AOH :: PT-1236.HTM

RFID protesters target Wal-Mart, demand new laws and regulations

RFID protesters target Wal-Mart, demand new laws and regulations
RFID protesters target Wal-Mart, demand new laws and regulations

I wrote in a column two years ago that there can be some privacy 
concerns with RFID tags on the packaging of products that customers take 
home with them: 

But do we really need more laws and regulations? Sure, they'll start at 
labeling. But over time politicians and bureaucrats will have an 
incentive to set standards, hold hearings, complain about business 
practices, and perhaps even set up some FCC-like agency that will 
discourage investment in the many _good_ uses of RFID.

The anti-RFID'ers are also prone to anti-technology hysteria: 

It seems to me that Wal-Mart shoppers aren't idiots. They rationally 
shop there because the prices are low. If they don't like RFID tags on 
the boxes of an HP printer, well, they'll throw the box away. Or take 
their business to Costco instead.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Photos of New Hampshire anti-RFID Wal-Mart protest are now online
Date: Wed, 09 Nov 2005 10:30:22 -0500
From: Katherine Albrecht  

November 9, 2005

Beleagered Retailer Faces Criticism for Item-level Tracking Agenda

"In New Hampshire we live free. We don't want R-F-I-D!" was the chant
Saturday as 26 New Hampshire residents protested at a Bedford, New
Hampshire, Wal-Mart store. The beleagered retailer has been drawing
criticism from privacy groups because of its RFID tagging of products
like Hewlett-Packard printers in violation of a moratorium called for by
over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil liberties

"It's time they face the music," said Joel Rauch, founder of the newly
formed New Hamphire branch of the consumer privacy group CASPIAN.
"Consumers will not tolerate being spied on through the things they buy,
wear, and carry. We're making that clear here today, and we're taking
that sentiment all the way to the State House."

CASPIAN members have taken their concerns about RFID technology to the
New Hampshire state legislature where a bill requiring labeling of
RFID-tagged items is progressing through committee. Passage of this
legislation would be a victory for privacy advocates, but it could spell
trouble for Wal-Mart and other retailers who worry that consumers will
boycott stores that carry items tagged with RFID. The industry's own
studies show the vast majority of consumers object to RFID technology on
privacy grounds.

Wal-Mart is expected to be especially hard hit by consumer-driven
anti-RFID efforts since it has invested millions of dollars in the
technology and taken a very public stance in favor of it. "This
controversy comes at a time when Wal-Mart can least afford it," said
Katherine Albrecht, Founder and Director of CASPIAN. "They are coming
under fire from all sides, for many aspects of their operations. This
will hurt their attempts to position themselves as a more upscale
shopping experience and put their publicized bad behavior behind them."

Saturday's event followed close on the heels of a similar protest in
Dallas, Texas, in mid-October that drew over 70 protesters. Albrecht
promises that more events are being planned.

Photos of the New Hampshire protest are available online at: 


NH CASPIAN the New Hampshire chapter of CASPIAN (Consumers Against
Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering), a grass roots consumer
group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999. With thousands of
members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN
seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their
privacy and to encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the
retail spectrum.

Katherine Albrecht ( 877-287-5854 
Liz McIntyre ( 877-287-5854 
Joel Rauch ( 

CASPIAN Consumer Privacy // // 

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