Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Reject Hidden Tracking Devices

Following is my email to my NH State Representatives regarding HB686-FN, "AN ACT relative to the regulation of tracking devices."

HB686 is scheduled to come to the floor on Wednesday of this week. Please defeat the Commerce Committee's majority ITL recommendation, and vote it OTP.

HB686 would require labels on consumer products that contain RFID, and prohibit electronic tracking. An informed consumer is an empowered consumer. There is no legitimate justification for intentionally hiding, with even the temporary sanction of government, the presence of such technology (in an apparent attempt to render it so ubiquitous before the public is fully aware of it that it's then impossible to reject).

HB686 would prohibit the state from using RFID in driver's licenses and other identity documents. As with REAL ID, when government succeeds in overstepping its mandate and saying, "You will," the voter has lost the choice to say "no." Mandating such potentially easily abused -- and abusive -- technology for government purposes should trouble every free citizen.

HB686 would make it a felony to forcibly implant an RFID chip in someone. How is this even an issue? There is no greater privacy violation than forcibly entering someone's body. Indeed, a volatile term for that concept comes to mind...

Additionally, NH citizens have no obligation whatsoever to involuntarily improve cost-effectiveness (by not "bucking the trend" of blind acceptance) for companies that choose to implement such potential post-sale tracking measures. If these companies believe they'll lose money, then they must also believe that consumers will reject RFID chips if they only know about them. Isn't the answer right there?

No matter to what potentially beneficial uses RFID is or may eventually be employed, these uses must be out in the open. Hiding them -- hiding the potential to surreptitiously track unwitting carriers -- is fraud. Hiding them with government's imprimatur is unconscionable. Citizens deserve knowledge and choice, as well as assurance that government, itself, will have no inescapable opportunity to invade their precious and increasingly vulnerable privacy. I support all these goals. I hope you do, too. Please pass HB686.

And thank you, Rep. Kurk.

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