October 3, 2003

Coming Soon to a Supermarket Near You: Spy Chips

You know those "loyalty cards" you carry around to get a buck or two off at the supermarket? Well, the same folks who are watching everything you buy from the store, will soon be able to watch everything you handle in the store. Relax, what could possible go wrong? Who would possibly misuse the knowledge of what's in your hands and shopping cart? Well, there's a little list in the fascinating article Card Games by Joab Jackson in the Baltimore City Paper.

CASPIAN's McIntyre paints a picture of a consumer-friendly Orwellian nightmare in an RFID world. For instance, she postulates, it would be possible, if not probable, for some fiendish corporation or government agency to collect a list of every item you own, using the tag numbers of the items you purchased. Then it could track you down, merely by scanning the landscape for those tag numbers. With such tags sprinkled about your person, a retail store could identify you the moment you enter the front door, identifying you from previous purchases you're wearing or carrying. "Immediately you can be tracked," McIntyre says. "They will know where you're going and how long you linger. How much comparison shopping you do."

Posted by Van der Leun at October 3, 2003 9:31 AM
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