Nevada Bill Would Outlaw RFID Research
A bill introduced in the Nevada State legislature would criminalize the capture of a person's identifying information through RFID (radio-frequency ID technology). This would only apply to individuals, which would effectively outlaw the vetting of government and corporate claims regarding the safety and stability of RFID technology, which will be rolled out into US passports and other identifying documents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is currently reviewing the text of the bill.
Sometimes hacking is necessary: who watches the watchmen? The bill will be discussed on Monday, Feb 23, and you can tune in to the webcast.
The EFF hasn't taken a formal position on the measure because attorneys haven't yet had time to analyze it thoroughly, but the group is concerned about its unintended consequences, said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at EFF. The nonprofit civil rights group is concerned that it will quash legitimate research (PDF) and land innocent people in jail.
When RFID companies and government proponents of the technology make claims about privacy protections, often the only way to disprove those claims is to test the technology in real-world demonstrations, Tien said.
California has a similar anti-skimming law, but there's an exception in there for research.