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State bill would turn RFID researchers into felons

State bill would turn RFID researchers into felons
State bill would turn RFID researchers into felons 

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
20th February 2009 

The sponsor of a controversial bill before the Nevada legislature has 
promised to introduce amendments after security experts and civil 
libertarians warned it would make felons of people studying privacy 
threats involving RFID, or radio frequency identification.

In its present form, Senate Bill 125 (PDF) would make it a felony for 
anyone to possess, read or capture the personally identifying RFID 
information of others without their consent. Without changes, the 
legislation would prevent the testing and demonstrating of RFID 
weaknesses in a state that hosts Defcon and Black Hat, the biggest 
hacker conference and one of the biggest security conferences 

State Senator David Parks, the original sponsor of the bill, said he 
intends to amend the bill on Monday to exempt people carrying out 
"legitimate research." Security experts say that is important because 
the bill as it's now written would seriously impinge on their ability to 
test the security of RFID in real-world scenarios.

"The ability to be able to take this RFID technology into the real world 
and actually show it to people is pretty crucial because there is a lot 
of misunderstanding about the technology and people need practical 
demonstrations of things in order to understand the weaknesses in it," 
said Chris Paget, who last month demonstrated a low-cost mobile platform 
that can clone large numbers of unique RFID tags embedded in US passport 
cards and next generation drivers licenses. "It definitely needs an 


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