FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Consumer Group Unveils RFID Labeling Legislation
June 11, 2003
CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) today unveils federal legislation calling for mandatory disclosures on consumer products containing radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. The "RFID Right to Know Act of 2003" would protect consumers against unwittingly purchasing products embedded with remote surveillance devices.
RFID chips are tiny tracking devices that transmit product information by radio waves. These devices can be smaller than a grain of sand and can be hidden in consumer products, making the products remotely trackable. For example, the chips can be embedded in ATM cards, sewn into the seams of pants, or woven into shirt labels without their owners' knowledge.
"RFID technology is moving forward at an incredible pace, and there is an urgent need for this legislation," says CASPIAN Founder and Director Katherine Albrecht. "Companies have already begun embedding these chips in products people buy today. For all you know, these chips could be in your home now. The problem is you have no way of knowing."
Albrecht paints a picture of the implications: “Imagine walking into a store and having a computer take an inventory of everything you're wearing--right down to the size and color of your underwear. Store employees could even read the contents of your wallet to determine whether you're a desirable customer or someone they want to ignore based on your financial value. The possibilities for discrimination are quite disturbing.”.
CASPIAN has already called for a moratorium on the use of RFID chips in consumer products until the societal implications can be addressed. However, in light of the fact that Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, is forging ahead with the technology, legislation to protect consumers is urgently needed.
In addition to requiring mandatory labeling to alert consumers to the presence of RFID chips, the legislation would make it illegal for companies to link the chips with personally identifying information.
The "RFID Right to Know Act of 2003" was authored for CASPIAN by Zoe Davidson of the Boston University Legislative Clinic. The full text of the legislation and a summary are available at the CASPIAN web site.
Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999. With thousands of members around the world and in all 50 U.S. states, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.
For more information, visit CASPIAN's website at http://www.nocards.org
Katherine Albecht, CASPIAN Founder and Director: (877) 287-5854
For additional information, see:
Wal-Mart to throw its weight behind RFID
CASPIAN overview of privacy concerns associated with RFID technology: