In February, the first version of a bill regulating RFID in California, Senate Bill 682, was introduced. See LibraryLaw's previous posting. The key issues identified by the Assembly were:
1) Should the government issue identification documents (IDs) that can broadcast personal information without implementing security protections to limit both the ID's ability to broadcast information and what information might be broadcast?
2) Should the government prohibit the use of "contactless integrated circuit" technology (RFID) in widely-used government documents, at least until the current safety measures have been implemented?
The first version of Senate Bill 682 would have prohibited any school, including universities, from issuing students cards that use a contactless integrated circuit or other device that broadcasts personal information or enables personal information to be read remotely. It also prohibited public libraries from issuing RFID library cards. The ban would have been in place for three years.
The most recent amendment of the bill, on July 7, deleted all references to the University of California, California State universities, and community colleges. And today's San Francisco Daily Journal reports that the new UC Merced campus library will issue library cards with RFID technology to allow self-checkout of books.
Opponents of RFID technology are worried that anyone with a reader can activate the personal information on a card with RFID, lessening personal privacy and increasing the opportunities for identity theft. Proponents are sure that technology can fix the problems that technology creates. Students at UC Merced will be the guinea pigs.