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RFID Tech Infiltrating a British Institution 123

Posted by kdawson
from the tea-and-tracking dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "According to silicon.com, Marks & Spencer — a department store as quintessentially British as tea & cake — is so pleased with its trial of RFID clothes-tagging that it's planning to roll it out nationwide. Considering that the UK's Information Commissioner recently made a lot of noise around the RFID track and trace tech, warning that Britain is 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society', Marks & Sparks seems to be setting itself up as a tweed-clad Public Enemy Number One."
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RFID Tech Infiltrating a British Institution

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  • Not so bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RealSurreal (620564) * on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:56PM (#16843694)
    Given that the RFID tags are on disposable paper tags I don't see the problem. If you're too dumb to take off the label before you wear your new clothes you deserve all you get.
    • No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house.

      Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits

      Actually, the woman who does the current M&S ads is probably trying to hypnotise us all through the TV. "This. Is. Your. M & S.......You. Will. Obey. Us"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ramble (940291)
        "No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house.

        Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits"

        Please tell me how M&S are going to build extremely powerful radio transcievers sensitive enough to pick out the signal from an RFID tag from several miles away in every single one of their stores and then triangulate your location without anyone noticing or M&S going bankrupt.

      • by McFadden (809368)
        No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house. Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits

        'Could' and 'will' are two entirely different concepts. I 'could' meet someone on the net, track down where they live, go round to their house and kill them. But it doesn't make the technology itself dangerous, and neither does it mean I 'will'.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Way too much tracking is going on and if the Sheeple don't get it then I guess the dumbing down of the commoners is working as planned.

        Imagine a day when a health insurance company refuses to cover you because your credit card or debit card record shows you buy alcohol containing beverages.

        Imagine a day that a rape victim's clothing habbits can be pulled up from marketing databases to show she "dresses provocatively".

        Imagine the day someone can piece together that there is a statistically significant chance
        • by slashnik (181800)
          All nothing to do with RFID, all the above can be tracked by credit cards and bar codes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jb.hl.com (782137)
            No. They can't.

            Retailers don't store credit/debit card numbers longer than necessary (i.e until the funds clear and are audited), and even then they aren't even linked in the backend with specific purchased products, just a total.
            • by slashnik (181800)
              OK agreed my mistake, I should have said store cards.
              But my main point is that how will RFID affect any of the points in the parent post
              • Re:Not so bad (Score:4, Interesting)

                by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@joe-b[ ]win.net ['ald' in gap]> on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @07:39PM (#16846056) Homepage Journal
                Where I work, store cards aren't either, they get processed with other payment methods and then ignored forever...

                Anyway, enough nitpicking, you're correct. RFID won't affect any of those things. All of this is FUD...if it helps reduce stock take time (stock take is where you count the stock of everything in the shop at once, which takes an ungodly amount of time-last I heard at my work it took them pretty much all night...) then I don't see how anyone (in retail at least) could NOT be in favour of an RFID system.
      • ... the woman who does the current M&S ads is probably trying to hypnotise us all through the TV. "This. Is. Your. M & S.......You. Will. Obey. Us"

        Sounds to me like it should be called S & M.

        (Oh come on, you knew this comment was coming.)

      • More interestingly, other stores can track what you have bought from M&S when you visit them quite easily. This could provide some very interesting data, especially if the scanner were in the counter since that would allow them to tie items purchased at their store to items purchased at M&S.
        • EPC RFID tags, as used in retail essentially just have a unique ID number for that tag. Other retailers wouldn't know what that tag was attached to. Without a database that says what tag went on what item, other retailers can't know what's in the shopping bag.

          It would only become useful if retailers worked together to collect and analyse the data.
      • by stunt_penguin (906223) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @07:44PM (#16846130)
        This is not just surveilence, this is hand picked, organic, creamy devonshire survelince, served with only the finest cuts of succulent datamining tools, and wrapped in delicious, healthy cost savings

        This is not just a police state, this is an M&S police state.
      • by nospam007 (722110)
        >No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house.
        ---
        Since I can _see_ you when you leave the store I can follow you too, without any electronic gadget, won't you need an invisibility cloak as well?

        >Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits.

