Patt Morrison for July 23, 2010

Save money, live better, track everything—Wal Mart’s new traceable tags

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Walmart is using RF sensors on their clothing to prevent theft

Wal-Mart stores across the country are rolling out new traceable radio-frequency tags, or "smart labels," to keep tabs on merchandise. With just the wave of a scanner wand, store supervisors will be able to account for all the merchandise in a store, and will be able to track any item that's gone missing. Along with that upgraded RFID technology, however, retailers will also be able to track merchandise you've bought. Privacy advocates think this technology could lead to unscrupulous types driving by consumers' homes to scan garbage and discover what they've goods they've stashed inside. They also warn that new scanners would enable retailers to scan and track customers' ID cards. Similar technology has led to iPhones being rescued after burglary, so is this technology a necessary evil or a step towards Big Brother?

Guest:

Katherine Albrecht, founder of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) and author of the book Spychips, which argues against RFID technology

Dave Hogan, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations for the National Retail Federation


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