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    Providence Journal: R.I. governor vetoes bills limiting use of tracking devices

    The Providence Journal reports that the governor of Rhode Island has vetoed bills that would have limited the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology (which transmits data wirelessly from a chip or tag to a reader). Last month, the Providence Journal reported that there were privacy questions with a new E-Z Pass system (RFID-enabled toll payment system).

    Governor Carcieri has vetoed legislation that would have limited the use of electronic devices that track people as well as objects such as motor vehicles, something privacy advocates here and across the country are concerned about. […]

    The governor vetoed two bills that would have banned the use of RFID tags to track students and would have required police and other law enforcement agencies to get court orders before they could get access to toll data, similar to the requirements for other searches and seizures. (The data would have remained available without a court order for toll enforcement.)

    The governor’s veto messages to the General Assembly, made public Tuesday, objected to preventing local officials from using the tags to keep track of students. He cited a number of circumstances where he said the tags could be useful, such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks or even for routine events such as field trips. […]

    Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III, D-Providence, the sponsor of one of the bills, said the devices suggest “ ‘big brother’ watching over everyone.”

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