Feeds

Shops must use RFID with care

Information Commissioner checks it out

Boost IT visibility and business value

Shops which use RFID tags and CCTV cameras must tell shoppers every time an RFID tag is used and must tell shoppers how to remove them. The order comes in guidelines produced by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). RFID (radio frequency identification) tags are used for inventory management in many shops but are increasingly used on shop shelves to identify products. The ICO said that shops must comply with the Data Protection Act when RFID information is collected alongside personal identifying information, such as CCTV footage.

"Where personal data is collected, generated or disclosed using RFID either directly or indirectly, the Act will apply," says the guidance. "Those collecting personal data with RFID will have to give notice of the presence of RFID tags on products and of readers, and explain the implications. They will have to tell consumers what personal information is being collected, by whom, and for what purpose. It might also be necessary to tell customers how to disable or remove tags, for example if a tag has been left on a product after purchase."

The guidance also tells retailers that whatever data is gathered must be disposed of once it has been used, and that only an amount of data proportionate to the purpose for which it was gathered can be stored.

RFID chips are causing some privacy activists concerns as they enable retailers, state bodies and any other using organisation to gather information about people's product choices, movements and habits. One concern is about the security of the information, once gathered.

The ICO's guidance warns of skimming, cloning and eavesdropping on tags and the transmission of data between tags and readers. "The simplest way of addressing privacy concerns about RFID is to ensure that any tags on individual items are removed or disabled at the point of purchase," it said.

Meanwhile, California is about to introduce laws controlling the data kept on RFID cards. The Identity Information Protection Act has been passed by legislators in the state and awaits the signature of governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to become state law.

That state is using RFID in library cards and driver's licences and the new law will control how government and private organizations are allowed to deal with the information on cards. The Act orders the use of encryption technologies on cards.

"RFID technology is not in and of itself the issue," said Senator Joe Simitian, who proposed the bill. "The issue is whether and under what circumstances the government should be allowed to compel its residents to carry technology that broadcasts their most personal information." The US has recently taken the controversial decision to embed RFID chips in passports, prompting fears about the documents' long term security.

See: The Guidance (7-page / 44KB PDF)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.