Wal-Mart to Put Electronic ID Tags in Clothing

Edward's picture
We warned this day would come.

The ACLU has long been concerned about the many abuses that can result from the widespread use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, from identity theft to the tracking and profiling of individuals for commercial and government interests. 

Today's Wall Street Journal features a front page article on how Wal-Mart plans to begin equipping individual clothing with RFID tags.  Clothing is just the beginning, however.  If successful, the tags will likely be a part of everything Wal-Mart sells.  Wal-Mart claims the tags allow them to better track inventory, but there is nothing to prevent the clothing from continuing to be tracked after it leaves the store. 

How? 

RFID tags can be read from very long distances. The potential for abuse grows as more and more products and devices are being created with these tags built in.  That's why Wal-Mart's announcement is so distressing.  The retail giant beats a path that other retailers and manufacturers tend to follow.

In the past few years, we've seen the addition of RFID tags in passports along with many states incorporating the technology into Enhanced Driver's Licenses to comply with the REAL ID mandate.




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