        No need for electronics, the shops have been exchanging the data from the 'customer/fidelity/whatever crap-cards' for _years_, they know all about you.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:06PM (#16843906)
      Following your advice would allow the Marks & Spencer satellite to pinpint the exact location of your rubbish bin! No thank you, Mr. Big Brother apologist.
    • Re:Not so bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MartinG (52587) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:05PM (#16844866) Homepage Journal
      So it's okay for some random thieves standing in the doorway of the shop to scan my bags on my way out and know that I've just spend 900 quid on clothes, is it?

      Come on, have some imagination. This is wide open to abuse.
      • Re:Not so bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Macthorpe (960048) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:15PM (#16845024) Journal
        This is obviously easier than them looking at you carrying bags full of clothes and deducing you've spent a lot of money on clothes, right?

        I would say you need a far more active imagination to determine exactly how this is 'wide open to abuse', but to be honest you're paranoid enough for all of us already.
        • This makes me think of the the argument about "uncrackable" car systems in medium end cars [e.g. my Honda Accord Euro]. Of course they are crackable. But those having access to the technology would go for something a lot juicier than my 45000AUD car. I can't see anyone with this kind of equipment scanning from a medium end store - plus as someone else pointed out, they'd need to compromise their database as well, as the tag is just a MacID/PK for the lookup. Actually this entire thought is just plain silly.
      • Re:Not so bad (Score:4, Informative)

        by slashnik (181800) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:34PM (#16845282)
        The tag only has an ID, (think MAC address) you require access to the backend database only then can know what is in the bag.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Threni (635302)
        > So it's okay for some random thieves standing in the doorway of the shop to scan my bags on my way out and know that I've just
        > spend 900 quid on clothes, is it?

        Marks and Spencers isn't that expensive. If you're worried about it, take the stickers off.

        > Come on, have some imagination. This is wide open to abuse.

        You need a pretty good imagination to imagine someone wanting to guess who's bought what. If you want to rob people who've bought expensive clothes, why not pick a high-end/designer shop
    • by thePig (964303)
      Also, every RFID tag is supposed to have a kill code associated with it.
      You sent in the kill signal, and the RFID will be disabled permanently.
      Now, my guess is that the shops will all have these m/cs which will sent in the kill signal if the person buys the clothes.
      This is going to impact only the shoplifters - or the forgetful ones.
      So, I do not get what the big deal here is about.
      • by dadragon (177695)
        They won't send the kill command unless they want to retag everything that gets returned.
  • what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bunions (970377) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:58PM (#16843746)
    They're just using RFID to prevent shoplifting. Buy the item, take the tag off - beats the hell out of those giant plastic things you see now. Can someone explain to me how this is bad? I mean, for people who aren't shoplifing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      They're just using RFID to prevent shoplifting.

      If you had bothered to RTFA instead of jerking your knee, you'd have read that they're using it for inventory control.

      • Re:what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bunions (970377) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:12PM (#16844040)
        > If you had bothered to RTFA instead of jerking your knee, you'd have read that they're using it for inventory control.

        This is in fact true. Still, the point remains: how does this contribute to a surveillance society again?
        • by PHPfanboy (841183)
          If I choose to buy an item from a retailer that is my business, it's my money after all. M&S have no right to know what I have bought, this is a clear breach of my privacy. P.S. Anybody else notice the big cameras on the ceiling?
          • by bunions (970377)
            > M&S have no right to know what I have bought

            uh, am I missing something? The article states M&S is a department store. M&S has to know what you bought, because you bought it from them.
    • If they were to treat them in the same manner as the current anti-theft devices and remove the buggers at the till I'd be more than happy for their use. I just don't like the idea that the marketing men might get it into their heads that tracking what I'm carrying into or out of their stores is ok. Also, I fail to see how a tag that you can easily remove is going to stop any except the most stupid of shoplifters.
      • by Gordonjcp (186804)
        The existing detaggers work on the big flat stickers by zapping the electronics inside. This is why it says not to put credit cards on them. I don't see why it should be any different for RFID tags.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      Actually they're just used for inventory.. the article mentions nothing of loss prevention.

      The RFID tags are contained in throwaway paper labels attached to, but not embedded in, a variety of men's and women's clothing items in stores.

