Martin Lynch, Personal Computer World – May 5, 2006
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.
Last updated 20/01/2007