FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2005
RFID PROMOTER SHAMED INTO REMOVING MISLEADING
CLAIM FROM WEBSITE
In the first of what will likely be many reverberations from a new book about RFID, a global RFID applications company has been shamed into removing a misleading claim from its website. California-based Precision Dynamics Corporation (PDC) advertised that its RFID-enabled hospital wristband could help remedy the leading cause of medical errors, which it claimed was "patient misidentification."
The PDC website featured a page titled "Why RFID is Critical" with a bold heading purporting to explain "Why hospitals need to be on board with RFID." There the company wrote, "The leading cause of death due to medical errors is caused by patient misidentification, and specimen or medication misidentification." The quote was attributed to a report by noted medical researchers Dr. Mark Chassin and Dr. Lucian Leape.
There was only one problem: The claim was not true.
While researching their new book, "SPYCHIPS: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID," authors Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre contacted Dr. Leape to investigate PDC's claims. In a scathing written response, Dr. Leape called PDC's statement a "complete misrepresentation." Dr. Leape went on to say that "one might even say [PDC's claim is] a lie, in that it clearly is intended to deceive."
PDC's misleading claim was exposed when "Spychips" hit the bookstores earlier this month. Ziff Davis Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman picked up the story from there, launching a mini investigation of his own. He reported his findings in a recent CIOInsight article where he wrote, "When Ziff Davis contacted PDC, the claim was still on their Web site and they promised to get back to us with an explanation. No one ever did but the claim has magically vanished from their site."
The book has set off a firestorm in the RFID community. Not only is PDC scrambling to cover its tracks, companies like NCR are attempting to distance themselves from their own promotional materials exposed in "Spychips." In a recent interview with Wired News, NCR executive Richard Beaver downplayed the company's plans for price changing shelves that discriminate against bargain shoppers, calling them "concept documents" designed to merely provide "thought leadership" in the RFID sphere.
"This is just the start of the corporate distress," predicts McIntyre. "PDC and NCR aren't the only privacy bad boys whose embarrassing statements are brought to light in our book. Other companies like IBM, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, BellSouth, and Philips will also have some explaining to do when people read about their patent pending ways to use RFID to track people through the things they wear, carry and throw away. Consumers will realize these companies have an RFID agenda that should concern us all."
Ziff Davis' Schuman apparently concurs. He called
Spychips "a stunningly powerful argument against
Schuman gave this advice to companies caught red-handed by the authors:
"A little subtlety is probably not a bad idea when trying to patent ideas that your PR people are denying you're thinking about."
It may be a bit too late for that.
Evan Schuman's complete review of Spychips can
be read at CIOInsight:
To see the archived PDC web page with the medical
To see the "page not found" message
at the original location of the misstatement visit:
ABOUT THE BOOK
Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with RFID is the winner of the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty. Authored by Harvard doctoral researcher Katherine Albrecht and former bank examiner Liz McIntyre, the book is meticulously researched, drawing on patent documents, corporate source materials, conference proceedings, and firsthand interviews to paint a convincing -- and frightening -- picture of the threat posed by RFID.
Despite its hundreds of footnotes and academic-level accuracy, the book remains lively and readable, according to critics, who have called it a "techno-thriller" and "a masterpiece of technocriticism."
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.