FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2003
Planned at World Launch of RFID Spy Chip Network
Consumers will protest the "EPC Symposium" at Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center Tuesday, September 16 at 10 AM. The Symposium is scheduled to showcase the world launch of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) network.
The EPC network, nicknamed by proponents "The Internet of Things," was designed to connect all items on the planet to computer databases via miniature RFID "spy chips." The stated purpose of the network is to tag and track every manufactured item with a unique EPC identification number.
like Gillette, Procter & Gamble and Unilever plan to embed EPC-compliant
RFID chips in consumer products and product packaging.
have serious privacy and civil liberties concerns about this technology.
Corporations and governments could use it to register products to individuals
and secretly track them after purchase," says Katherine Albrecht, Founder
and Director of CASPIAN.
"Businesses have dismissed consumer concerns by characterizing RFID as an 'improved bar code,' but RFID is very different," says Albrecht. "These RFID spy chips can be read silently from a distance, right through your clothes, wallet, backpack or purse by anyone with the right reader device. For example, the chips can be secretly embedded in credit cards or sewn into the seams of pants where they can be used to observe people's movements without their knowledge or consent."
The 10 AM protest time was chosen to coincide with a speech by Gillette Vice President Dick Cantwell entitled, "Reasons to Believe." "Protesting during Mr. Cantwell's speech is particularly appropriate," says Albrecht. "Gillette has never answered consumers' questions regarding its use of RFID, and we find the use of religious terminology in the title of his speech disturbing."Gillette is the target of a worldwide boycott for its involvement with RFID-enabled "smart shelves" that have been used by the Tesco retail chain in England to secretly photograph consumers.
CASPIAN has delayed announcing protest details due to restrictions placed on First Amendment activities by McCormick Place. ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz, who is representing CASPIAN in this matter, has issued a letter to McCormick Place authorities requesting that protestors be allowed to express themselves inside the convention center, close to the EPC Symposium event.
"We are grateful for the ACLU's help," says CASPIAN spokeswoman Liz McIntyre. "With their assistance, we are now confident that we will be able to exercise our free speech rights in accordance with the law."
In addition to the live protest in Chicago, consumers from around the world will stage their own local protests of the EPC launch. For example, consumers in England plan to protest on Monday, September 15 at a Tesco supermarket in Sandhurst, Surrey. Details of that protest are available at http://www.notags.co.uk.
The Spychips website is a project of CASPIAN, Consumers
Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.
© 2003-2007 Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. All Rights Reserved.