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April 28, 2006

Tell Levi Strauss What You Think about RFID

Graphic by Todd Fox

Many of you who have read our press release about the Levi Strauss item-level tagging initiative are emailing to request contact information for Levi Strauss. Here it is:

Main Number: (415)501-6000
This number goes to the main switchboard. The operator can switch you to Consumer Relations. Remember. If you call the toll-free Consumer Relations number on the Levi Strauss website, your phone number can be obtained.

Email: info@levi.com
This email address goes to a general email box. Consumer Relations would like you to use a special online form, but that doesn't give you a record of your comment. Please share a copy with us. You can email me at Liz@spychips.com.

Snail mail:
Levi Strauss
Consumer Relations
1155 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

We are hopeful that Levi Strauss will stop its item-level RFID tagging initiatives and honor the moratorium called for by over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil liberties organizations. (See: http://www.spychips.com/jointrfid_position_paper.html)

RFID technology can easily be abused, and we believe it is essential that all the societal issues be explored before it is deployed. We hope Levi Strauss will be the company to step forward and begin the needed dialogue.

The current Levi Strauss RFID test reportedly involves RFID hang tags that can be clipped from the garments at checkout. But as anyone who has read "Spychips" knows, the RFID industry has discussed affixing tags on and within products and tracking consumers through them--a practice that could usher in an Orwellian surveillance society. On the clothing front, companies have talked about embedding RFID tags in the seams of garments and in flexible clothing labels. There has even been talk of using threads woven into fabric as antennas.

That's why it is crucial to counter *any* attempts at tagging individual consumer items now. Once the RFID infrastructure is in place, the nature of tagging--and the tracking done via the tags--can change overnight.

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 2:53 PM | Comments (101)

April 21, 2006

Spychips To Be Released in Spanish

chips espias thumbnail.jpg

A Spanish language edition of Spychips will be published by Grupo Nelson due to popular demand. Chips espias : Como las grandes corporaciones y el gobierno planean monitorear cada uno de sus pasos con RFID will be available in June 2006.

Many thanks to all of our Spanish-speaking supporters!

-Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 4:10 PM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2006

Wal-Mart Suffers Slowing Sales, Drop in Stock Price

walmart supercenter.jpg
Empty parking lots could force Wal-Mart to reconsider its practices

Calls for consumers to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart appear to be hurting the 800-lb. gorilla of RFID. The Associated Press is reporting that the remorseless retail goliath is cutting back on inventory in its stores as it "struggles with slowing sales and disappointing profit growth." The AP also reports that "Wal-Mart's stock price has fallen 6 percent during the past 12 months."

This cut-back in inventory will hurt RFID proponent Procter & Gamble, as well, the AP reports. Sales to Wal-Mart represented 16 percent of P&G's total 2005 revenue.

This news has appeared in several papers, including an April 14 story in The Akron Beacon Journal: http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/business/14341310.htm

Thanks to those of you who are voting against Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble RFID plans by shopping elsewhere and switching to more privacy friendly brands. As we all work together, we are having a palpable impact on manufacturers and retailers that refuse to take consumer privacy and civil liberties concerns seriously.

-Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 1:38 PM | Comments (1)

April 7, 2006

Claire Wolfe on RFID "education"

Where I couldn't quite do it justice, writer, pundit, and freedom agitator Claire Wolfe eloquently summarized the content of the NY Times "ID Please" curriculum guide below, writing:

WOW. IT JUST GETS SCARIER AND SCARIER. Here's a New York Times lesson plan to teach middle-schoolers and high-schoolers about RFID people-tracking technologies. It begins with students "sharing opinions" about spychipping humans. But notice that from there on, the only "opinions" allowed are entirely pro-RFID. After expressing their presumably glowing endorsements of universal surveillance, our kidlets are asked to spend the rest of their time brainstorming new ways to track themselves -- and the rest of us.
Who comes up with this stuff? And where does the NYT get off calling this propaganda "education"?

