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corporate dominance | human & civil rights | technology

RFID's everywhere

Last week someone posted an article regarding RFID's in tires....guess what, they are everywhere, cosmetics, razors, underwear and you are being watched. Click the link to read the entire article.
According to a recent Chicago Sun Times investigative feature, Wal-Mart
and Procter and Gamble (P&G) have been found to be concealing high tech
tracking devices in their consumer products and hiding cameras in store
displays. The tracking devices, known as Radio Frequency Identification
(RFID), can be as small as a grain of sand, and, so far, they have been
detected in P&Gs Lipfinity products at Wal-Mart, as well as in Gillette
razors and Benetton clothes. The electromagnetic tracking devices can be
read through clothes and walls. P&G admits this was just a trial-run of
tracking devices it would ultimately like to use in all
products---serving as "the barcode of the future," and "strictly for
marketing research." Katherine Albrecht, the Director of Consumers
Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, said, "This trial is
a perfect illustration of how easy it is to set up a secret RFID
infrastructure and use it to spy on people." In addition to the "spy
chips", hidden cameras were also discovered in store displays, allowing
P&G to watch shoppers from hundreds of miles away. Wal-Mart does not
deny having prior knowledge of the hidden cameras and tracking devices,
given the fact that their employees set up those very same displays.

While it would be nice to disable the things... 25.Nov.2003 14:00


...I can't bring myself to care overly much about something which you must be within 18-inches of to read.

Broken cameras take no pictures 25.Nov.2003 15:14


"The tracking devices, known as Radio Frequency Identification
(RFID), can be as small as a grain of sand, and, so far, they have been
detected in P&Gs Lipfinity products at Wal-Mart, as well as in Gillette
razors and Benetton clothes."

This is so misleading as to be a virtual lie.

It makes it sound like the chips are in the products themselves. They're not; they're in the packaging. As you'd know if you'd actually read the material at the URL you posted. And the ones currently found in use are not as small as a grain of sand: they are quite easy to detect if you know what to look for. See:  http://www.boycottgillette.com/spychips.html .

The "spy chips" themselves don't take pictures. Instead they are sensed by cameras in their proximity to take pictures. Unlike James, I do find this worrying. We're moving all to quickly in the direction of a society based on total surveillance.

If the cameras are as easy to locate in stores as the one in the picture on boycottgilette.com, it should be fairly easy to do a little direct action on the camera lens with a bottle of white-out. Or maybe bring wire cutters and clip the wire to the thing. Or bring some sandpaper and ruin the lens. Or (depending on how chintzy they were on mounting the thing), relieve the store of their camera and smash it once you're outside. Just be sure to cover your face.


not sure where you read 18"...... 25.Nov.2003 15:16


And even if it was only 18 inches, isn't it great that this technology exists and that they plan on using it to track our shopping habits!!!


Q: What's the read range of these chips? Can they be tracked by satellite?

A: There are two types of tags: "passive" (no independent power source) and "active" (containing a battery or attached to one). Depending on a number of factors (antenna size, RF frequency, environmental conditions etc.) a passive tag can have a range of anywhere from 1 inch to 40 feet. Active tags can have a read range of miles or more. Most tags being considered for use in consumer products are passive.

give an inch...they'll take a mile 25.Nov.2003 15:23

john turnow

oh the audacity, the idiocy. how long before the surveilance equipment can track these little bugs at 18 feet?18 yards?18 miles? I think a sticker campaign to educate the public is in order. Maybe just a big, disgusting bloodshot eye on the products. I doubt any freedom-loving individuals will be "resigning themselves to the inevitability" of RFID products. Funny, isnt "inevitable resignation " the same lame-ass sentiment we're supposed to feel about corporate globalization? More reasons not to shop at these stores. Or if you do, wear a T-shirt that says "go ahead - BUG ME"

The Disease That Is WalMart 25.Nov.2003 15:45

Support Local Shops

Yet another good reason (if one were needed) to avoid shopping at WalMart.

beg borrow and steal 25.Nov.2003 15:45


if this technology is active in all products and or packaging, they can ultimately track where everything goes, regardless of how you obtained it.....

