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RFID Privacy Bill Head To NH Senate

Legislation restricting the use of RFID technology to protect consumer privacy is headed to the NH senate for consideration. HB 478, authored by state rep. Neal Kurk, was introduced in January 2009 after two other similar bills failed to pass. This bill requires that RFID-tagged items carry notification labels so consumers will know that RFID technology is attached to the product. It also mandates that a business disable the technology if the consumer requests.

Recommendations of the State of NH Commission on the Use of RFID,  established in 2006, were largely ignored by Rep. Kurk when he introduced HB 478. Considerations such as who would be responsible for attaching notification labels on products in NH, and if it is possible for small businesses to deactivate tags on the products they sell, were not included in the current bill.

John Dumais, a commission member and president of the NH Grocers Association, fears that retailers might noticed a drop in sales because of the added costs to comply with the law. Or they might decide not to carry certain products at all, such as pharmaceuticals, wines, or other high-value items.

It remains to be seen what will happen with this bill; it has not been scheduled for senate discussion yet. Opponents feel that it’s too early to place restrictions on RFID technology’s use, but others feel consumers need protection from abuses that could or might arise. But if the bill fails in the state senate, Kurk plans to reintroduce the bill in 2011.

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