If you don't know who Claire is, you should. One of her books "The State vs. The People" (co-authored with JPFO's Aaron Zelman) was so profoundly insightful that I bought a case of them to distribute to others. I highly recommend it and all of Claire's other books to anyone who cares about freedom and the encroaching police state.

-Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 5:03 AM | Comments (1)

Achtung teachers: RFID curriculum has arrived!


A California public school teacher recently sent us this NY Times "Daily Lesson Plan" designed to "educate" kids about the benefits of tracking people and things with RFID.

Since adults are pretty unconvincable on RFID (consistently, around 65% oppose RFID on privacy grounds) the spin-meisters have begun targeting our kids, instead. This reminded me of something Liz and I wrote in Spychips.

The "Nightmare Scenario" chapter opens with RFID godfather Kevin Ashton discussing predator and prey relationships, explaining how RFID helps the lions better identify, capture, and eat the zebras. I transcribed a section of a video where someone in a crowd of business executives asks Ashton what it's going to take for society to accept RFID and ubiquitous tracking.

This excerpt from the book takes it from there:

Without skipping a beat, the always cool-as-a-cucumber Ashton tells gathered pro-RFID executives, "We will have to die."

After awkward laughter from his audience, Ashton clarifies the seemingly outrageous statement. Our generation, he explains, will never fully embrace a world where everything can be tagged and tracked. It's just too new. But the next generation will.

Adolph Hitler understood this dynamic well, saying:

"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side.'
I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already.'
What are you? You will pass on.
Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp.
In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community."

So while the average adult has never even heard of RFID, the spychip industry, the media, and government schools are colluding behind the scenes to brainwash our children into not only accepting, but defending the brave new tracking world they are working to create.

-Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 3:12 AM | Comments (17)

April 6, 2006

Even HP's ads are looking wrong these days

Here is part of an HP ad that appeared today on InternetNews.com. What in the heck is this supposed to be? Did some marketing guy figure people would look at this evil cube and immediately want to put HP products in their homes?
(Click here to see the whole weird ad, and the rest of HP's ad campaign)


This image reminds me of the fact that HP has begun putting RFID tags inside their printers. For most people, this will be the first incursion of RFID into their homes.

RFID Journal describes the program:

"Speaking at last week's AIM Global Annual Showcase in Newport Beach, Calif., Chenneveau said HP would like to tag all printers sold in the United States -- as opposed to tagging the cardboard boxes in which the printers are packaged -- because there are more benefits for HP, such as the ability to trace a defective printer back to the source and correct the problem.... 'We're recording the DNA of the unit as we make it,' said Chenneveau.

According to Chenneveau, HP tagged about 2.3 million of the 45 million printers it shipped worldwide last year. His company, he noted, has been paying about 25 cents for Gen 1 tags, but plans to move to second-generation EPC tags starting in April, which should cost less than 10 cents apiece."

Of course, the next obvious step would be for HP to link an on-board RFID spychip to the printer's power source to increase its read range. Then they could take a cue from the electric meter reader programs and set the spychip to broadcast data down the block.

(Hey, they asked me to invent, didn't they?)

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 6:27 AM | Comments (1)

April 5, 2006

Kevin Warwick - One scary dude

kevin-warwick-cyborg-book.jpgRecently, a radio caller asked me if I had heard of a British researcher named Kevin Warwick. Though I had a vague notion of his work, after checking out his website I was sickened to the point of nausea.

Warwick's website states that "Kevin Warwick has taken the first steps...using himself as a guinea pig test subject receiving, by surgical operation, technological implants connected to his central nervous system...Overriding everything, at the expense of a normal life, is Kevin's all encompassing scientific quest and desire to be a Cyborg...part human part machine."

Warwick achieved a degree of dark notoriety back in 1998 when he became the first person to publicly announce he had had a microchip implanted in his flesh . I suppose you could call Warwick the anti-Adam of the brave new world of numbered, computerized humans.

