Recent trials involving attaching these tags to products have raised concerns about privacy, as information on the tag could be read long after the product was purchased. Tesco is also testing RFID tags in its DVD range at the Extra store in Sandhurst, Berkshire, in a trial that has received funding from the Home Office, while Asda has just completed a similar trial in Nottingham, there are reports that Marks & Spencer plans to include smart tags in clothes from this autumn. RFID tags continue to work indefinitely and so could also be used to track people's movements. Millions are being pumped into research and while much of it focuses on supply chain and just-in-time delivery tracking, there are increasing plans to use the tags in consumer goods as well as items like travel cards and even currency.
While campaigns are showing some success (in March, Benetton was also forced to announce it was not about to insert 15m RFID tags into its Sisley clothing range after an avalanche of consumer complaints), there are darker clouds on the horizon. The proposed EU Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive (see FIPR analysis) would specifically forbid Europeans from removing or deactivating Radio Frequency (RFID) tags embedded in clothing and other consumer devices! Recently 47 organisations have joined forces to launch the Campaign for an Open Digital Environment (CODE), which aims to fight the worst parts of the directive. The directive will also give intellectual property holders (ie companies) broad subpoena powers to obtain personal information about any EU citizen allegedly connected to an infringement of IP.
RFID in the news - Google search
EU Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive: