Metro Future Store
The METRO "Future Store"
Katherine Albrecht Tours the World's RFID
I had an opportunity to tour the METRO Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany on Saturday, January 31, 2004, thanks to German privacy group FoeBuD, the organization that puts on Germany's annual Big Brother Awards. (FoeBuD "honored" METRO with a Big Brother award in 2003.)
The trip came about when I accepted an invitation from Rena Tangens, FoeBuD Founder and Co-Director (with whom I had corresponded for several years about shopper cards), to deliver a talk on RFID privacy to the public in Bielefeld, Germany.
[Note: to view FodBuD's announcement of my talk, click the thumbnail at right.]
I suggested that as part of my trip to Germany, we should tour the METRO Future Store to get a firsthand look at the RFID trials. FoeBuD made the tour arrangements with METRO, and I was able to confirm my invitation with METRO executives.
After an all-night flight from Boston, I arrived in Germany to dreary weather and drizzling rain. As we drove through Rheinberg, it struck me what an ordinary, middle class residential community it appeared to be. You would never know it played host to something like the Future Store.
Meeting FoeBuD Members
A FoeBuD delegation
was waiting in the Future Store parking lot to greet me. Among the
members who accompanied us on the tour were two photographers and a professional
television camerawoman who documented the event. This decision would later
Preparing to go inside
My first surprise on arriving at the store was to see the word "EXTRA" featured on the signage outside instead of "METRO." I soon learned that the Future Store operates under METRO's "Extra" banner. Apparently, the average German is not familiar with the "METRO" name since its stores operate under a variety of different names. Aside from the words "future store" in small letters on the sign, from the outside this store looks like any other supermarket.
Albrecht of CASPIAN, with Rena Tangens and padeluun (one word, no
caps) of FoeBud. Rena is holding the Big
Brother Award statue she will later present to METRO Executives.
Inside the Store
Inside the store we were met by our three
METRO guides, Dr. Gerd Wolfram, Albrecht von Truchssess, and Marcos
Fernandez, who would spend the next three hours showing us around.
The Spychips website is a project of CASPIAN, Consumers
Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.
© 2003-2006 Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. All Rights Reserved.
Photographs © Peter Ehrentraut, FoeBuD e.V., used with permission.