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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - News) plans to roll out sophisticated electronic ID tags to track individual pairs of jeans and underwear, the first step in a system that advocates say better controls inventory but some critics say raises privacy concerns. Starting next month, the retailer will place removable "smart tags" on individual garments that can be read by a hand-held scanner. Wal-Mart workers will be able to quickly learn, for instance, which size of Wrangler jeans is missing, with the aim of ensuring shelves are optimally stocked and inventory tightly watched. If successful, the radio-frequency ID tags will be rolled out on other products at Wal-Mart's more than 3,750 U.S. stores.
I would be sorry to be a criminal.
If the idea that corporations might want to use RFID tags to spy on individuals sounds far-fetched, it is worth considering an IBM patent filed in 2001 and granted in 2006. The patent describes exactly how the cards can be used for tracking and profiling even if access to official databases is unavailable or strictly limited. Entitled “Identification and Tracking of Persons Using RFID-Tagged Items in Store Environ ments,” it chillingly details RFID’s potential for surveillance in a world where networked RFID readers called “person tracking units” would be incorporated virtually everywhere people go—in “shopping malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, elevators, trains, airplanes, restrooms, sports arenas, libraries, theaters, [and] museums”—to closely monitor people’s movements.
According to the patent, here is how it would work in a retail environment: an “RFID tag scanner located [in the desired tracking loca tion]... scans the RFID tags on [a] person.... As that person moves around the store, different RFID tag scanners located throughout the store can pick up radio signals from the RFID tags carried on that person and the movement of that person is tracked based on these detections.... The person tracking unit may keep records of different locations where the person has visited, as well as the visitation times.”
Electronic article surveillance (EAS) is a technological method for preventing shoplifting from retail stores or pilferage of books from libraries. Special tags are fixed to merchandise or books. These tags are removed or deactivated by the clerks when the item is properly bought or checked out. At the exits of the store, a detection system sounds an alarm or otherwise alerts the staff when it senses active tags. For high-value goods that are to be manipulated by the patrons, wired alarm clips may be used instead of tags.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.
Originally posted by Hypntick
Just saw this myself. From what i've read this will not be on their security tag. It's going to be in the clothing size label itself. Wouldn't suggest buying much of anything from wal-mart, however if you're concerned you can nuke the tags in the microwave before throwing away.
Originally posted by Hedera Helix
reply to post by Romantic_Rebel
... it was the copier ink and a USB headset from the same department that set of the alarm. Not quite sure what happened... but my guess is that something probably wasn't programmed correctly into the computer with either of these items when they were originally put on the shelf.
The USB headset already had an electronic tag and it still didn't clear properly at the checkout.
As far as your printer ordeal, the printers they were supposed to have in stock will only usually hold one on the shelf depending on the size of the store. Most larger stores will hold maybe two or three, but unless it is a popular model, rarely five at a time. The security tags are deactivated by magnets in the register pad, but not always are they thorough enough to get them all. Sometimes the warehouse puts security tags in the strangest of places, like the side of a box or package instead of the bottom.