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TESCO tags Cambridge shoppers

Jupiter | 09.08.2003 21:25 | Technology | Cambridge | London

A group of concerned residents informed shoppers at TESCO in Cambridge today that they may be part of an experiment. When customers pick a pack of Gillette razor blades off the shelf, they will be tagged with an electronic device. Not only that. The hidden chip communicates with a camera system that stores your picture in a database!

The chip is the little black dot
The chip is the little black dot

The pilot project is run at Tesco in Cambridge
The pilot project is run at Tesco in Cambridge

The TESCO supermarket is using RFID tags on certain items. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips are tiny electronic circuits which can be embedded in almost anything you can think of: packaging, clothing, electronics, vehicle parts etc. The device is triggered by a radio signal on a specific frequency. Each RFID tag has a unique identification number and will respond by transmitting that number. The tag’s unique number can then be looked up in a database to find out any information that the owner of the system cares to attach to it.

TESCO is experimenting in this store with RFID tags on GILLETTE packs. If this trial is successful a broader range of goods will be tagged. This system, apparently inoffensive, can easily intrude in your personal privacy. Tags can be buried in your clothes and consequently you would be transmitting without your knowledge personal information that can be retrieved by anyone who has the proper equipment.

“One potential problem with RFID tags is that they can still work long after the product has been bought. If the tags become as ubiquitous as the manufacturers would like, people could be bristling with the chips in clothes and possessions. Anyone from police to potential thieves could work out exactly what they carry.” (The Guardian July 13, 2003)

Do you want to help STOP this electronic dog collar in its infancy? If we act now, we can keep this electronic tagging from spreading to other products and shops. It’s easy:

• Raise your concern about the RFID at the store management or write a letter to TESCO (
• Don’t shop at TESCO and tell them why you won’t shop there anymore (Freephone: 0800 505555 or email
• Don’t buy GILLETTE products and tell them about it (Tel: 0118 987 5222)
• If you must buy GILLETTE products, ask a shop assistant to remove the chip before you leave TESCO
• Ask local MP Anne Campbell to raise this issue in Parliament (



Display the following 3 comments

  1. Don't buy Gillette anyway! — Thomas J
  2. I ate a poisoned Twix bar bought from Tesco — Akbar Khan
  3. Disarm RFID tags. — TAUROS