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RFID Tech Infiltrating a British Institution

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the tea-and-tracking dept.

123

An anonymous reader writes, "According to silicon.com, Marks & Spencer — a department store as quintessentially British as tea & cake — is so pleased with its trial of RFID clothes-tagging that it's planning to roll it out nationwide. Considering that the UK's Information Commissioner recently made a lot of noise around the RFID track and trace tech, warning that Britain is 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society', Marks & Sparks seems to be setting itself up as a tweed-clad Public Enemy Number One."

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Not so bad (5, Insightful)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843694)

Given that the RFID tags are on disposable paper tags I don't see the problem. If you're too dumb to take off the label before you wear your new clothes you deserve all you get.

Re:Not so bad (1)

aristolochene (997556) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843782)

No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house.

Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits

Actually, the woman who does the current M&S ads is probably trying to hypnotise us all through the TV. "This. Is. Your. M & S.......You. Will. Obey. Us"

Re:Not so bad (4, Interesting)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844272)

"No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house.

Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits"

Please tell me how M&S are going to build extremely powerful radio transcievers sensitive enough to pick out the signal from an RFID tag from several miles away in every single one of their stores and then triangulate your location without anyone noticing or M&S going bankrupt.

Re:Not so bad (1)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844668)

No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house. Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits

'Could' and 'will' are two entirely different concepts. I 'could' meet someone on the net, track down where they live, go round to their house and kill them. But it doesn't make the technology itself dangerous, and neither does it mean I 'will'.

Re:Not so bad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16845272)

Way too much tracking is going on and if the Sheeple don't get it then I guess the dumbing down of the commoners is working as planned.

Imagine a day when a health insurance company refuses to cover you because your credit card or debit card record shows you buy alcohol containing beverages.

Imagine a day that a rape victim's clothing habbits can be pulled up from marketing databases to show she "dresses provocatively".

Imagine the day someone can piece together that there is a statistically significant chance you are suffering from cancer, depression, or AIDS because of the various purchases you have made over the last year.

Re:Not so bad (1)

slashnik (181800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845330)

All nothing to do with RFID, all the above can be tracked by credit cards and bar codes.

Re:Not so bad (2, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845860)

No. They can't.

Retailers don't store credit/debit card numbers longer than necessary (i.e until the funds clear and are audited), and even then they aren't even linked in the backend with specific purchased products, just a total.

Re:Not so bad (1)

slashnik (181800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845960)

OK agreed my mistake, I should have said store cards.
But my main point is that how will RFID affect any of the points in the parent post

Re:Not so bad (3, Interesting)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846056)

Where I work, store cards aren't either, they get processed with other payment methods and then ignored forever...

Anyway, enough nitpicking, you're correct. RFID won't affect any of those things. All of this is FUD...if it helps reduce stock take time (stock take is where you count the stock of everything in the shop at once, which takes an ungodly amount of time-last I heard at my work it took them pretty much all night...) then I don't see how anyone (in retail at least) could NOT be in favour of an RFID system.

Re:Not so bad (1)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845722)

... the woman who does the current M&S ads is probably trying to hypnotise us all through the TV. "This. Is. Your. M & S.......You. Will. Obey. Us"

Sounds to me like it should be called S & M.

(Oh come on, you knew this comment was coming.)

Re:Not so bad (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845908)

More interestingly, other stores can track what you have bought from M&S when you visit them quite easily. This could provide some very interesting data, especially if the scanner were in the counter since that would allow them to tie items purchased at their store to items purchased at M&S.

Re:Not so bad (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16850472)

EPC RFID tags, as used in retail essentially just have a unique ID number for that tag. Other retailers wouldn't know what that tag was attached to. Without a database that says what tag went on what item, other retailers can't know what's in the shopping bag.

It would only become useful if retailers worked together to collect and analyse the data.

Re:Not so bad (4, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846130)

This is not just surveilence, this is hand picked, organic, creamy devonshire survelince, served with only the finest cuts of succulent datamining tools, and wrapped in delicious, healthy cost savings

This is not just a police state, this is an M&S police state.

Re:Not so bad (1)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846502)

Constable Clitoris ate one of those!

Re:Not so bad (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16850486)

Just spilt fresh coffee over my new keyboard!

I will never be able to listen to one of those adverts ever again without a smirk!

