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California RFID Bill Wins Another Victory

Yesterday marked an important victory for "SB 862," the California state bill that would render illegal the embedding of RFID tags in state-issued identification documents like driver's licenses and state employee cards. The California State Senate approved SB 862 in a decisive, bipartisan 29-7 vote.
Tags: Privacy
May 20, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 20, 2005—Yesterday marked an important victory for "SB 862," the California state bill that would render illegal the embedding of RFID tags in state-issued identification documents like driver's licenses and state employee cards. The California State Senate approved SB 862 in a decisive, bipartisan 29-7 vote. Authored by Democratic State Senator Joe Simitian partly in response to the furor earlier this year in which an elementary school in Sutter, California, issued RFID-tagged identification badges to its students without first apprising their parents, the bill rapidly gained momentum a few weeks ago when it easily passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 6-1 victory.

In addition to disallowing RFID in state-issued documents, SB 862 criminalizes "skimming," in which tag data is surreptitiously read by an unauthorized party. Drafted with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, it has support from a number of organizations across California, including Capitol Resource Institute, the Free Congress Foundation, the AARP, the California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, the Statewide California Coalition for Battered Women, California NOW, and the California Commission on the Status of Women.

California is a state known as much for its dominant technology sector as for its progressive politics, and the hope is that the state legislature will be able to balance the two in this instance as it has in the past. Said Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director of the ACLU of Northern California, said "California legislators have always been on the forefront of passing important legislation to balance the potential benefits of emerging technology while safeguarding the privacy and security of Californians." If a measured approach is taken to both the commercial and privacy interests involved, California's new legislation may become a model for other states to follow.

ACLU and EFF issued a press release
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