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Σάββατο, 7 Μαρτίου 2015

RFID Tagging

The METRO "Future Store"
Special Report
Part 3: Item-Level RFID Tagging




Background

By tagging individual products in the Future Store, both METRO and its partners are ignoring a position paper issued and endorsed by over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil liberties organizations in November 2003.

In that paper, organizations from around the globe, including CASPIAN, the ACLU, EPIC, EFF, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Privacy International, FoeBuD, and others, spelled out the societal and privacy risks posed by item-level RFID tagging.
We called for a moratorium on the use of RFID on consumer goods until its impact can be assessed and proper consumer protections can be put in place.

METRO has failed to acknowledge this worldwide call for a moratorium. When FoeBuD delegates brought the issue up during the tour, METRO representatives did not wish to comment.

The image above is reproduced from METRO's Future Store website.



METRO's Item-Level Tagging

Despite nearly a year of non-stop hype, on the tour I discovered that there are only four consumer products in the METRO Future Store tagged with RFID devices. These are:

  •   Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese

  •    Procter & Gamble Pantene Shampoo

  •    Gillette Mach 3 Razor Blades
  •   DVD's
I examine each one in turn.


Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese

The METRO Future Store has a refrigerated shelf containing Kraft Philadelphia brand cream cheese. Each package of cream cheese has an adhesive RFID label affixed to its side. (The tags are manufactured by Philips and operate at 13.56 MHz. According to METRO literature, the tags have a read range of 1.5 meters, or around 5 feet.)

The shelf itself serves as a reader device that periodically checks the contents by querying the tags.

When I closely examined the shelf, there was no indication to the naked eye that it contained any form of RFID reader. This means it is now possible to conceal RFID reader devices seamlessly into refrigerator shelves. If METRO had not put up signs mentioning the RFID devices, the average consumer would have no idea they were there.




Pantene Shampoo

In a separate part of the store, METRO had set up a single shelf to read the RFID tags affixed to Procter & Gamble Pantene Shampoo bottles. While P&G has experimented with hiding RFID tags in the flip tops of Pantene bottles in the past, the METRO tags (13.56 MHz Philips tags, as above) are attached to the outside bottom of the bottles.





Interestingly, the METRO representatives leading our tour expressed some concern over the technical capabilities of the shelf, indicating that it could only read products placed toward the front. To compensate, they had arranged the bottles only three deep, leaving the back of the shelf empty. (This can be seen somewhat in the photo below; the Pantene bottles are on the top shelf.)



As with the refrigerated cream cheese shelf, when I looked under the Pantene shelf, I could see nothing to indicate that it is a reader device. Again, if it weren't for the label on the shelf, a shopper would not know this shelf was RFID "live."

Gillette Mach 3 Razor Blades
Of course, no item-level RFID tagging trial would be complete without the infamous Gillette "smart shelf." CASPIAN has called on consumers to boycott Gillette for testing out this RFID-based, photo-snapping monstrosity on unsupecting consumers in the U.S. and Great Britain. Since it couldn't gain a consumer toehold in either of those countries (or in Australia, for that matter), Gillette is now crossing its fingers and hoping that Germany will be more docile.

It is unknown whether or not shoppers get a free mugshot snapped when they pick up the Gillette razor blades at the Future Store.
 

Note that, unlike the tags on the cream cheese and shampoo where the RFID tag is affixed to the outside of the package, the Gillette tags are inside the sealed cardboard boxes. This is because Gillette is inserting the hidden tags at its factory.

Aside from METRO's printed shelf tag that tells customers about the RFID trial, there is no label on the individual packages to indicate that they are RFID tagged, and no visible indication from the shelf that it is a reader device.

RFID Tags on DVDs
The final products in the METRO Future Store with RFID tags are the DVD's, CD's and videos. Each has an RFID label affixed to the back. Metro representatives explained that a shopper could take the DVD to a special viewing station and hold it up to a reader to play a short media clip.


Katherine Albrecht of CASPIAN peels a label off of a METRO "Future Store" DVD to reveal the RFID tag it contains.

Self Checkout Machine
METRO explained that there is no RFID reader at this self-checkout station or at any other checkstand or cash register in the Future Store.
With the assistance of Metro executives, we performed a trial "Self-checkout" and even scanned the loyalty card of one of the METRO employees in our trial. Again, no mention was made of the RFID tag hidden inside of the card.
(See "Scandal: RFID Tag Hidden in METRO's Loyalty Card" for more details on this hidden RFID tag.)



Continue the tour for other RFID applications at the Future Store -->

 http://www.spychips.com/metro/albrecht-tour-3.html

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