      Someone could simply rip off the label before exiting the store if they wanted to shoplift.

      Anyway, I think people's objection is that eventually the RFID tags will become commonplace. But instead of placing them in easy-to-remove paper lables, they will be embeddeded in the f
      • by bunions (970377)
        > Actually they're just used for inventory.. the article mentions nothing of loss prevention.

        Right. That other guy noted that. I am suitably abashed.

        > I'm not saying that will happen, although I think someone will try, or that there's any legitimate risk of people being tracked using these things, but that's "how this is bad" in a nutshell.

        And you could use a kitchen knife to kill someone. That doesn't make kitchen knives bad things. This seems like a completely legitimate use of RFID technology.
        • by StikyPad (445176)
          Right, I believe this is legitimate.. some people just see it as a slippery slope. I think it's just a regular slope and we have to make sure it doesn't go to far. I think there will be a backlash as soon as someone tries to hide these things. They'll subsequently be removed, and as a direct result, the earth will keep spinning.
  • Britain is already there, the place is infested with video cameras.
    • by jb.hl.com (782137)
      Only on streets. Not in peoples' houses.

      As soon as that happens on a wide scale, THEN we can talk about a surveillance society.
      • by Ixne (599904)
        Only on streets. Not in peoples' houses.

        As soon as that happens on a wide scale, THEN we can talk about a surveillance society.


        So basically, tracking people from their houses to where ever they go and back again isn't a surveillance society, just as long as we don't know when they're using the toilet, is that it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jb.hl.com (782137)
          It's a public place. A person could feasibly stand out in the open and look at you doing something, therefore you have no reasonable right to privacy. As soon as you enter a private premises though, you have all the privacy the owner of that premises (be they you or someone else) wishes you to have.

          I thought this was common sense...
          • by cr0sh (43134)
            Have you thought about the fact that a camera can record, and that recording can last forever? Whereas with a person watching you, they soon after forget or misremember? Couple that with the fact that these recording can be put into a database, and the fact that a database can be altered (purposefully or by accident/error) without leaving traces of that alteration...

            You basically end up with recordings residing in a error-prone computer system, which, even when there aren't any problems, keeps a record of y

            • Laws don't operate retrospectively, at least in the UK.

              And in any case, the grandparents point can apply just as much to camcorders. When you are in a public place you have no right nor expectation of privacy as the the matter of you're being there or what you are visibly doing.

              This is just luddite fear of the new.
              • by cr0sh (43134)
                Laws don't operate retrospectively, at least in the UK.

                Neither do they do so here in the US...

                However, you are assumming here that this hypothetical future government cares one whit about what things were in the past with the former benign government. Such governments have risen in the past, and subjugated people to torture and imprisonment based on views they held under a previous, more open government.

                Lastly, while a camcorder can do the same, unless the owner of the camcorder has the power of a standing

                • You've been watching too many movies.
                  • by cr0sh (43134)
                    Actually, the last movie I watched was "A Scanner Darkly" - while I can't say it didn't influence any of my views, I do know that I have held these views for a very long time.

                    I don't watch a lot of movies, nor do I get my opinions from them. What I do, mostly, is read, as well as interact in the outside world. I also think about how today's world mirrors historical precedents. I know for a fact what governments can and do to people, and how they can instantly change on a whim sometimes (from bad to good to

          • The problem with that argument is that there's a difference between theoretically being visible to some bystander, and being watched all the time wherever you go. To take the argument to its logical conclusion, would you object if the police decided to park outside your house and follow you personally throughout the day, on the theory that you have no expectation of privacy?
      • by s-meister (580465)
        There are occasions when they are in peoples' homes, albeit not on a wide scale. One of the ways that local law enforcement are trying to cut burglaries in specific areas is by installing covert surveilance cameras to gather evidence. Here's a link: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/search/display.var.9279 10.0.spying_on_the_burglar.php [yorkpress.co.uk]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gordonjcp (186804)
      Britain is already there, the place is infested with video cameras