Re:Not so bad (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16850002)

>No, but you could be tracked all the way back to your house.
---
Since I can _see_ you when you leave the store I can follow you too, without any electronic gadget, won't you need an invisibility cloak as well?

>Or M&S could track you as you visit other stores, to build up a picture of your shopping habits.

No need for electronics, the shops have been exchanging the data from the 'customer/fidelity/whatever crap-cards' for _years_, they know all about you.

Typical head in the sand response (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16843906)

Following your advice would allow the Marks & Spencer satellite to pinpint the exact location of your rubbish bin! No thank you, Mr. Big Brother apologist.

Re:Typical head in the sand response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16845428)

> satellite to pinpint the exact location of your rubbish bin!

But that's the very idea: now They know where you live!

Re:Not so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844180)

You deserve to get rounded up in cattle cars and shipped to labor camps by the upcoming despotic one-world government?

Re:Not so bad (4, Insightful)

MartinG (52587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844866)

So it's okay for some random thieves standing in the doorway of the shop to scan my bags on my way out and know that I've just spend 900 quid on clothes, is it?

Come on, have some imagination. This is wide open to abuse.

Re:Not so bad (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845024)

This is obviously easier than them looking at you carrying bags full of clothes and deducing you've spent a lot of money on clothes, right?

I would say you need a far more active imagination to determine exactly how this is 'wide open to abuse', but to be honest you're paranoid enough for all of us already.

Re:Not so bad (1)

funkdancer (582069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16847544)

This makes me think of the the argument about "uncrackable" car systems in medium end cars [e.g. my Honda Accord Euro]. Of course they are crackable. But those having access to the technology would go for something a lot juicier than my 45000AUD car. I can't see anyone with this kind of equipment scanning from a medium end store - plus as someone else pointed out, they'd need to compromise their database as well, as the tag is just a MacID/PK for the lookup. Actually this entire thought is just plain silly.

Re:Not so bad (3, Informative)

slashnik (181800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845282)

The tag only has an ID, (think MAC address) you require access to the backend database only then can know what is in the bag.

Re:Not so bad (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845652)

> So it's okay for some random thieves standing in the doorway of the shop to scan my bags on my way out and know that I've just
> spend 900 quid on clothes, is it?

Marks and Spencers isn't that expensive. If you're worried about it, take the stickers off.

> Come on, have some imagination. This is wide open to abuse.

You need a pretty good imagination to imagine someone wanting to guess who's bought what. If you want to rob people who've bought expensive clothes, why not pick a high-end/designer shop? Why not just steal the clothes yourself from inside the store than outside? There'll be no-one to physically resist you/punch you in the mouth, and if you get caught you're going to get a far less severe sentence for shoplifting than robbing someone.

Re:Not so bad (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845826)

Also, every RFID tag is supposed to have a kill code associated with it.
You sent in the kill signal, and the RFID will be disabled permanently.
Now, my guess is that the shops will all have these m/cs which will sent in the kill signal if the person buys the clothes.
This is going to impact only the shoplifters - or the forgetful ones.
So, I do not get what the big deal here is about.

Re:Not so bad (1)

dadragon (177695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845880)

They won't send the kill command unless they want to retag everything that gets returned.

This is... (1)

Nemetroid (883968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843702)

...FUD at it's finest. Seriously, this has nothing at all to do with the surveillance society that we all fear.

what? (5, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843746)

They're just using RFID to prevent shoplifting. Buy the item, take the tag off - beats the hell out of those giant plastic things you see now. Can someone explain to me how this is bad? I mean, for people who aren't shoplifing.

Re:what? (2, Informative)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843884)

They're just using RFID to prevent shoplifting.

If you had bothered to RTFA instead of jerking your knee, you'd have read that they're using it for inventory control.

Re:what? (4, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844040)

> If you had bothered to RTFA instead of jerking your knee, you'd have read that they're using it for inventory control.

This is in fact true. Still, the point remains: how does this contribute to a surveillance society again?

Re:what? (1)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16849470)

If I choose to buy an item from a retailer that is my business, it's my money after all. M&S have no right to know what I have bought, this is a clear breach of my privacy. P.S. Anybody else notice the big cameras on the ceiling?

