Feeds

Shops must use RFID with care

Information Commissioner checks it out

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.