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Privacy Commissioner seeks feedback on implications of using RFID technology in the workplace

OTTAWA, March 4, 2008 —The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, issued a call today for feedback to enrich the debate on the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems in the workplace.

“While there is no doubt this technology can be used to improve productivity and enhance security, we are nevertheless concerned that it can also be used as a surveillance tool, undermining the dignity and autonomy of workers,” said Commissioner Stoddart. “In applying RFID systems in the workplace, we believe it is necessary to strike a balance between the benefits to employers and the privacy of employees.”

The Privacy Commissioner has prepared a consultation paper setting out recommended privacy practices for organizations that seek to harness the benefits of RFID technologies. The paper provides a brief overview of RFID technology and the privacy and security risks involved in the use of these systems. It explains how federal privacy laws could apply to RFID systems and discusses reasonable expectations of privacy in the workplace. Finally, the paper outlines steps organizations should take before proceeding with RFID applications.

The Privacy Commissioner welcomes feedback from the public on this consultation paper. In particular, she is inviting stakeholders affected by RFID in the workplace, such as employers, employees, trade unions and developers of RFID technology, to answer the consultation questions. The discussion paper is available on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner website.  The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2008.

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For more information, contact:

Colin McKay
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Telephone: (613) 995-0103

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