Tesco is one of the world's largest promoters
of RFID spychips.
Journal says that "Tesco has been among the most active
retailers testing RFID technology." The company recently made
the world's single largest
publicly announced purchase of RFID readers and antennas.
Tesco's use of RFID has escalated dramatically
in recent weeks.
Tesco has gone on an RFID "shopping
spree," buying 20,000 readers and antennas to be installed
in 1,300 of its stores. Tesco "also expects to finalize a deal
within weeks for the purchase of millions
of [RFID] tags."
Who will pay for this expensive investment? Tesco
Tesco plans to subject more shoppers to
In the article "Tesco
to Expand Item-Level RFID Trial," RFID Journal reports
that "the British retailer says it will switch from high to
ultra-high frequency [tags] and expand its trial from two to 10
The use of any item-level tagging on is in violation
of our call for a moratorium. (See next item.)
Tesco's use of RFID tags in individual items
("item-level RFID") violates a call for a moratorium issued
by privacy experts worldwide.
Over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil
liberties organizations have called for a moratorium
on "item-level" tagging of consumer goods.
Tesco has already abused RFID
The UK Guardian newspaper disclosed that Tesco
secretly photographed shoppers picking up spytagged products
as far back as 2003. Since that time, Tesco's RFID investment has
(For more information on the trial, including photos,
Tesco wants to be a "test bed"
for RFID trials involving consumers
Analyst magazine, reported on the photo-snapping "smart
shelf" trial that:
"[Tesco Manager Mr. Alan] Robinson was delighted
with the project so far. 'We are cooperating with this trial in
every way we can -- we would like to be a test bed for many more
trials of the kind in the future." - (Issue 27; April 2003)
If Tesco is not opposed, other companies
will follow its example.
"As big players such as Tesco and Metro start
to take up on [RFID] technology in Europe, this is expected to have
a knock-on effect for smaller retailers, which should eventially
lead to RFID becoming an industry norm for all aspects of retail."
Tesco has encouraged other businesses to
spy on customers with RFID.
Analyst (Issue 27; April 2003) describes how Tesco executives
actually invited other companies to observe their photo-snapping
They write: "The [Gillette "smart shelf"]
trial is creating waves already. [Tesco Manager] Mr. [Alan] Robinson
has shown at least 20 groups of interested businessmen around the
premises. In June, a group from Japan...will visit the store to
see for themselves...."
and the UK
Tesco's actions affect millions of people
Tesco is Britain's largest retailer, accounting
for £1 of every £8 spent in a British shop. Nearly 30%
of the groceries sold in the UK are sold at Tesco. Tesco is also
the world's third-largest retailer, with thousands of stores across
Europe and Asia.
Remember that every shopping trip you make at Tesco
casts a vote for RFID. Do you really want your grocery money going
to fund spychips?
Tesco has enormous power and they've begun
to abuse it.
The Guardian calls Tesco a "charmless bully"
and a "bad neighbor" who is "generating its own particular
brand of loathing." (Read "Shop
Tactics" for more)
When the BBC ran a discussion
forum on this topic, many people said that Tesco's negative
impact on Great Britain has made them decide to stop shopping at
Tesco has a history of spying on customers
with its loyalty card.
Every time you scan your Tesco card, Tesco collects
a record of your purchases. The
Ecologist writes that "Tesco...uses the data collected
from your loyalty card to dictate what you buy, when you buy and
how much you buy." In other words, they use they data they
collect on you to manipulate your spending with the store.
(Visit our www.nocards.org
website for more information on shopper cards and privacy invasion.
This is a topic we have covered at CASPIAN since 1999.)
Other organizations have also spoken out
RFID is just one reason to boycott Tesco. Here are
of the Earth calls Tesco, "the untamed beast" that
is "damaging communities, putting local shops out of business,
and threatening the livelihoods of many UK farmers."
Little Hurts" website was set up to protest Tesco's policy
of closing community post offices. Previously, many small post offices
operated in locally-owned stores which Tesco has put out of business.
Banque critiques "monopolies and monocultures of ideas,
information and life, represented by Hollywood, Microsoft, Monsanto
and supermarkets," and scolds Tesco for asking publishers to
their magazines for approval before putting them on sale.
Others are concerned that Tesco has begun outsourcing
jobs to India, a practice which contributes to unemployment
and causes damage the British economy.
Do you have your own reason to oppose Tesco?
it in and we may post it here.
(Write to: TescoSoundoff @ nocards.org.)