Re:what? (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844462)

If they were to treat them in the same manner as the current anti-theft devices and remove the buggers at the till I'd be more than happy for their use. I just don't like the idea that the marketing men might get it into their heads that tracking what I'm carrying into or out of their stores is ok. Also, I fail to see how a tag that you can easily remove is going to stop any except the most stupid of shoplifters.

Re:what? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845762)

The existing detaggers work on the big flat stickers by zapping the electronics inside. This is why it says not to put credit cards on them. I don't see why it should be any different for RFID tags.

Re:what? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16850498)

Well they might want the asset number for goods that the customer returns.

Re:what? (2, Informative)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844684)

Actually they're just used for inventory.. the article mentions nothing of loss prevention.

The RFID tags are contained in throwaway paper labels attached to, but not embedded in, a variety of men's and women's clothing items in stores.

Someone could simply rip off the label before exiting the store if they wanted to shoplift.

Anyway, I think people's objection is that eventually the RFID tags will become commonplace. But instead of placing them in easy-to-remove paper lables, they will be embeddeded in the fabric, or other materials/products, to be used as you describe.

I'm not saying that will happen, although I think someone will try, or that there's any legitimate risk of people being tracked using these things, but that's "how this is bad" in a nutshell.

Re:what? (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845302)

> Actually they're just used for inventory.. the article mentions nothing of loss prevention.

Right. That other guy noted that. I am suitably abashed.

> I'm not saying that will happen, although I think someone will try, or that there's any legitimate risk of people being tracked using these things, but that's "how this is bad" in a nutshell.

And you could use a kitchen knife to kill someone. That doesn't make kitchen knives bad things. This seems like a completely legitimate use of RFID technology. It harms no one.

Re:what? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846548)

Right, I believe this is legitimate.. some people just see it as a slippery slope. I think it's just a regular slope and we have to make sure it doesn't go to far. I think there will be a backlash as soon as someone tries to hide these things. They'll subsequently be removed, and as a direct result, the earth will keep spinning.

sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843762)

Britain is already there, the place is infested with video cameras.

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844168)

Only on streets. Not in peoples' houses.

As soon as that happens on a wide scale, THEN we can talk about a surveillance society.

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (1)

Ixne (599904) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844342)

Only on streets. Not in peoples' houses.

As soon as that happens on a wide scale, THEN we can talk about a surveillance society.


So basically, tracking people from their houses to where ever they go and back again isn't a surveillance society, just as long as we don't know when they're using the toilet, is that it?

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (2, Interesting)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844488)

It's a public place. A person could feasibly stand out in the open and look at you doing something, therefore you have no reasonable right to privacy. As soon as you enter a private premises though, you have all the privacy the owner of that premises (be they you or someone else) wishes you to have.

I thought this was common sense...

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844786)

There is no reasonable expectation that the -same- person will be continually looking at you and recording everything, either.

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845402)

Have you thought about the fact that a camera can record, and that recording can last forever? Whereas with a person watching you, they soon after forget or misremember? Couple that with the fact that these recording can be put into a database, and the fact that a database can be altered (purposefully or by accident/error) without leaving traces of that alteration...


You basically end up with recordings residing in a error-prone computer system, which, even when there aren't any problems, keeps a record of your public business for life. Sure, today it might mean nothing (relatively) to the controllers that you dropped your spent ciggarette or gum on the sidewalk (compared to making sure they get a good record of that mugging - because, you know, a record will set everything right, right?) - but the memory is still there, waiting - waiting for the day when it retroactively becomes a felony for which they can lock you up for at a later date (or a later government) - or worse, use it as a coercion method to get you to talk or act about something else (tell us who he is or we'll throw you in the slammer for this little thing you did 10 years ago - by the way, we'll check in on you next week again, too!).

If you think these cameras and related systems somehow do something to stop or prevent crime, and furthermore if you think they (and their records) can't or won't be misused in the future by a future "corrupt" system - you have blinders on, my friend...

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16846726)

Sure, today it might mean nothing (relatively) to the controllers that you dropped your spent ciggarette or gum on the sidewalk (compared to making sure they get a good record of that mugging - because, you know, a record will set everything right, right?) - but the memory is still there, waiting - waiting for the day when it retroactively becomes a felony for which they can lock you up for at a later date (or a later government) - or worse, use it as a coercion method to get you to talk or act about something else (tell us who he is or we'll throw you in the slammer for this little thing you did 10 years ago...