Chips in the products 25.Nov.2003 16:48


Hmmm, I may have been wrong. Based on the following Wired article:  http://www.wired.com/news/wireless/0,1382,58006,00.html/wn_ascii , it appears that Benetton might be permanently embedding tags in clothing.

"Benetton, which makes casual clothes and sportswear for men, women and children, said it would weave the technology into the collar tags of clothes that cost at least $15 to keep track of them as they ship."

So, what's a "collar tag"? The cloth tag in a shirt collar that most people never clip out? Or some sort of non-permanant paper or cardboard tag that everyone (except Minnie Pearl types) remove before wearing? The only thing a Google search on "collar tag" turns up are references to little metal tags with dog license numbers and rabies shot certificates on them.

Which, again, is not to say that the non-permanent tags are nothing to worry about; they're just not as big a worry as permanent, embedded ones. Which, so far as I know, don't exist. Yet.


Scary stuff 25.Nov.2003 19:25

Possibly Paranoid digital_apparition@freespeechpdx.com

I have been following the use of RFID's for about 3 months now. At first I thought, " well they can only be read from a few feet away". But as time passed I became more aware/paranoid of the threat involved.
So they can only be read form 18 inches:
-What if there were scanners built into every street corner?
-Built into the security scanners at the front door of stores?
-What if they had mobile units they walked around with on trash day to see the amount of thier (or thier competetors) product you used that week?
Now these examples are all what if questions, but the outcome of any large scale use of these chips is frightining to me. Or maybey I am just paranoid.

How to cook a frog! 26.Nov.2003 13:09


Do you remember the saying about how to cook a frog.
This is what is going on today, not only with the technology that you are
talking about.
Before long, could it be the first thing that is given to a newborn.
Along with the shots they say has to be given in order to protect them, if
it is not already being done.

My statements are not made to try too scare anyone, but state the obvious
One is that they view people as a commoditie that can be controled as they
They talk about the victims in thier wars as being collateral damage in a
way that is heinous to hear and think about.

How to cook a frog.
Corporate take over on a world wide scale.

They use the same steps to start a war in the middle east for reasons that
are obvious.
Of course they continue to lie about the reasons, but this should not be
any surprise to anyone with open eyes and ears.
This is where the term, being able to see the forest for the trees comes
Do we have the forsight to protect our rights from the power elite that only want more control of the masses.

You could say they use the old smoke and mirrors trick.
Take the focus of our nation off of what they don't want us to see, while they steal more of our freedom.

education starts retaliation 26.Nov.2003 16:46


It is plain to see that corporations and the state are going to smoothly and continuously utilize surveillance/tracking technologies in an effort to reduce humanity to easily controlled drones. Not paranoia, just facing the facts.

What can we do about it?I propose a three simultaneous approaches:

1. Education. The base, without which nothing else follows. We need to educate ourselves first, then the public. The broad issue of surviellance/tracking(S/T) needs to be brought to the attention of the wider public and integrated into every major issue, anti-war and anti -capitalist movements come readily to mind. Same with ecology and human rights. Lay it out clearly that liberty and human dignity, both are under attack and breakdown the technical aspects into layman's terms.

2. Countersurviellance. Watching the Police, mapping surviellance camra locations, engaging possible electronic countermeasurs if you have them and if you are politically active, maintaining a relaxed, but aware security culture. Let Big Brother know that we hate their shit and we are watching them too.

3.Direct Action. Previous posts have already hit on some ideas. Definitely building economic pressure against any corporation where there is evidence that they utilize these tags, as well as of course monkeywrenching (you know what to do ;-)

All in all we need to wake people up to the fact that S/T technologies are hardcore evil, are working their way into our society and must be resisted. The whole "how do you boil a frog" metaphor is very apt.

Two books that are good primers on surviellance in general that may be of use are:
The End of Privacy, how total surviellance is becoming a reality by Reg Whitaker ( The New Press)
Snitch Culture...how citizens are turned into the eyes and ears of the state by Jim Redden ( Feral House)

Smash Capital, Smash the State
In Solidarity,