Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Governor Vetoes SB 29 - Historic RFID Regulation Bill

As I've written on this blog many a time, the rapid evolution of ever intrusive technology makes it essential that we draw the line now. As most also know, there are (were now) two privacy protection bills introduced by Senator Joe Simitian (SB 29 and SB 31) awaiting Governor Schwarzenegger's signature or veto. They both addressed privacy concerns and problems with "skimming" - the unauthorized surreptitious reading of RFIDs by persons with malicious intent.

Sadly, Senate Bill 29 was vetoed yesterday. The bill would have required public schools to obtain a parent's voluntary consent before a student is required to carry an RFID-enabled identification card. It also would have required a school to explain to parents the risks RFIDs pose to personal privacy.

This isn't some hypothetical issue. A California school district embedded RFIDs in student IDs without the parents' knowledge, and only stopped after an outcry about the potential for hacking by a child abductor.

It goes without saying that CFC is deeply disappointed the Governor chose to side with RFID industry greed over protecting personal privacy, ensuring child safety, and establishing the right of parents to decide whether it’s acceptable for schools to “chip” their children.

Now all eyes turn to SB 31, which would make it unlawful to skim information from an RFID without the consent of the ID holder. The prohibition does not apply to law enforcement applications such as in prisons, or in valid health emergency situations.

We literally are expecting a decision, assuming it hasn't already happened in the alst hour withuot me getting word, any hour now.

If you haven't already, I suppose there still might be time to send a message to the Governor.

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