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GS1 Canada Revamps RFID Policy Forum

The updated forum will work to encourage discussion about all aspects of RFID-based electronic business processes, as well as provide the public with facts and research.
By Beth Bacheldor
The Privacy Working Group will examine the impact RFID applications have on privacy, then share its findings with companies and the public. It is important, Mac Donald says, for both Canadian companies, and those elsewhere in the world that want to do business in Canada, to comprehend the nation's Privacy Act and how it relates to RFID.

"We don't want to change the Privacy Act," Mac Donald states, "but we want to ensure the policies are understood, and how they relate back to the implementation of RFID." For instance, she says, Canada's Privacy Act is much stricter than similar laws in the United States and other countries, "and if a company manufactures a product in the United States and sells it in Canada, they have to adhere to Canadian law." Such law, for example, requires a company to post a notification if an RFID tag has been affixed to a product.

The Environment Working Group will study the application of RFID and EPC technologies in the management of landfills and waste, and how those technologies might affect, or be affected by, laws and regulations; the environmental impact of widespread use of RFID and EPC technologies in retail; and the impact such technologies can have on worker health. RFID tags, for instance, can be employed by waste management companies to track how much waste a household produces, and there could be privacy concerns regarding such an application.

Finally, the Communications Working Group's goal is to become a credible, neutral expert source for the press and the public regarding the use and implications of RFID-based electronic business processes in the public domain.

The RFID Policy Forum held its first meeting on June 5 of this year at GS1 Canada's offices in Toronto. Going forward, Mac Donald says, the Steering Committee plans to meet twice a year, though it will convene more often if necessary. The working groups, meanwhile, intend to meet once per quarter.

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