If you end up with a government that would actually consider it reasonable to lock you up for retrospective littering or threaten to do so to coerce you, you will already be living in a police state/dictatorship where they could lock you up or coerce you for any made-up reason or none at all. So they wouldn't need to or bother with messing about trying to find a real minor offence (like littering) from the camera data from years ago.

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (1)

s-meister (580465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16849792)

There are occasions when they are in peoples' homes, albeit not on a wide scale. One of the ways that local law enforcement are trying to cut burglaries in specific areas is by installing covert surveilance cameras to gather evidence. Here's a link: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/search/display.var.9279 10.0.spying_on_the_burglar.php [yorkpress.co.uk]

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844732)

> infested with video cameras.

I like that they are fitting them with microphones and speakers. Not only can they watch the yobos, they can now tell them to bugger off.

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845786)

Britain is already there, the place is infested with video cameras

... and in the US, *every phone call* is monitored and recorded. Let's see, that's a tough call, cameras in public areas where you have no expectation of privacy anyway, or every single phone call you make tracked and recorded for later examination. Hmm, it's a tough one but I'll take the first one!

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16849864)

On a lesser-known scale, this has been happening in the UK since WWII

Re:sleepwalking into a surveillance society? (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16850148)

Whereas the press in the States might have made more of a big deal about the recording of phone calls - under Echelon - it's been happening in the UK and plenty of other countries for years anyway under existing intelligence agency arrangements (as a previous poster points out) since around WWII.

The answer to The Prisoner is... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843778)

Number One is a department store? That would explain where Number Two and Number Six got their suits.

It's removeable (4, Informative)

dafz1 (604262) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843784)

"The RFID tags are contained in throwaway paper labels attached to, but not embedded in" the clothing.

Buy garment, remove RFID tag. Hopefully, it will be on one of the easily removed tags that you cut off anyway.

Remove tag, attach to remote controlled car.. (2, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843854)

.... drive it around the store and watch security get confused as hell.

Spencer != Sparks (2, Funny)

JBHarris (890771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843822)

What is the name of the store? Marks & Spencer or Marks & Sparks? Slashdot surely has gone downhill if there are inconsistencies even in the summary!

Re:Spencer != Sparks (5, Informative)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843860)

It's like a nickname. Marks and Spencer is widely referred to as Marks and Sparks in the UK. Don't ask me why. It just is.

Re:Spencer != Sparks (2, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843870)

It's a nickname.

Where's your complaint about the inconsistency in the summary using both "UK" and "Britain"?

Re:Spencer != Sparks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844396)

Technically, UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Island) != [Great] Britain (England, Scotland, Wales).

Your point about the summary is still right though. :)

Re:Spencer != Sparks (1)

rimclean (783231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16847696)

Northern Island? The UK also includes the Falkland Islands.

Re:Spencer != Sparks (2, Insightful)

matthew.thompson (44814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16849496)

No - It is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Falkland Islands is a territory of but not part of the United Kingdom.

Re:Spencer != Sparks (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843972)

It's a pet name, like calling Neiman Marcus "Needless Markup" in the US.

Re:Spencer != Sparks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16843976)

Marks and Sparks is the colloquial name in the UK for the chain properly known as Marks and Spencer.

Sleepwalking again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16843842)

What is the deal with the British and sleepwalking?

Re:Sleepwalking again? (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843918)

I think the submitters today are 'sleepwalking into overused words'.

England has a widespread problem apparently (5, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843904)

From this article:
Considering that the UK's Information Commissioner recently made a lot of noise around the RFID track and trace tech, warning that Britain is 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society'


But just a couple hours ago, there was another article [slashdot.org] warning that
...the country's oversight agency now puts that figure at $24 billion, and two Members of Parliament say the project is "sleepwalking toward disaster"...


Perhaps someone should look into this sleepwalking. I'm sure there's some kind of treatment.

Re:England has a widespread problem apparently (1)

Zabu (589690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844556)

Somebody should knock them up

Re:England has a widespread problem apparently (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846356)

I swear, /. moderators can be really weird sometimes.

