Levi Strauss has confirmed controversial plans to embed RFID chips in its clothing in a move that has been termed by anti-privacy groups as ‘spychipping’.
In an email to respected privacy activists and authors, Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, the head of Levi’s PR confirmed that tests were underway with a leading US retailer, but refused to say where.
Jeffrey Beckman, director of worldwide and US communications for Levi Strauss, wrote: “A retail customer is testing RFID at one location [in the US]…on a few of our larger-volume core men’s Levi’s jeans styles.
“Out of respect for our customer’s wishes, we are not going to discuss any specifics about their test,” reports Portals Magazine .
Tests are also underway in Mexico on leading brands like Dockers.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags allow items to tracked from a distance. Levi’s claimed that the tags will only be used to track inventory, monitor demand trends and lower shortages of particular lines.
However, privacy advocates claim that RFID is a tracking technology that, once it enters the retail environment, will be open to abuse by companies seeking to gather more information on their customers and their spending habits.