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Schwarzenegger vetoes RFID privacy protection

California governor dubs measures 'premature'

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation that would have created a security framework for the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in the state's official documents and identification cards.

The bill, called the Identity Information Protection Act of 2006, would have mandated basic protections against the abuse of RFID data with technologies such as encryption. It also would have made skimming, or the reading of RFID data without consent, a crime.

The bill, approved by the state's legislature in August, could have made California the first state in the nation to create a privacy framework for official RFID use. A variety of advocacy groups, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California to the Gun Owners of California, had backed the bill.

Schwarzenegger said he vetoed the law because he considered it premature. He noted that the federal government, under the Real ID Act mandating national standards for identification cards such as drivers' licences, has yet to release its own standards for security. With that in mind, Schwarzenegger said he didn't want California to create a set of requirements that would contradict the upcoming federal ones.

"In addition, this bill may inhibit various state agencies from procuring technology that could enhance and streamline operations, reduce expenses and improve customer service to the public and may unnecessarily restrict state agencies," he said.


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