European Union Will Not Regulate RFID-For Now

The European Commission has put off, for at least a year, any decision to regulate radio-frequency identification technology, according to EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. In a press conference at the CeBIT trade show here, Reding said that because of explosive growth, it was too early for Europe to attempt regulation of the technology. She also noted that it was necessary to provide certainty for the industry and to raise awareness of how the personal data would be used: "We are creating an RFID stakeholder group. We leave this group to give us the solutions that will go into a recommendation on how to handle the security and privacy of smart radio tags." She said that if regulation were to occur, an RFID tag on a shipping container would be treated differently from one that held personal information: "Consumers should be able to deactivate the smart radio tag." Reding said that the EC may make changes to Europe's existing privacy laws to accommodate RFID, but she noted that any regulation must wait until more is known about the potential of RFID.

Robert Cresanti, U.S. undersecretary of commerce for technology who has been working on RFID issues in the Bush administration, has already had discussions with Reding about making sure that the U.S. and European implementations of RFID technology are compatible. Cresanti said that he and Reding would be making separate trips to Asia in the coming weeks to gain cooperation in setting RFID policy. Reding said that she spoke with the prime minister of Russia about RFID technology on March 14 and would also talk to the governments of China, Korea and Japan. "Here's a chance for economic development. We are in the driving seat," Reding said.

News source: eWeek

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