Could New Hampshire criminalize RFID?

Urging advocacy and involvement by industry, AIM Global and the American Electronics Association (AeA) say legislation currently pending in California and New Hampshire could have a sweeping and negative effect on the use of radio frequency identification (RFID).

Of particular interest to both AIM Global and AeA is New Hampshire legislation that describes “tracking devices” as everything from E-Z Pass transponders to library cards. Among the requirements of the legislation is a mandate that no item “to which a tracking device or devices have been affixed or implanted, shall be sold or offered for sale or provided to a consumer without a label containing a universally accepted symbol.” (New Hampshire House Bill 203-FN, Chapter 358-S-2 I) That symbol, point out AIM and AeA does not exist in an accepted, standardized form. AIM does point out that the EPC Global seal or the AIM RFID emblem are in widespread use, but they have limitations.

While the EPC Global seal is widely accepted, it can be applied only to EPC-compliant tags and labels. The AIM RFID emblem can be applied to any type of RFID device, but it is not yet universally accepted. AIM has applied to various groups within the International Standards Organization (ISO) to have the emblem included.

At stake are civil and criminal penalties for “any person convicted of violating [the labeling requirement].” Though a misdemeanor under the proposed New Hampshire law, each act constitutes a separate offense and can carry civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation. The legislation specifies the labels shall be affixed to the product or document or its packaging by “the entity that implants the tracking device . . . or the entity that imports products that contain tracking devices.”

The trade groups point out some devices carry no personal information and cannot be associated with personal data and, therefore, require lower levels of security and pose no risk to privacy. Their concerns are for the broad language of the legislation that makes no distinction between an inventory control tag with product information and no personal data and a “smart” credit card that contains sensitive personal information. The variety of devices and their uses call for multiple layers of security and privacy protection, says the AeA.

For more information from AIM Global, visit www.aimglobal.org.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2006/HB0203.html.


The AeA response to the New Hampshire bill is at

http://www.aeanet.org/governmentaffairs/gamb_NHHB203FNOpposeLTRDec2005.asp

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