Exactly one year after launching an extensive Europe-wide public consultation on radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, the Commission has unveiled on 15 March 2007 its proposals for an RFID strategy for Europe. The Commission, in particular, proposes to address the privacy concerns of citizens to boost consumer confidence and Europe's position in a market experiencing 60% growth globally.

"From fighting counterfeits to better healthcare, smart RFID-chips offers tremendous opportunities for business and society," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding when presenting the Commission's strategy today at CeBIT, the world's largest annual IT fair in Hanover, Germany. "Last year I said here at CeBIT that we should stimulate the use of RFID technology in Europe whilst safeguarding personal data and privacy. The Commission's Europe-wide public consultation in 2006 identified a strong lack of awareness and considerable concern among citizens. The Commission's RFID strategy will therefore seek to raise awareness, stress the absolute need for citizens to decide how their personal data is used and ensure that Europe removes existing obstacles to RFID's enormous potential."

RFID – also called smart radio tags – is a technology which involves tags that emit radio signals as identifiers, and devices that pick up the signal and identify the tags. It has a wide range of applications and does not require direct contact or line-of-sight scanning.

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