Stakeholder group to advise on EU RFID strategy
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The European Commission presented its new proposal for the radio frequency
identification (RFID) tags strategy for Europe after one year of
consultations. The strategy will be drafted in cooperation with a
Stakeholder Group to be created and Article 29 Working Party.
An EU study had been initiated after a 6-months period of consultations that
had shown concerns related to the use of RFID tags especially regarding
public awareness and fears that the system would affect privacy. The study
advised on the necessity to assure the public that the tags would not turn
into a large-range surveillance system and that people would have control on
the information included in the tags.
At that time more than 55% of the individuals and organisations having
participated in the study considered a change in the legislation was needed
for data and privacy protection.
Commissioner Viviane Reding presented the new Commission’s strategy on 15
March 2007, at CeBIT, the world’s largest annual IT fair in Hanover,
Germany. Having in view the results of the consultation, the Commissioner
stated: “The Commission’s RFID strategy will therefore seek to raise
awareness, stress the absolute need for citizens to decide how their
personal data is used and ensure that Europe removes existing obstacles to
RFID’s enormous potential.”
In order to take into account the RFID chips booming market, the European
Commission will make changes to the Privacy and Electronic Communications
Directive with amendments that will be proposed by the middle of 2007.
Commissioner Reding said that she was forming an RFID Stakeholder Group made
up of citizens, scientists, data protection experts and businesses that
would work along with the EU advisory group Article 29 Data Protection
Working Group in helping the Commission to develop its RFID strategy and
discuss how the tags should be used.
According to Reding, the RFID Stakeholder Group will help in finding ways
for consumers to protect themselves from potential surveillance that the
RFID might allow and educate the public on the issue.
“We must not over-regulate RFID (Radio Frequency Identification),” also said
Viviane Reding, at the Cebit show, considering that the radio tags market
should be given the possibility to develop without interference from the
She also stated that, by the end of the year, recommendations would be
published on issues of data protection and privacy related to RFID along
with an assessment of other necessary law changes.
“RFID is of policy concern because of its potential to become a new motor of
growth and jobs if the barriers to innovation can be overcome.. production
price of RFID tags is now approaching a level that permits wide commercial
and public sector deployment. With wider use, it becomes essential that the
implementation of RFID takes place under a legal framework that affords
citizens effective safeguards for fundamental values, health, data
protection and privacy.” was the Commission statement.
EU study on RFID tags shows major privacy concerns (25.10.2006)
Commission proposes a European policy strategy for smart radio tags
Public to shape smart tag policy (15.03.2007)
RFID chips will force changes to Privacy and Electronic Communications