Respond to the European Consultation on Library RFID

As you may remember, our co-op is working on various RFID (radio tags instead of barcodes, basically) extensions for Koha. One of the main ethical concerns about RFID is privacy – if done wrong, it could become quite easy to see what books from which libraries someone has in their bag, without their consent and without physical contact. If borrower cards themselves become RFID-enabled, you might even obtain their personal data pretty easily, although I’m not aware of any libraries in practice who put any personal data onto the borrower card tags yet.

On 12 May 2009, the European Commission Recommended privacy and data protection in all RFID applications. That was followed by EU Mandate M436 for the European Standards Organisations (ESO) to develop standards to support that recommandation. Phase 1 started last March and has delivered a document RFID-DTR07044v006-draft (PDF). Phase 2 will build on that to produce formal standards for signage, privacy impact assessments and so on.

EDItEUR are replying to that draft on behalf of the library sector and have sent me their draft response RFID_LibrarySectorCommentsDTR-07044-1 as a PDF.

It’s worth opening those two side-by-side to read through. If you can help improve the combined response, please send feedback to the email address in the Library Sector PDF by 6 September. If you’d like to make your own response, you have until 15 September to reply to the ESO PDF using their template.

By the way, does the ESO PDF look jaggy to anyone else? It looks like ghostscript can’t anti-alias the text.

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