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RFID Frequently Asked Question

Are there laws governing the use of RFID?

Many existing privacy laws cover the use of data collected by RFID systems, as well as bar codes and other systems. Some U.S. states have enacted or considered enacting new laws dealing with issues particular to RFID, such as the surreptitious scanning of tags by retailers or those with criminal intent. Washington introduced HB 1031 (the Electronic Bill of Rights), imposing rules on how companies could deploy RFID and retain personal information gathered via the technology, but this bill was returned to the House Rules Committee (see Washington's RFID Bill Halted). Michigan has created a payment incentive program to help ameliorate the cost to farmers, while still ensuring that the majority of livestock is tagged. Michigan has mandated the use of RFID tags to identify cattle, and more than a dozen other states have introduced laws limiting attempts to require RFID use for livestock. Wisconsin has no intention to mandate animal identification, but has offered an incentive program similar to Michigan's (see Wisconsin Ups RFID-Adoption Incentives for Cattle Growers). New Hampshire's House of Representatives approved HB-203, requiring warning labels on consumer goods and identity documents containing RFID tags or other tracking devices, as well as regulating the use of RFID for tracking individuals, and establishing a commission on the use of tracking devices in government and business. The bill was sent to the N.H. Senate to be assigned a hearing committee (see N.H. Reps Approve 'Tracking Device' Bill). And California proposed SB 768 (the Identity Information Protection Act of 2006), which would have been the first state bill to address how RFID technology could be used in government identification documents. Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, vetoed the bill (see Calif. Gov Terminates RFID ID Bill). Most countries outside the United States have not yet passed such laws.

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