implications of RFID for a couple of years, has published draft recommendations that will likely reduce the business and consumer benefits of RFID (see European Commission Works on RFID Policy and Europe's RFID Privacy Policy Might Be a Mistake). But before the European Union adopts these proposals, there's still time to convince them they risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The commission is currently soliciting feedback. The deadline to comment is April 25. You know opponents of RFID will be out there saying the proposals don't go far enough. So it's imperative that end users, vendors and anyone else associated with RFID submit comments before the industry is saddled with regulatory issues rendering RFID untenable in any consumer—and potentially supply chain—application.

It's easy to make your opinion count—there's an online form that will just take a few minutes to fill out. Here's a link.

The form presents each article of the draft, then provides a place for you to enter your opinion. Article 1 is an overview of the recommendations, and Article 2 provides the definitions used in those recommendations. Many, however are overly broad.

A "public place," for instance, is defined as "any area, including non-stationary means of public transport such as buses, planes, railways or ships, which can be accessed at all times or at certain times by everybody." So if you tag something that ends up in the cargo hold of an airplane, is that plane considered a public place?


Gerald Santucci 2008-04-09 08:17:28 AM
EC's draft recommendations I'd like to thank Mark Roberti for his article "Give Your Views to the EU - Now!" (7 April). I'm currently in charge within DG Information Society and Media (INFSO) of the European Commission of the RFID dossier, and hence of the draft recommendation. A public consultation has been published for a period of 9 weeks (ending 25 April) and its results will obviously be taken into account by the Commission in its finalisation of the policy document. Here we find Mark's articles inspiring and always very useful for us to remain informed of RFID trends and developments worldwide and for different sectors and applications. His "call" on stakeholders concerning the draft EC recommendation, although critical of several aspects of the recommendation, will be duly considered as a relevant and positive contribution to the overall debate. I'd like to tell Mark each article in the draft recommendation is an integral part of it. The provisions concerning PIAs, codes of conduct, information on RFID use, security risk management, awareness raising actions, support for R&D, and the use of RFID in retail should not be seen as individual entities but as a set of inter-related entities which have to be set in conjunction with one another in a continuum. This said, I take note, among other things, of Mark's observation that some definitions and other parts of the draft recommendation are not sufficiently clearly specified. So, many thanks again, and let's hope that at the end we'll find a common path. Gerald Santucci, Head of Unit, DG INFSO/D4

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