Monday, April 11, 2005

RFID bill de-fanged

I stopped by Rep. Larry Phillips' office to check on HB 2893 requiring installation of RFIDs in Texas vehicle registration stickers, and got some good news. The part of the bill requiring RFIDs will be taken out in a committee substitute, his aide said -- the remaining will create a database of everyone who has liability insurance in Texas, but will not create any interface with RFIDs in cars. Apparently, MANY people contacted Phillips to complain.

The committee substitute takes away some of the Big Brother concerns, but not all of them. In their brand new blog, Consumer Scribbler, Consumers Union opposed creating such a database "
due to security concerns and because current insurance practices make it very difficult for some people to get the insurance that is mandated by law at anything like an affordable price."


Steve Bates said...

the remaining will create a database of everyone who has liability insurance in Texas, but will not create any interface with RFIDs in cars. - gritsforbreakfast

I have concerns even about this database, especially if any part of it is made available to the public, or even if it is not, but is available to people with other agendas than enforcing auto insurance laws. Here's why.

As you may suspect from my blog's name, I'm a Democrat, of the old-style, left-libertarian variety. I'm also an IT professional. In my day, I've matched public Democratic primary canvass data with public phone books to produce phone lists of Democrats for use by my local Democratic club in seven precincts. Yes, I had mixed feelings about the whole endeavor. But the most striking thing to me was how easy it was to do, all with publicly available data. It took me only a few hours to code, test and deliver the phone list.

What can a liability insurance database be linked to by a similar homegrown process? I leave it to your imagination. Let's just say that I have auto insurance, and I really don't like the idea.

Steve Bates
The Yellow Doggerel Democrat

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I wouldn't have mixed feelings about matching political phone lists like that, and indeed I hope you used one of the many available services instead of doing that by hand. That's been common practice ever since people had telephones. I agree with your concerns about the insurance database, though. ACLUTX is still registering against the bill, but with the RFIDs gone I probably won't wait around all day in committee to testify.

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anna said...

Your blog is great! It's hard to find blogs with good content and people talking about auto insurance these days! I have a public auto insurance blog if you want to come leave me a comment or two! May I put a link to this blog of yours on mine?