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Open Letter to Prevent the Installation of RFID tags in Vehicles

Posted by Maria Xynou at Jun 27, 2013 08:35 AM |
The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) has sent this open letter to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) to urge them not to intall RFID tags in vehicles in India.

This research was undertaken as part of the 'SAFEGUARDS' project that CIS is undertaking with Privacy International and IDRC


This letter is with regards to the installation of Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID) in vehicles in India.

On behalf of the Centre for Internet and Society, we urge you to prevent the installation of RFID tags in vehicles in India, as the legality, necessity and utility of RFID tags have not been adequately proven. Such technologies raise major ethical concerns, since India lacks privacy legislation which could safeguard individuals' data.

The proposed rule 138A of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, mandates that RFID tags are installed in all light motor vehicles in India. However, section 110 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act), 1988, does not bestow on the Central Government a specific empowerment to create rules in respect to RFID tags. Thus, the legality of the proposed rule 138A is questioned, and we urge you to not proceed with an illegal installation of RFID tags in vehicles until the Supreme Court has clarified this issue.

The installation of RFID tags in vehicles is not only currently illegal, but it also raises majors privacy concerns. RFID tags yield locational information, and thus reveal information as to an individual’s whereabouts. This could lead to a serious invasion of the right to privacy, which is at the core of personal liberty, and constitutionally protected in India. Moreover, the installation of RFID tags in vehicles is not in compliance with the privacy principles of the Report of the Group of Experts on Privacy, as, among other things, the architecture of RFID tags does not allow for consent to be taken from individuals for the collection, use, disclosure, and storage of information generated by the technology.[1]

The Centre for Internet and Society recently drafted the Privacy (Protection) Bill 2013 – a citizen's version of a possible privacy legislation for India.[2] The Bill defines and establishes the right to privacy and regulates the interception of communications and surveillance, and would include the regulation of technologies like RFID tags. As this Bill has not been enacted into law and India lacks a privacy legislation which could safeguard individuals' data, we strongly urge you to not require the mandatory installation of RFID tags in vehicles, as this could potentially violate individuals' right to privacy and other human rights.

As the proposed rule 138A, which mandates the installation of RFID tags in vehicles, is currently illegal and India lacks privacy legislation which would regulate the collection, use, sharing of, disclosure and retention of data, we strongly urge you to ensure that RFID tags are not installed in vehicles in India and to play a decisive role in protecting individuals' right to privacy and other human rights.

Thank you for your time and for considering our request.

Sincerely,

Centre for Internet and Society (CIS)

 

 

[1]. Report of the Group of Experts on Privacy: http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/genrep/rep_privacy.pdf

[2].Draft Privacy (Protection) Bill 2013: http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/privacy-protection-bill-2013.pdf

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