      ... and in the US, *every phone call* is monitored and recorded. Let's see, that's a tough call, cameras in public areas where you have no expectation of privacy anyway, or every single phone call you make tracked and recorded for later examination. Hmm, it's a tough one but I'll take the first one!
      • by 56ker (566853)
        Whereas the press in the States might have made more of a big deal about the recording of phone calls - under Echelon - it's been happening in the UK and plenty of other countries for years anyway under existing intelligence agency arrangements (as a previous poster points out) since around WWII.
        • by Gordonjcp (186804)
          ... except that in the UK, it's a *criminal offence* to even introduce wiretap evidence into a court case. Seriously. Even if you're the police, if you're caught at it, you're *fucked*.
    • Yes, the British rather like them. I don't mean the tin-foil wearing slashdot reading Brit. But the average man in the street Brit. Their reaction to a car park where there have been a lot of thefts or a street where there is a lot of drunken fighting or mugging often is "Couldn't they put some CCTV cameras up?"

      Common sense versus paranoia.
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:59PM (#16843778) Homepage
    Number One is a department store? That would explain where Number Two and Number Six got their suits.
  • It's removeable (Score:5, Informative)

    by dafz1 (604262) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:59PM (#16843784)
    "The RFID tags are contained in throwaway paper labels attached to, but not embedded in" the clothing.

    Buy garment, remove RFID tag. Hopefully, it will be on one of the easily removed tags that you cut off anyway.
  • What is the name of the store? Marks & Spencer or Marks & Sparks? Slashdot surely has gone downhill if there are inconsistencies even in the summary!
  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i l.com> on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:06PM (#16843904)
    From this article:
    Considering that the UK's Information Commissioner recently made a lot of noise around the RFID track and trace tech, warning that Britain is 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society'


    But just a couple hours ago, there was another article [slashdot.org] warning that
    ...the country's oversight agency now puts that figure at $24 billion, and two Members of Parliament say the project is "sleepwalking toward disaster"...


    Perhaps someone should look into this sleepwalking. I'm sure there's some kind of treatment.
  • by biglig2 (89374) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:06PM (#16843922) Homepage Journal
    ...all my clothes are from M&S... all UK geek's clothes are from there, except our batman t-shirts - because M&S is where British people shop when they want to buy a pair of nice trousers without actually knowing anything about fashion...frightened to move... can my corduroy trousers see what I'm typing.....erk.
  • It's for stock control and shoplifting prevention. They're not monitoring their customer's movements or anything in the slightest bit sinister.

    Go and find something more useful to post, eh?
    • Not to mention that Old Navy already has these. I've cut several out of shirts from there already.
      • Nevermind, with a little bit of digging, I've found these are the same typical security tags you'll find in the more expensive books at Barnes & Noble, etc. They're not actually RFID. Yet.
  • I say yes. Boycott M&S. Surveillance society, yeah. Disgusting. ;)
  • by GreenEggsAndHam (317974) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:14PM (#16844074)
    The only slippery slope I'm seeing is Slashdot's growing tendency for alarmist article summaries.
    • by Ixne (599904)
      They threatened your family with wet noodle lashings unless you posted that, didn't They?
  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:18PM (#16844134)
    What in the heck are you talking about? They're trying to keep people from stealing stuff, and the tag comes off when you get it home. How is this "sleepwalking into a survellience society"? Not every use of RFID technology is Big Brother come to fruition.

            Brett
    • by kraut (2788)
      > What in the heck are you talking about? They're trying to keep people from stealing stuff, and the tag comes off when you get it home.
      How long before thieves realise you can rip they RFID tag off, since it's on a disposable paper label?

      Nope, it's about inventory control, that's why they use it on items "with complex sizing". As in "Do we have any size 42 suits with extra long legs left"?
  • Many others have commented on this already, but this announcement shouldn't be a problem, and for two reasons: The tags come off, and they are only monitoring what is being sold, not what is coming in the shop.

    Because the tags are not embedded, it's not a lasting concern. Remove the tags, you are wearing any other garment. I fail to see the worry with this implementation.

