Radio-Frequency ID Bill Is Killed In Committee

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A legislative committee Friday killed a controversial bill that would have commissioned a study into the state’s possible use of radio-frequency identification technology – or RFID – to catch motorists who fail to register their cars, or drive without insurance, or don\’t comply with emission-testing requirements.

Concerns about government intrusion on citizens’ privacy – and the increasing influence of “Big Brother” – led the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee to vote 25-18 to reject Senate Bill 288, \”An Act Requiring a Study of Radio-Frequency Identification for Motor Vehicle Registration.\”

The concerns were voiced most prominently by Republicans including Rep. Pam Sawyer of Bolton and Sen. Rob Kane of Watertown, but lawmakers from both parties voted against the measure.

Democratic leaders of the committee had urged approval of the bill, calling it a “work in progress” and saying they wanted to advance it as a courtesy to its most vocal backer, Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington.  Maynard, co-chairman of the legislative transportation committee, was not at Friday’s meeting. The transportation committee had approved the bill 37-0 last month.

RFID technology allows tracking of cars or any object to which a small tag can be attached containing a computer chip.  An RFID tag could be printed on a paper sticker that is  affixed inside a windshield, and when it passes within range of a \”reader\” device\’s electromagnetic radio waves, it instantly gives up its data — such as who owns the vehicle, and whether it is in compliance with state requirements for registration, insurance, or emissions.  The information goes into an electronic database.

Maynard had said the use of RFID technology potentially could bring in tens of millions of dollars in state revenue by catching motor vehicle scofflaws.  However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut\’s director, Andrew Schneider, said it could lead someday to \”a true surveillance society of 24/7 mass tracking.\”

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4 thoughts on “Radio-Frequency ID Bill Is Killed In Committee

  1. Milan

    Then, the next step is to can ALPRAZOLAM (automated license plate readers) which already do the same thing but with infrared instead if RF. IR costs the public a lot more money and already does everything RFID opponents used to defeat this bill.

    Let’s stay fair and honest…not discriminate based on which frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum is used.

  2. Milan

    Then, the next step is to can ALPR (automated license plate readers) which already do the same thing but with infrared instead if RF. IR costs the public a lot more money and already does everything RFID opponents used to defeat this bill.

    Let’s stay fair and honest…not discriminate based on which frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum is used.

  3. Thomas

    I am relieved it was killed but astonished that 18 elected officials voted for it. Wait for this issue to be brought up again, like the red light cameras. Corporations are patient and government will sell our freedom to the highest bidder.

    And if Democrats indeed advanced this as a “courtesy” to Senator Maynard–that is horrifying. How about a little “courtesy” given to Constitutional protections? To the people who died establishing this nation? To the voters you represent?

  4. James C. Walker

    This is great news for anyone interested in privacy and freedom of travel without interference – things that everyone should value because they are central to our individual rights.
    Congratulations to the Committee and to everyone who contacted their legislators to urge defeat of this unwarranted intrusion into privacy and freedom.
    People might look at our website and see all the other issues where we advocate for the motorist.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, MI

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