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Back tracking: RFID bill retained for more study.

You probably have them in your cell phone, and maybe even your loafers--tiny radio chips a warehouse and a big box store can scan to track each retail item, from loading ramp to display shelf to purse. They cut losses to theft They control inventory. But they also raise concerns among privacy advocates.

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One of those advocates, Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, is the sponsor of House Bill 686, which would force a store to put a "buyer beware" label or symbol on every product that contains one of those radio frequency identification--or RFID--chips.

But he wasn't too unhappy that the House voted Jan. 16 to retain the bill in the Commerce Committee for further study. That will give an existing commission on the problem lime to find a compromise between retailers and civil libertarians.

A related bill in 2006 set up a study commission that has worked on the issue for more than a year and will finish its work in December. In its initial form, that legislation, HB 203, would have cracked down on the use of radio chips.

HB 686 also would have banned the slate from using RFID technology to follow a person's movement; except for I?son parolees with a legitimate tracking bracelet. Private citizens could never monitor each other without permission either. A nursing home would need to get the OK from a legal guardian to use a radio chip to protect a patient with dementia.

"This isn't sci fi. The technology is here now, and everybody recognizes its benefit," Kurk said. "We don't want to stiffle industry. The recommittal vote will let us take another look at the whole issue."

--CHRIS DORNIN/GOLDEN DOME NEWS
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Title Annotation:NEWS & ANALYSIS: in brief; radio frequency identification
Author:Dornin, Chris
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:283
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