    And, because the monitoring is simply for automated stock taking, there is no ulterior motive. Anyone that has worked in the R

    • by psema4 (966801)

      Nice post. I agree with almost all of it, but one line caught my attention and I'd like to play on it a bit. =)

      "Clothing manufacturers may want to do that to find out which part of their global marketplace needs to be targeted the most"

      I fail to see however how RFID would work in this scenario. Do you see cloting manufacturers placing RFID sensors in major cities throughout the world? Is this an after-market opportunity - sell manufacturers/distributers/govt's access to your global RFID scanning net

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:29PM (#16844308)
    They are anti-theft tags. We've had those for years, you just remove them when you buy the thing.

    The problem we have in Britain is with cameras, they are multiplying like a virus. One street in London
    I am watching currently has 82 cameras (I counted them), when it reaches 100 I'm writing an article for the
    newspaper. Some spots on the street are covered by up to 4 cameras. This is an ordinary public space.

    I hope we become more like the French and people start going out with shotguns, rocks and paint to
    vandalise and destroy these creepy nuicance devices which are proven not to reduce crime but lure
    people into false security so that next time you get mugged or raped you merely get to have everyone see
    it on YouTube.

    Also they are a vast waste of taxpayers public money which is goung to line the pockets of these
    so called "security companies". The money would be much better spent putting more police out on
    the streets.
    • A better prank:

      Wait until the street is empty. Climb up to just under the camera and take a picture.

      Attach the picture to the camera so the camera sees only the picture. They'll just record an empty street all day. (That's why you waited for the street to be empty.)

      Hey, it worked on the A-Team.
      • by jb.hl.com (782137)
        Attach the picture to the camera so the camera sees only the picture. They'll just record an empty street all day.

        Or darkness and/or fuzziness, because your picture blocks out most of the light and is too close to the camera to be in focus.
    • Eighty four? Those are just the cameras you can see. In a few years small cameras will be very cheap and all of them will be invisible.
    • ... the parent is "insightful". I'd have thought "ignorant" was more to the point.

      There's just so much wrong with this analysis of CCTV in Britain that I don't know where to begin ... maybe I won't bother, I've got to go to work in the morning so it'd better be bedtime.
    • by gonzoxl5 (88685)
      I have a problem with local youths setting fires and breaking into the flats where I live, they hang around on street corners smoking joints and generally being intimidating to all who want to pass peacefully by, the shoplift from the local convenience stores and are abusive to the storekeepers.

      Meanwhile the local high street and restaurants/petrol stations are plagued by organised crime backed oriential guys with rucksacks full of cheap/bootleg DVDs.

      I would like to live a normal, law abiding life with my w
    • these creepy nuicance devices which are proven not to reduce crime

      Where is it proven not to reduce crime? Crime in the UK has been falling since 1995 (down 44%), which is roughly the same sort of period that CCTV has been becoming commonplace. I'm not saying there is causation there, but there is correlation. So where's your evidence that the CCTV cameras are not having a crime reducing effect?

    • by jafac (1449)
      The money would be much better spent putting more police out on
      the streets.


      You put police on the streets, and then you have to pay them enough money to live in the UK, you have to pay their healthcare premiums, you have to pay their pensions, and if any of them end up playing slappy-face with a punk, then the state gets sued for 5 million pounds.

      Cameras are so much less expensive. /cheap-labor-conservative
  • Marks & Spencer -- a department store as quintessentially British as tea & cake -- seems to be setting itself up as a tweed-clad Public Enemy Number One.

    They clothe their businesses in the UK? That is weird.
  • Marks & Sparks seems to be setting itself up as a tweed-clad Public Enemy Number One.

    No, they aren't. Really. Go into a Marks & Spencer store, and ask customers at random if they are concerned about RFID, or even what it is.

    About 90% of them will have never even heard of it, and a further 9.9% or so will know what it is but not care.

    • by jb.hl.com (782137)
      Wait until the Daily Mail or some other shitrag publishes an alarmist story (much like this one) in a day or two...
    • by slashnik (181800)
      And they will be pro RFID when they understand that the store is more likely to have their (all) sizes in stock.
    • by r3m0t (626466)
      "No, they aren't. Really. Go into a Marks & Spencer store, and ask customers at random if they are concerned about RFID, or even what it is.

      About 90% of them will have never even heard of it, and a further 9.9% or so will know what it is but not care."

