An effort in the California Legislature to prohibit the use of
radio-frequency identification devices, or RFID, in driver’s licenses has died.
The devices aren’t used by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, but they
The bill failed to receive a final vote on the Assembly floor prior to
the end of the legislative session Aug. 31. The Senate previously approved it.
RFIDs are tiny chips that provide information by emitting radio
signals. The devices are used in a variety of ways, including keeping tabs on
store inventories, providing access to buildings and assessing toll-road fees
Sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, the bill would have barred
the California DMV from issuing, renewing, duplicating or replacing a driver’s
license or identification card if it uses “remotely readable radio waves” to
transmit personal information or if personal information stored on the card
could be read remotely.
Steve Haskins, a spokesman with the DMV, told The Associated Press the department has no
plans to use RFIDs in driver’s licenses.
Simitian said he introduced the bill to make sure that never changes
because he is concerned the devices could be misused. He cited overzealous
officials who violate privacy rights, and identity thieves, stalkers and others
gaining access to personal information, The
Despite concerns, opponents say the technology is “safe, efficient, and
cost effective, and enhances the safety and security for users.” They also say
security measures can be taken to protect against potential abuse.