A British Geek writes... (3, Funny)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16843922)

...all my clothes are from M&S... all UK geek's clothes are from there, except our batman t-shirts - because M&S is where British people shop when they want to buy a pair of nice trousers without actually knowing anything about fashion...frightened to move... can my corduroy trousers see what I'm typing.....erk.

Oh, stop it (1)

Bertie (87778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844046)

It's for stock control and shoplifting prevention. They're not monitoring their customer's movements or anything in the slightest bit sinister.

Go and find something more useful to post, eh?

Re:Oh, stop it (1)

BubbleDragon (652251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844122)

Not to mention that Old Navy already has these. I've cut several out of shirts from there already.

Re:Oh, stop it (1)

BubbleDragon (652251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844182)

Nevermind, with a little bit of digging, I've found these are the same typical security tags you'll find in the more expensive books at Barnes & Noble, etc. They're not actually RFID. Yet.

As an employee of John Lewis... (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844060)

I say yes. Boycott M&S. Surveillance society, yeah. Disgusting. ;)

Mod article -1 flamebait !!! (4, Insightful)

GreenEggsAndHam (317974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844074)

The only slippery slope I'm seeing is Slashdot's growing tendency for alarmist article summaries.

Re:Mod article -1 flamebait !!! (1)

Ixne (599904) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844422)

They threatened your family with wet noodle lashings unless you posted that, didn't They?

Re:Mod article -1 flamebait !!! (1)

jrobinson5 (974354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844740)

How exactly do you plan to mod an article -1 Flamebait?

Re:Mod article -1 flamebait !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16846000)

The only slippery slope I'm seeing is Slashdot's growing tendency for alarmist article summaries.

It's no longer a tendency. It's their standard operating procedure. Smart People (tm) have already recognized this.

Public Enemy Number one? (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844134)

What in the heck are you talking about? They're trying to keep people from stealing stuff, and the tag comes off when you get it home. How is this "sleepwalking into a survellience society"? Not every use of RFID technology is Big Brother come to fruition.

        Brett

Re:Public Enemy Number one? (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846886)

> What in the heck are you talking about? They're trying to keep people from stealing stuff, and the tag comes off when you get it home.
How long before thieves realise you can rip they RFID tag off, since it's on a disposable paper label?

Nope, it's about inventory control, that's why they use it on items "with complex sizing". As in "Do we have any size 42 suits with extra long legs left"?

How is this different than stock taking? (2, Insightful)

Scothoser (523461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844154)

Many others have commented on this already, but this announcement shouldn't be a problem, and for two reasons: The tags come off, and they are only monitoring what is being sold, not what is coming in the shop.

Because the tags are not embedded, it's not a lasting concern. Remove the tags, you are wearing any other garment. I fail to see the worry with this implementation.

And, because the monitoring is simply for automated stock taking, there is no ulterior motive. Anyone that has worked in the Retail business has either experienced stock taking, or has had to make the hard decision of which product to stock for potential buyers. For Brick and Mortar stores, it is essential to keep the overhead to a minimum. This allows the shop to do so with technology.

But the real question is, will this be the final step? How long will it be before someone does start embedding RFID tags into clothing? It would definitely make it easier to track clothing from the factory to the consumer. Clothing manufacturers may want to do that to find out which part of their global marketplace needs to be targeted the most. An innocent enough reason, and unless it's tied to a record of the purchase, it's still not tied to you.. yet. But then Social Security cards were initially just to track who was eligible for Social Security benefits, and not to track your credit history.

So while this is a great idea for stock taking, it's a good idea to decide where the line should be drawn, and make sure that line is not crossed.

Re:How is this different than stock taking? (1)

psema4 (966801) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845398)

Nice post. I agree with almost all of it, but one line caught my attention and I'd like to play on it a bit. =)

"Clothing manufacturers may want to do that to find out which part of their global marketplace needs to be targeted the most"

I fail to see however how RFID would work in this scenario. Do you see cloting manufacturers placing RFID sensors in major cities throughout the world? Is this an after-market opportunity - sell manufacturers/distributers/govt's access to your global RFID scanning network? Yikes.

Besides, I would think that clothing manufacturers should really be targetting places were clothing is not as easy to come by.

combine this with the robot machinegun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844224)

and prevent shoplifting...

What's the problem? Cameras not RFID. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844308)

They are anti-theft tags. We've had those for years, you just remove them when you buy the thing.

