European Union to temper RFID regulation

Current concerns regarding RFID—particularly the security of personal information—are best addressed by existing European law and public education.
By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff August 6, 2007

After a year of public discourse, the European Union announced in a report issued at this year’s CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany that it would minimize governmental regulation of RFID technology. Current concerns regarding RFID—particularly the security of personal information—are best addressed by existing European law and public education, the report says. Disposition was based in part on the belief that RFID can serve as an engine for broad-based European economic growth, and as a benefit to society.

“From fighting counterfeits to better health care, smart RFID-chips offers tremendous opportunities for business and society,” says Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. “The Commission’s Europe-wide public consultation in 2006 identified a strong lack of awareness and considerable concern among citizens. The Commission’s 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.”

The formal report to the European Parliament and Council regarding “steps toward a policy framework” concluded by saying RFID will continue to be closely monitored. A report in 2008 will assess “issues of privacy, trust, and governance” and whether additional regulations are necessary at that point.