Adidas: All Day I Dream About… RFID?

Adidas recently decided to sew RFID tags into national football team’s jerseys, but some human rights organizations are fighting back, claiming that the clothes could turn into tracking devices.

While Adidas insists that they do not intend to track football fans using RFID tags and customers can easily remove the tag, digital privacy experts argue that RFID tags in clothing have powerful potential for surveillance.

Although customers can simply cut and dispose of the RFID tags, Adidas isn’t exactly making consumer aware of the tags. “Consumers do not only have an interest, but a right – not in a legal sense, but in a moral sense and from a consumer protection perspective,” said Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. “They obviously should be informed when their clothes are being tagged and the problem with these RFID tags is that they are very easy to tag.”

Weichert went on to explain that when a customer purchases one of the shirts using a personal credit card, the RFID tag’s number could be automatically coupled with information about the customer, opening new doors to creating personal profiles.

The rapid expansion of RFID has led to a decrease in the cost of tags, making them readily available to track just about everything, including living things. First, we started with pets, then students, and then military personnel. Are customers next?

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