July 27, 2010
Walmart to Embed Electronic Tracking System Into Clothing
We know who you are and we know what you wear. At least, this will be the case for all Walmart customers from August 1st, when the retail giant begins embedding electronic ID tags into their clothing items. The Wall Street Journal has reported that this will be the first step taken by Walmart towards implementing a wide-scale real-time tracking system for controlling inventory and preventing theft. The way it works is suppliers add removable radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags to clothing items at the point of manufacture. Walmart workers then scan the garments with electronic readers to build a database with information of all sizes and ranges available. This will allow them to keep a closer, more accurate eye on their storeroom and shop floors.
However, when combined with customers’ credit card information, data from the RFID tags could also allow retailers to keep a more watchful eye on their customers’ behavior and movements, and identify them the next time they step into their premises. Someone alert the privacy police.