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PRESS RELEASE

EDPS/07/13
Thursday, 20 December 2007

EDPS Opinion on RFID: major opportunities for Information Society but privacy issues need to be addressed with more ambition

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) today issued his Opinion on the Commission's communication on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Europe that was released in March 2007. The Opinion deals with the growing use of RFID chips in consumer products and other new applications affecting individuals.

The EDPS welcomes the Commission's Communication on RFID as it addresses the main issues arising from the deployment of RFID technology while taking account of privacy and data protection considerations. The EDPS agrees with the Commission that it is appropriate in the first phase to leave room for self-regulatory instruments. However, additional legislative measures may be necessary to regulate RFID usage in relation to privacy and data protection.

Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "RFID systems could play a key role in the development of the European Information Society but the wide acceptance of RFID technologies should be facilitated by the benefits of consistent data protection safeguards. Self-regulation alone may not be enough to meet the challenge. Legal instruments may therefore be required to guarantee that the technical solutions to minimise the risks for data protection and privacy are in place."

More specifically, the EDPS calls on the Commission to consider the following recommendations:

  • the provision of a clear guidance, in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders, on how to apply the current legal framework to the RFID environment;
  • the adoption of a Community legislation regulating the main issues of RFID-usage in case the effective implementation of the existing legal framework fails;
  • such measures should notably lay down the opt-in principle at the point of sale as a precise and undeniable legal obligation;
  • the identification of "Best Available Techniques" which will play a decisive role in the early adoption of the privacy-by-design principle.


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The Opinion is available on our website.

For more information, please contact the EDPS Press Service at: +32 2 283 19 00

EDPS - The European guardian of personal data protection
www.edps.europa.eu


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