Walmart Smart Tags and Privacy Concerns

By Gary Johnson - Jul 25, 2010

Retailing giant Wal-Mart are planning on using new advanced electronic ID tags so they can keep a track on individual pairs of jeans and underwear. It will be the start of a system that is hoped will have better controls on inventory, but some people are concerned about privacy.

In an article by Miguel Bustillo of The Wall Street Journal it is reported that the new removable tags will start being used next month which will allow individual garments to be read by a hand-held scanner. This will enable Wal-Mart staff to know which size of a range of jeans are out of stock, so helping to keep shelves correctly stocked and inventory closely checked.

If the trial proves successful the new smart tags will be rolled out on other products across the company’s 3750 US stores. The new tags have raised some privacy concerns in some quarters as they can be removed but not turned off, and they are trackable. They are concerned that some criminals or unscrupulous traders could scan consumers’ garbage and find out what has been recently purchased.

These theories have been dismissed by smart tag experts and Wal-Mart has insisted that suppliers only add the tags to packaging or removable labels to help with fears that they could be tracking consumer’s movements.

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Also See: Wal-Mart online delivery now features grocery shopping

  • concerned citizen

    yeah, just let this one slide too. We have already handed out everything else why not our privacy too. Theres talk to put it on our drivers licenses so police can easily look up our records for their convience. Like the smart tag its only to speed things along. Yeah right! Please people wake up. Its no tjust the extremests worried anymore.

  • Final

    for now.. its a removable tag.

    Soon they will find an exuse for shop lifting and will be permentat. these chips
    will be soon on every product and eventually our own bodies.
    NEW world order has begun people

  • Howard

    This is a very serious concern. The only way to prevent this tracking is to wrap your head in heavy duty tin foil, do not carry a wallet into Walmart, and always pay in cash.

  • MrNegitve

    welcome to New World Order …..I sigh to myself …..were screwed….,

  • gbh999

    I hear the Kellogg's is going to drop these trackers into every box of Raisin Bran. And then, if sanitation engineers find human excrement anywhere on the streets, of Everytown USA, they will be able to come to your door, grab you by the neck, and make you come and clean your mess up. So, don't poop in back alleys anymore. Do you understand?

  • a mom in iowa

    its like like a electronic bomb, people… they aren't going to look you up and say… "HEY YOU BOUGHT A PAIR OF WRANGLERS AT YOUR LOCAL WALMART LAST WEEK…."

    • AngelaOlson

      Yes they are going to look you up and see that you bought a pair of wranglers. And they will begin to keep track of everything you buy. These things can also read your id and credit cards in your wallet from a surprising distance away. And they will keep track of you and your spending habits to determine if you spend enough money in their store. They will encourage this of course, but the ‘poor’ people who don’t spend enough will be discouraged from shopping. I don’t mean just wal-mart, but all stores who will be doing this in the future. And they will know your name, the neighborhood you live in, and your underwear size. Please look up Katherine Albright and the Real ID tags and educate yourself on this.

  • smartshopper

    Simple solution for privacy, when the product is scanned at the register, REMOVE the electronic tag and leave it at Wal Mart. If you don't leave the store with the tag, you cannot be tracked by anyone.

  • T manning

    If people would quit stealing everything. Wal-mart would not have to do this.

    • lmr

      Of course they will not stop stealing, that's why they don't like this idea!!

  • Cindy

    I think this is evading everyone's privacy and I don't think this should be permitted.