[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 73 (Thursday, April 15, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20523-20525]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-8625]



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Part III





Federal Trade Commission





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Public Workshop: Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and 
Implications for Consumers; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 69, No. 73 / Thursday, April 15, 2004 / 
Notices

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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION


Public Workshop: Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and 
Implications for Consumers

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

ACTION: Notice announcing Public Workshop and Requesting Public 
Comment.

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SUMMARY: The FTC is planning to host a public workshop that will 
explore the uses, efficiencies, and implications for consumers 
associated with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The 
workshop will address both current and anticipated uses of RFID tags 
and their impact on the marketplace.

DATES: The workshop will be held on Monday, June 21, 2004, from 8:30 
a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Federal Trade Commission's Satellite Building, 
which is located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW., Washington, DC. The 
event is open to the public and there is no fee for attendance. Pre-
registration is not required.
    Requests to Participate as a Panelist: As discussed below, written 
requests to participate as a panelist must be received on or before 
Friday, May 7, 2004. Persons filing requests to participate as a 
panelist in the workshop will be notified on or before Friday, May 21, 
2004, if they have been selected. For further instructions, please see 
the ``Requests to Participate as a Panelist in the Workshop'' section 
below.
    Written Comments Filed in Paper or Electronic Form: Regardless of 
whether they are selected to participate, persons may submit written 
comments, in paper or electronic form, on the topics to be discussed by 
the panelists. Such comments must be received on or before Friday, May 
21, 2004. For further instructions on submitting comments, please see 
the ``Form and Availability of Comments'' section below. To read our 
policy on how we handle the information you submit, please visit http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and requests to participate as a panelist 
in the workshop should respectively refer to ``RFID Workshop--Comment, 
P049106'' or ``RFID Workshop--Request to Participate, P049106'' to 
facilitate the organization of comments and requests. A comment or 
request filed in paper form should include this reference both in the 
text and on the envelope, and the original and two copies should be 
mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission/
Office of the Secretary, Room 159-H (Annex G), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20580. Comments and requests containing 
confidential material must be filed in paper form, as explained in the 
Supplementary Information section. The Commission is requesting that 
any comment or request filed in paper form be sent by courier or 
overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the 
Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security precautions. Comments and requests to participate 
filed in electronic form (except comments containing any confidential 
material) should be sent, as prescribed in the Supplementary 
Information section, to the following email box: [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie K. Brof, Attorney, (206) 220-
4475, Northwest Region, Federal Trade Commission, 915 Second Avenue, 
Suite 2896, Seattle, WA 98174. Prior to the workshop, an agenda and 
additional information for attendees will be posted on the FTC's Web 
site, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshop/rfid.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Workshop Goals

    The emergence of RFID as a technology with seemingly unlimited 
applications has implications for business and consumers alike. RFID 
plays an important role in supply chain management, enhancing 
efficiencies through multiple stages of production as well as in the 
retail environment. Consumers may already be using RFID tags on the 
highway, to buy gas and groceries, and to protect their pets. RFID also 
has enormous potential as a public safety and anti-counterfeiting tool 
and, as the cost of RFID chips declines, new applications will 
undoubtedly be developed. In the meantime, suppliers to major domestic 
retailers and the Department of Defense are rushing to comply with 
mandates for RFID use, as are drug manufacturers, spurred by a recent 
Food and Drug Administration initiative calling for RFID tags on 
pharmaceuticals by 2007.\1\ As a result, investment in this technology 
is expected to jump from an estimated $90 million in 2003 to 
potentially more than $4 billion by 2008.\2\
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    \1\ Marc Kaufman, FDA Looks to Chips to Thwart Drug 
Counterfeiters, Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2004.
    \2\ RFID/IT Infrastructure worth $4.2 billion next decade, Feb. 
19, 2004, UsingRFID.com.
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    The FTC's workshop, ``Radio Frequency Identification: Applications 
and Implications for Consumers,'' will continue the Commission's 
efforts to address the impact on consumers of new and significant 
technologies. The workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about 
how RFID works and to highlight its numerous and rapidly growing 
applications. It will also address the privacy and security concerns 
associated with RFID use, particularly on an item-level basis. By 
bringing together RFID proponents, privacy advocates, and other 
interested parties, the workshop will facilitate discussion of core 
public policy issues and encourage the development of best practices 
that capitalize on the efficiencies generated by RFID without 
compromising consumers' privacy and security.
    Questions expected to be addressed at the workshop include:
    1. What is RFID all about?
     How does RFID technology work? How does it 
differ from UPC bar codes and other competing technologies?
     RFID is a popular term and technology. What 
kinds of systems are properly defined as ``RFID''?
    2. How is RFID technology currently being deployed?
     What are the significant commercial uses for 
RFID tags?
     What are the current or intended applications of 
RFID technology in the public sector, such as food and drug safety?
     How is RFID being used abroad? Are these uses 
different from or similar to domestic applications?
     What impact will these global applications have 
upon domestic uses?
    3. What is the future of RFID?
     What additional applications are envisioned over 
the next decade and beyond?
     What might constrain development of these 
applications?
    4. How are consumers impacted by current and/or anticipated RFID 
uses?
     What do consumers already know about RFID 
technology? Are there any studies that address consumer understanding 
of RFID?
     What benefits may accrue to consumers from RFID 
technology? Which benefits do consumers value most?
     Will RFID use in the supply chain impact the 
cost, availability, and quality of consumer goods and services? If so, 
in what way?
     What privacy and security concerns do current 
and anticipated uses of RFID technology raise? Are they different from 
concerns raised by other, more familiar technologies or devices?
    5. What approaches have led or will lead to use of RFID in a way 
that accommodates privacy and security concerns?
     How can communication between RFID proponents 
and consumer

