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'Right to the silence of the chips' in the new EC Communication

1 July, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: „Recht auf das Schweigen der Chips“ in der neuen Mitteilung der EC

A new communication from the European Commission to the other European bodies on the RFID (radio-frequency identification) titled "Internet of Things - An action plan for Europe" was made public on 18 June 2009.

The communication builds on the work of the Recommendation on the use of RFID published on 12 May 2009 after a fifteen-month period of consultations. The communication includes a 14-point action plan to address the main issues raised from the RFID usage as discussed in the working group and in the consultation period.

One of the most important action point is the launch of "a debate on the technical and legal aspects of the 'right to silence of the chips', which has been referred to under different names by different authors and expresses the idea that individuals should be able to disconnect from their networked environment at any time."

This is one of the main actions of the plan in order to allow the usage of the RFID while respecting privacy and the protection of personal data, two fundamental rights of the EU.

The communication underlines that these rights will have an influence on how the Internet of Things is conceived but, at the same time, its development will affect the way we understand privacy.

The European Commission also announced that in 2010 it intends to publish a broader Communication on privacy and trust in the ubiquitous information society.

The Communication makes it clear that "simply leaving the development of Internet of Things to the private sector, and possibly to other world regions is not a sensible option." Thus, the concept of governance of the RFID usage will be initiated and promoted by the Commission in international fora in order to establish a set of principles and to set up an "architecture" with a sufficient level of decentralised management.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament: Internet of Things - An action plan for Europe (18.06.2009)

EU lays out plans for the "internet of things" (18.06.2009)

EDRi-gram: RFID and Informed Consent - Using and removing of RFID functionality (5.12.2007)

EDRi-gram: EU supports RFID with proper protection of consumers' privacy (20.05.2009)



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