Not content to stop there, Warwick then had himself surgically sliced open so that a "micro electrode array" could be inserted into his left arm. Now he can control an artificial hand with it. Next he plans to start embedding this garbage into his wife. (You couldn't make this stuff up, seriously.) Warwick's obvious love of the scalpel reminds me of those women who can't stop having plastic surgery (or maybe Michael Jackson.)

Warwick explains that he wants to shed his humanity altogether, and exchange it for power. (Hmm, that's a pretty ancient theme. Where have I heard that before?) Here is an exchange from his FAQ:

Q: In your article for "Wired", you said "I was born human, but it was an accident of fate". Do you think humanity must change itself because it has the power to?

A: Humanity can change itself but hopefully it will be an individual choice. Those who want to stay human can and those who want to evolve into something much more powerful with greater capabilities can. There is no way I want to stay a mere human.

If ever a soul needed prayer, this man does.
-Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 5:57 AM | Comments (6)

April 2, 2006

Blogging for the super-busy

There's a lot going on in New Hampshire with the Real ID bill! Ever since our state House of Representatives voted that NH should refuse to comply with the federal mandate that would turn our driver's licenses into a de-facto national ID, we've been getting national attention. I've been super busy working with NH CASPIAN and a coalition of local and national groups to mobilize a response and convince the state Senate to agree.

All that activity means the thoughtful blog entries I had planned for these news items will have to wait until I get more free time. Meanwhile, I thought I'd at least get them off my desktop and into this blog in some form so I can shut my computer down and enjoy Sunday.

-Katherine Albrecht

Another RFID blocking shirt (this one is a joke)

Bruce Sterling (who wrote the foreward to Spychips) got a kick out our last blog entry and blogged it

...then BoingBoing blogged Bruce Sterling

Gillette Fuses RFID With Product Launch
(Be sure to go to www.BoycottGillette.com if you haven't already. And werite a letter to Dick Cantwell while you're there.)

Defending RFID badly (man, this was a lame attempt)

RFID Implants: Making the Body Electric
AIM Global at it again, this time (sort of) defending implanted microchips

Agencies Affirm Privacy Policies for RFID
An old article I was planning to re-read in light of various recent events

RFID Hacks
Concern that hackers and terrorists will wreak ruin on the RFID industry. (Well, duh.)

Neuron from rat brain on a linear array of transistors. The ionic current in the cell interacts with the electronic current in the silicon. Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry; NACHIP; P.Fromherz
(Sorry for the obnoxious URL - I would look into shortening it if I had time. But get a load of this creepy photo. Talk about cyborgs -- they're fusing computers with living things at the most basic levels now.)

World's smallest and thinnest 0.15 x 0.15 mm, 7.5µm thick RFID IC chip - Enhanced productivity enabled by 1/4 surface area, 1/8th thickness -
This one is worth clicking up for the photo. After the image above, I can't help but Imagine this thing fused with a brain cell. Uggh.

Mandatory microchipping of all NZ dogs

The insatiable computer wants to number and catalog every last thing on earth. This is not a joke. We are in the sights of this system. (Go to NoNais.org to see how the US wants to number, tag, and register billions of US animals.)

NZ workers could be microchipped
New Zealand workers may one day be embedded with microchips if employers here follow some overseas employers, a University of Otago law professor has claimed.
Unlikely, but creepy nonetheless.

FAQ: How Real ID will affect you
A good overview if you're new to the REAL ID controversy

Gas tax on miles, not gallons, tested
PORTLAND, Ore., March 25 (UPI) -- Oregon is testing the idea of collecting highway funds through a tax on miles driven, rather than gasoline consumed.
People who will stand for this garbage will stand for anything. Oregon has puzzled me ever since they voted down the GMO labeling law. Wake up, Oregonians. Big government and big corporations are not your friends.

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 6:14 AM | Comments (0)