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advocates be improved? Are there examples that can be followed?
     Do studies suggest that education can help 
protect consumers from threats to their privacy and security?
     Are there examples of ``best practices'' being 
implemented by business that address these issues?
     What legislative steps are underway 
domestically? Do these initiatives propose effective solutions? What 
are the consequences of a patchwork of state regulation?
     What technological or other solutions exist to 
remedy consumers' privacy and security concerns? How do the costs of 
these measures relate to their benefits?
     What is an appropriate role for the FTC at this 
juncture?

Requests To Participate as a Panelist in the Workshop

    Parties seeking to participate as panelists in the workshop must 
notify the FTC in writing of their interest in participating on or 
before Friday, May 7, 2004, either by mail to the Secretary of the FTC 
or by e-mail to [email protected]. Requests to participate as a 
panelist should be captioned ``RFID Workshop--Request to Participate, 
P049106,'' and should be filed in the same manner as prescribed for 
written comments in the ``Form and Availability of Comments'' section 
below. Parties are asked to include in their requests a statement 
setting forth their expertise in or knowledge of the issues on which 
the workshop will focus and their contact information, including a 
telephone number, facsimile number, and e-mail address (if available), 
to enable the FTC to notify them if they are selected. For requests 
filed in paper form, an original and two copies of each document should 
be provided. Panelists will be notified on or before Friday, May 21, 
2004, whether they have been selected.
    Using the following criteria, FTC staff will select a number of 
panelists to participate in the workshop. The number of parties 
selected will not be so large as to inhibit effective discussion among 
them.
    1. The party has expertise in or knowledge of the issues that are 
the focus of the workshop.
    2. The party's participation would promote a balance of interests 
being represented at the workshop.
    3. The party has been designated by one or more interested parties 
(who timely file requests to participate) as a party who shares group 
interests with the designator(s).

Form and Availability of Comments

    The FTC requests that interested parties, regardless of whether 
they are also seeking to participate as a panelist, submit written 
comments on the above questions to foster greater understanding of the 
issues. Especially useful are any studies, surveys, research, and 
empirical data. Written comments must be received on or before Friday, 
May 21, 2004, and may be filed in either paper or electronic form. 
Written comments should refer to ``RFID Workshop--Comment, P049106'' to 
facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form 
should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and 
the original and two copies should be mailed or delivered to the 
following address: Federal Trade Commission/Office of the Secretary, 
Room 159-H (Annex G), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20580. If the comment contains any material for which confidential 
treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper (rather than 
electronic) form, and the first page of the document must be clearly 
labeled ``Confidential.'' \3\ The FTC is requesting that any comment 
filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if 
possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the 
Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. 
Comments filed in electronic form (except comments containing any 
confidential material) should be sent to the following e-mail box: 
[email protected].
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    \3\ Commission Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be 
accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, 
including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must 
identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from 
the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the 
Commission's General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the 
public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
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    The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the 
collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as 
appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments, whether filed 
in paper or electronic form, will be considered by the Commission, and 
will be available to the public on the FTC Web site, to the extent 
practicable, at http://www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC 
makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals 
from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on 
the FTC Web site. More information, including routine uses permitted by 
the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 04-8625 Filed 4-14-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P