Tuesday, March 20, 2007

RFID - changes to the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications 2002/58/EC

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the privacy implications through the use of RFID by companies, but in the latest press release, the European Commission is anticipated to introduce changes to the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications 2002/58/EC (pdf) to take account of RFID chips. Here is a short extract:

The European Commission will make changes to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive to take account of the exploding market in radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, it has said. Amendments will be proposed by the middle of this year. The Commission has published a Communication, intended as "a step towards a policy framework," for dealing with RFID chips, whose usefulness is seen by some to be at odds with privacy and data protection. RFID is a radio technology which allows chips to be identified at short distances by chip readers. The chips themselves are so cheap – just a few pence each – that they are useful in all sorts of commercial applications, from goods transit to stock management and even shop checkouts. It is the application of the chips to people and the things people do with the chipped goods, though, that has always worried privacy activists. Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the advisory group she was forming to monitor RFID would work in conjunction with the Article 29 Data Protection Working Group, an existing, independent EU advisory body. Reding announced the creation of an RFID Stakeholder Group to help the Commission develop its RFID policy as part of an action plan to address the potential pitfalls and benefits of using RFID technology.

One has still to read the Communication (pdf) issued by the European Commission, but see:

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