November 14, 2005

Panicked Proponents Resort to Half Truths, Outright Lies

What do you say you're caught red-handed planning to track people with
RFID when you've promised you never would? If you're a global
corporation with millions of dollars invested in the technology, you
call in your chips -- er, favors. RFID industry mouthpieces AIM Global
and RFID Journal have both heeded the call of their advertisers and
supporters, nipping at the heels of the new book Spychips: How Major
Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID.
Even start-up companies have tried to join the pack with critiques of
their own.

"The companies behind the RFID industry must have thought they were
calling out their attack dogs, but they apparently called their lap dogs
by mistake" says Spychips co-author Katherine Albrecht. "Their attempts
to criticize our book are toothless and feeble. In fact, they're using
half-truths and outright lies to try to deflect from the real issues."

She points to several statements by RFID Journal's Mark Roberti as
examples. In his review of the book he claims the authors "want a
complete and total ban on the use of RFID for all consumer

"That's absolute nonsense," says Albrecht, "Perhaps Mr. Roberti didn't
read our book. We make it very clear that the only appropriate role for
RFID legislation is to require companies to tell us when products
contain RFID tags so we can make our own decisions about whether or not
to buy them. We have never called for a ban on RFID."

The rest of Roberti's critique is equally flawed. Albrecht's rebuttal to
his review is posted on the Spychips website at: .

Spychips co-author Liz McIntyre takes on AIM Global's review of the
book. "AIM Global sinks its gums into Spychips, shaking it almost
imperceptibly from side to side before collapsing into agreement with
us," she writes.

AIM admits the patents revealed in the book are "more than a little
disquieting," and that "the book does contain some valid concerns and
highlights some of the more outlandish claims made by RFID proponents."
However, AIM's anonymous reviewer deflects the blame for these worrisome
ideas away from IBM, Procter & Gamble, and NCR where they belong and
attributes them to unnamed "marketers."

Among these more "outlandish claims" and "disquieting proposals" are
IBM's patent pending "Identification and Tracking of Persons Using
RFID-Tagged Items," Procter & Gamble's patent pending "Systems and
Methods for Tracking Consumers in a Store Environment," and NCR's
patented "Automated Monitoring of Activity of Shoppers in a Market,"
McIntyre notes.

"People can see through the industry's attempts at damage control and
recognize them as spin," McIntyre observes. "When the industry expends
this much energy trying to squelch a book, it's clear they're afraid,
and, frankly, they should be. They can't squirm out of the truth this
time. We've caught them with their own words, and it's all footnoted and

McIntyre has posted her rebuttal to AIM Global's review at: .

When asked whether they'll be entertaining other rebuttal opportunities,
the authors laugh, "We hate to turn down any opportunity to shame the
opposition, but our editors remind us that we have more important tasks
at hand. Besides, we've already done a thorough job addressing just
about every issue the industry could lob our way."



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."


CASPIAN: Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering
Opposing supermarket "loyalty" cards and other retail surveillance
schemes since 1999

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