      Go into a typical restaurant and ask the customers at random if they are concerned about DRM/Net Neutrality, or even what it is.

      About 70%/99.9% of them will have never even heard of it, and a further 15%/0.01% or so will know what it is but not care.

      People
  • by Anonymous Coward
    RFID technology used in inventory like this is all on the supply-side for inventory tracking and control. The tags are passive devices. You'd have to walk near an actual RFID reader for the tag to do anything. If M&S were to collaborate with the UK gov't and put an RFID reader in every intersection in the country, then I'd worry -- otherwise, not so much.

    Furthermore, the only thing most current tags can "tell you" even if you are near a reader is "hey, my number is (insert string of numbers here)". At b
  • by niks42 (768188) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:08PM (#16844914)
    RFID tags on my clothing wouldn't bother me. Tracking my mobile phone wouldn't bother me. Store cards that track my purchases wouldn't really bother me. Cameras that can recognise my face, my vehicle index .. well they kind of bother me. How about my car insurance company wanting to track my vehicle movements so they can gauge my risk?

    (I would at some times welcome a way of having an ID card - have you tried opening a bank account lately, with having to prove you are who you say you are, and you live where you say you live ? Waiting two weeks while they run $DEITY knows what checks on you ?)

    Having to go through a criminal records check to get a job as an IT architect in London .. that doesn't bother me that much. However, when all this data starts to join up - now I start to get scared. Maybe I have been watching too many movies, but the prospect of data being joined together is far more scary - the whole being much, much greater than the sum of the parts. The technology exists - all it would take is a bit more 'anti-terror' legislation and a good ETL and ta-da!

    Add to that a little identity theft, the possibility of others' criminal activity corrupting your data; your digital footprint being messed up with cross-references and data duplicates that shouldn't be there; laws that assume guilt instead of proving it; laws that can put you away for two years for forgetting a password; and bugger me, it is time to leave the country.

  • Marks & Sparks have been having such huge problems due to them not being trendy for a long time, it's all in a name and they have certainly made some progress. But from the millions M&S had years ago, they need less bad press and more reasons to shop there. Though their food is quite yummy.
  • Shelf Stackers Dream (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Stevecrox (962208)
    As a part tme job to get me through uni I work in woolworths, I really like the idea of RFID tags for two reasons. Firstly the security tags stores use are a major pain, I can lose a lot of time when new shop workers either forget to remove them or diasble them. Some of the tags DO damage clothing, having the ability to simply put the tag in the barcode which you can rip off would be great, we'd stop damaging some items of stock, my time wouldn't be wasted and we would cut done of shop theft since not ever
    • by Filthio (1013357)
      The good news: your job now takes half the time! The bad news: your employer just sacked 50% of their shelf-stackers! The worse news: they sacked another 10% of them to pay for the fancy new RFID system... Unless you own and run your own shop this isn't going to give you more time to look out of the window, believe me ;)
  • The uses are clear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:37PM (#16845326) Journal
    These are handy for stock control.

    The potential for abuse is a lot more abstract and hypothetical. They could work out that people are buying certain items together, but most superstores are already collecting that sort of information. These are largely anonymous so there's a complete lack of personal information. Exactly what they're spying on is a bit vague.

    However, we do have some pretty competent privacy legislation in this country. If RFID tags do become a problem I'd imagine the legislation will be expanded.
  • I believe most are more worried about abuse. They may set it up as a anti theft device for now... but years from now some idiot decides to add nice features to it. Like um ask the patrons for their phone number as they scan the tags. Many stores do this now. They now know whom bought the item. That is if you was dumb enough to give a REAL phone number. Anyone know the phone number of the inventor of this RFID? *evil grin"
  • I attended a conference on RFID for my company, and M&S were one of the speakers. The only purpose of the RFID tags are to tell them at a glance how many of each item is still in stock so that they can restock shelves more quickly. Even if they wanted to track individuals, they couldn't - the tags are category level rather than item level. In fact, the only people at the entire conference doing item level tracking was Microsoft in their hardware products.
  • Jesus, nothing like a stereotype eh?

    Anyway, im off to tear a strip off the butler before I pop in and visit
    the Queen.

    Chin chin,

    M

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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