California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently vetoed a state bill designed to regulate the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) in state and local documents.
Many groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union, were hoping the bill would become the standard for other states to model for enacting laws that limit the use of RFID technology in an effort to protect individuals’ privacy and security rights.
In his veto statement, Schwarzenegger said the bill was ahead of the technology. "I am concerned that the bill's provisions are overbroad and may unduly burden the numerous beneficial new applications of contactless technology," he explained. He said that the federal government, under the REAL ID Act, has not yet released new technology standards for government ID cards. It is said that RFID has a good chance of being chosen for use in the cards. If the bill had become a law, it may have conflicted with the soon to be issued federal mandates.
The REAL ID Act, which became law in 2005, says states must redesign their driver's licenses by 2008 to include a common machine-readable technology. RFID is one of the technologies being considered for the cards.
Schwarzenegger also said that a state law prohibiting the use of RFID technology in state and local documents could hinder agencies from buying technology that could “enhance and streamline operations, reduce expenses and improve customer service to the public."