Tesco, the largest retail chain in the United Kingdom, and apparently the third largest in the world, seems to be set to increase its controversial item level RFID tagging trials of DVDs from two stores to ten.
According to a statement from Tesco read out on Tuesday night's BBC Newsnight TV programme, by Paul Mason, their Business Correspndent:
"Suggestions that Tesco might use this technology to track products once they've been purchased, thereby invading customers' privacy , are simply wrong. In fact it would be illegal in Europe. In fact the "radio barcode" is only activated when it is in close proximity to the reader, located in the store, or distribution centre."
Tesco are being "economical with the truth" in their statement, as these RFID tags do not just work with readers in Tesco stores, they work and can be tracked via their "unique" individual serial numbers by any compatible reader, in rival stores using the same technology, or readers with extended range antennas in the hands of various snoopers.
As we have pointed out before, the current "radio barcodes" which is what Tesco are calling their RFID tags, are too electronically simple to incorporate any encryption technology and they are not "killed" at the checkout.
"Tesco is expanding a yearlong trial tracking on-shelf availability of DVDs from two stores to 10. The U.K. retailer earlier this month ordered 4,000 RFID readers and 16,000 antennas from Tyco Fire & Security's ADT Security Services."
RFID tags should be kept in the warehouse and logistics chain, and not allowed to pollute the infospace with their anti-privacy pollution beyond the retail checkout.
Consumer privacy groups such as CASPIAN are calling for a boycott of Tescos RFID tagged products (c.f. www.BoycottTesco.com), who despite their claims to be in consultation with consumer groups, are simply ignoring the RFID position paper supported by many privacy and consumer groups, including those in the UK such as notags.co.uk