The problem we have in Britain is with cameras, they are multiplying like a virus. One street in London
I am watching currently has 82 cameras (I counted them), when it reaches 100 I'm writing an article for the
newspaper. Some spots on the street are covered by up to 4 cameras. This is an ordinary public space.

I hope we become more like the French and people start going out with shotguns, rocks and paint to
vandalise and destroy these creepy nuicance devices which are proven not to reduce crime but lure
people into false security so that next time you get mugged or raped you merely get to have everyone see
it on YouTube.

Also they are a vast waste of taxpayers public money which is goung to line the pockets of these
so called "security companies". The money would be much better spent putting more police out on
the streets.

Re:What's the problem? Cameras not RFID. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844416)

A better prank:

Wait until the street is empty. Climb up to just under the camera and take a picture.

Attach the picture to the camera so the camera sees only the picture. They'll just record an empty street all day. (That's why you waited for the street to be empty.)

Hey, it worked on the A-Team.

Re:What's the problem? Cameras not RFID. (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844526)

Attach the picture to the camera so the camera sees only the picture. They'll just record an empty street all day.

Or darkness and/or fuzziness, because your picture blocks out most of the light and is too close to the camera to be in focus.

Re:What's the problem? Cameras not RFID. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846528)

Yeah, I was expecting a Funny. I don't think it would actually work.

Oh well.

Re:What's the problem? Cameras not RFID. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845208)

Eighty four? Those are just the cameras you can see. In a few years small cameras will be very cheap and all of them will be invisible.

Not quite sure why ... (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16846086)

... the parent is "insightful". I'd have thought "ignorant" was more to the point.

There's just so much wrong with this analysis of CCTV in Britain that I don't know where to begin ... maybe I won't bother, I've got to go to work in the morning so it'd better be bedtime.

Re:What's the problem? Cameras not RFID. (1)

gonzoxl5 (88685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16850494)

I have a problem with local youths setting fires and breaking into the flats where I live, they hang around on street corners smoking joints and generally being intimidating to all who want to pass peacefully by, the shoplift from the local convenience stores and are abusive to the storekeepers.

Meanwhile the local high street and restaurants/petrol stations are plagued by organised crime backed oriential guys with rucksacks full of cheap/bootleg DVDs.

I would like to live a normal, law abiding life with my wife & kids and would like to do it peacefully and without these abusive influences.

Law enforcement have openly admitted that they are inept without primary evidence, this isn't available as there is critically no CCTV coverage of the areas involved.

The area we're talking about isn't run down or deprived, its the relatively affluent Central Hammersmith, London W6, a stones throw away from Notting Hill and Holland Park and where a 3 bedroom semi will cost you upwards of £600k.

Personally, I don't care if there are a thousand cameras covering the street where I walk if it means a safer environment for myself and my family, as at the moment the only other solution is to find a new place to live.

F@#$ the police! (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844506)

Marks & Spencer -- a department store as quintessentially British as tea & cake -- seems to be setting itself up as a tweed-clad Public Enemy Number One.

They clothe their businesses in the UK? That is weird.

Re:F@#$ the police! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16847934)

They clothe their businesses in the UK? That is weird.

And they shamelessly clothe their females, inviting others to unclothe them.
The very depth of perversion.

People don't know or care (1)

SteWhite (212909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844518)

Marks & Sparks seems to be setting itself up as a tweed-clad Public Enemy Number One.

No, they aren't. Really. Go into a Marks & Spencer store, and ask customers at random if they are concerned about RFID, or even what it is.

About 90% of them will have never even heard of it, and a further 9.9% or so will know what it is but not care.

Re:People don't know or care (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844560)

Wait until the Daily Mail or some other shitrag publishes an alarmist story (much like this one) in a day or two...

Re:People don't know or care (1)

slashnik (181800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845422)

And they will be pro RFID when they understand that the store is more likely to have their (all) sizes in stock.

some information, to counteract the FUD (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16844640)

RFID technology used in inventory like this is all on the supply-side for inventory tracking and control. The tags are passive devices. You'd have to walk near an actual RFID reader for the tag to do anything. If M&S were to collaborate with the UK gov't and put an RFID reader in every intersection in the country, then I'd worry -- otherwise, not so much.

