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Calif. plan to ban radio tags in IDs clears hurdle

Lawmakers approve bill to temporarily prohibit RFID tracking tags in driver's licences.

A California bill that would temporarily prohibit the use of tiny radio devices in driver's licenses and other state-issued forms of identification won approval on Tuesday from the the State Assembly's Judiciary Committee in a 6-3 vote along party lines. The bill, SB 682, moves next to a floor vote in the Assembly, which last year derailed a proposal for restrictions on the conmmercial use of such devices, also known as radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips.

California Sen. Joe Simitian, a Democrat from Palo Alto, introduced the bill, called the Identity Information Protection Act of 2005, in February following public outcry over a Sutter County school's plan to outfit elementary students with ID badges containing RFID chips. The Senate approved the bill in May. It has since been signficantly amended, replacing the permanent ban with a 3-year "time-out" and allowing immediate use of the technology in certain cases.