Monday, September 18, 2006

Secret RFID Testing in the US and in Mexico

Levi Strauss & Co has put RFIDs into clothing in two undisclosed locations in Mexico, according to a April 27, 2006 press release on the Spy Chips website. To wit:
New information confirms that Levi Strauss & Co. is violating a call for a moratorium on item-level RFID by spychipping its clothing. What's more, the company is refusing to disclose the location of its U.S. test. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a controversial technology that uses tiny microchips to track items from a distance. These RFID microchips have earned the nickname "spychips" because each contains a unique identification number, like a Social Security number for things, that can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves. Over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil liberties organizations have called for a moratorium on chipping individual consumer items because the technology can be used to track people without their knowledge or consent. Jeffrey Beckman, Director of Worldwide and U.S. Communications for Levi Strauss, confirmed his company's chipping program in an email exhange with McIntyre, saying "a retail customer is testing RFID at one location [in the U.S.]...on a few of our larger-volume core men's Levi's jeans styles." However, he refused to name the location. "Out of respect for our customer's wishes, we are not going to discuss any specifics about their test," he said. Beckman also confirmed the company is tagging Levi Strauss clothing products, including Dockers brand pants, at two of its franchise locations in Mexico... Read the rest here.
Who's next? What's next? And what about books? What shall happen to us all when RFIDs get into books? But Orwell knew the answer to that. Ojo: the Spanish version of Spy Chips is out in Spanish: Chips Espias.