Furthermore, the only thing most current tags can "tell you" even if you are near a reader is "hey, my number is (insert string of numbers here)". At best, it would decode into "Shipment #229 out of distribution center #101 shipped on (date)." Nothing at all personal about the buyer. RFID tech is a long long way from making you want a tinfoil overcoat. I've worked in the industry; I know.

Re:some information, to counteract the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16846128)

You'd have to walk near an actual RFID reader for the tag to do anything Time to go back and read Radio 101 again mate.

It isn't all so bad until you join up the data ... (4, Insightful)

niks42 (768188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16844914)

RFID tags on my clothing wouldn't bother me. Tracking my mobile phone wouldn't bother me. Store cards that track my purchases wouldn't really bother me. Cameras that can recognise my face, my vehicle index .. well they kind of bother me. How about my car insurance company wanting to track my vehicle movements so they can gauge my risk?

(I would at some times welcome a way of having an ID card - have you tried opening a bank account lately, with having to prove you are who you say you are, and you live where you say you live ? Waiting two weeks while they run $DEITY knows what checks on you ?)

Having to go through a criminal records check to get a job as an IT architect in London .. that doesn't bother me that much. However, when all this data starts to join up - now I start to get scared. Maybe I have been watching too many movies, but the prospect of data being joined together is far more scary - the whole being much, much greater than the sum of the parts. The technology exists - all it would take is a bit more 'anti-terror' legislation and a good ETL and ta-da!

Add to that a little identity theft, the possibility of others' criminal activity corrupting your data; your digital footprint being messed up with cross-references and data duplicates that shouldn't be there; laws that assume guilt instead of proving it; laws that can put you away for two years for forgetting a password; and bugger me, it is time to leave the country.

They need less bad press (1)

onetwofour (977057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845120)

Marks & Sparks have been having such huge problems due to them not being trendy for a long time, it's all in a name and they have certainly made some progress. But from the millions M&S had years ago, they need less bad press and more reasons to shop there. Though their food is quite yummy.

Shelf Stackers Dream (2, Interesting)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845132)

As a part tme job to get me through uni I work in woolworths, I really like the idea of RFID tags for two reasons. Firstly the security tags stores use are a major pain, I can lose a lot of time when new shop workers either forget to remove them or diasble them. Some of the tags DO damage clothing, having the ability to simply put the tag in the barcode which you can rip off would be great, we'd stop damaging some items of stock, my time wouldn't be wasted and we would cut done of shop theft since not every item does get tagged even if its supposed to.

But my real reason? I work on the sweets department we have to do something called stock checking, the idea is to go through all your stock, checking the dates bringing the oldest to the front so our stock doesn't run out of date and become unsellable. One day I hope they put these things into sweets and crisps. Today I went through just over a thousand packets of crisps to make sure none were out of date and reordered the lot. If i could wave a scanner, see that the earliest date going was the 1st of Febuary I could have saved myself ALOT of time.

I know of several of people who work in stores who face similar issues when you talk about some of the benifits it would be extremly helpful. But then in my business module (yes the IET make you do them) it could see my lecturer practically salavating over the possible uses which does make me worry about the potential missuse of the technology.

Re:Shelf Stackers Dream (1)

Filthio (1013357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16849718)

The good news: your job now takes half the time! The bad news: your employer just sacked 50% of their shelf-stackers! The worse news: they sacked another 10% of them to pay for the fancy new RFID system... Unless you own and run your own shop this isn't going to give you more time to look out of the window, believe me ;)

The uses are clear (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16845326)

These are handy for stock control.

The potential for abuse is a lot more abstract and hypothetical. They could work out that people are buying certain items together, but most superstores are already collecting that sort of information. These are largely anonymous so there's a complete lack of personal information. Exactly what they're spying on is a bit vague.

However, we do have some pretty competent privacy legislation in this country. If RFID tags do become a problem I'd imagine the legislation will be expanded.

RFID abuse (1)

WeeBit (961530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16848842)

I believe most are more worried about abuse. They may set it up as a anti theft device for now... but years from now some idiot decides to add nice features to it. Like um ask the patrons for their phone number as they scan the tags. Many stores do this now. They now know whom bought the item. That is if you was dumb enough to give a REAL phone number. Anyone know the phone number of the inventor of this RFID? *evil grin"
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