Canadian Commissioner Issues RFID Guidelines

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, has released Practical Tips for Implementing RFID Privacy Guidelines for the growing field of radio frequency identification (RFID).

These Guidelines flow from her earlier work in 2003 when the commissioner first identified the potential privacy concerns raised by RFID technology. Following a history of ground-breaking work on building privacy into the design of emerging technologies, these guidelines are a natural progression of this pragmatic approach.

“I have always found it beneficial to assist those working on emerging technologies, and to be proactive whenever possible, to develop effective guidelines and codes before any problems arise,” said Cavoukian. “These made-in-Canada guidelines provide guidance and solutions regarding item-level consumer RFID applications and uses.”

EPCglobal Canada, an industry association that sets standards for electronic product codes, has been collaborating with the IPC in the development of these Guidelines, and will be seeking Board approval by its member companies to signify the association’s endorsement of the Guidelines.

“This technology offers exciting benefits to consumers and businesses alike, said Art Smith, president and CEO, EPCglobal Canada. “As the trusted source for driving adoption of EPC/RFID technology for increased visibility within the supply chain, privacy is as important as anything else we are doing.”

Although RFID technology deployed in the supply chain management process poses little threat to privacy, item-level use of RFID tags in the retail sector, when linked to personally identifiable information, can facilitate the tracking and surveillance of individuals. The goal of these guidelines is to alleviate concerns about the potential threat to privacy posed by this technology and to enhance openness and transparency about item-level use of RFID systems by retailers.

Source: Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, Canada

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