RFID Chips & Gillette Camera Spy Shelves Lead to Boycott
Subject: Gillette boycott goes live today!
Date: 11 Aug 2003 13:01:34 -0400
From: CASPIAN Newsletter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
** BOYCOTT GILLETTE! ** BOYCOTT GILLETTE! ** BOYCOTT GILLETTE!
wesite released today
Dear CASPIAN Newsletter Subscribers:
Just as CASPIAN warned, global corporations have begun using tiny
RFID tags hidden in products in ways that invade consumers' privacy.
Gillette is at the forefront of the abuse.
In conjunction with the Auto-ID Center (the industry consortium
that is developing the spy chip infrastructure) Gillette has developed
so-called "smart shelves" that are hooked up to hidden
cameras to secretly photograph customers as they pick up Gillette
products. CASPIAN believes these shelves would be better labeled
The spy shelves are part of a "guilty until proven innocent"
theft-prevention strategy as follows: The shelf detects when RFID-enabled
packages are picked up, triggering a hidden camera to snap a photo
of the shopper. A second photo is taken at the cash register when
the item is purchased. The photos are later matched. If someone
is seen picking up a product but not paying for it, he or she
is branded a potential shoplifter.
Of course, this wrongly targets the customer who changes her mind
and leaves the product in the checkout line or has someone else
pay for it, like a husband or mother along for the shopping trip.
We expressed our concern about this practice to Gillette nearly
three weeks ago and patiently awaited a response. The response
never came--even after we followed up last week with a certified
letter to Gillette VP Dick Cantwell.
Apparently, Gillette feels it does not need to share details about
its RFID spy tag technology with consumers. It also appears that
the company plans to continue down its ill-advised path of presuming
that all of its customers are thieves until proven otherwise.
In response, CASPIAN is calling for consumers across the globe
to throw away their old Gillette razor handles and switch to a
different, more privacy-friendly brand of shaving product.
Please help us spread the word by distributing this email far
CASPIAN, Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering
(And now http://www.BoycottGillette.com)
p.s. Read on for our press release and CASPIAN newsletter subscription
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CASPIAN LAUNCHES WORLDWIDE GILLETTE BOYCOTT
Gillette faces consequences for spying on consumers
August 11, 2003
CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)
is calling for a worldwide boycott of Gillette products since
the company failed to renounce a Gillette Mach3 "smart shelf"
"We have corroborated evidence that a Gillette 'smart shelf'
fitted with radio frequency identification (RFID) devices can
sense when packages are removed from a store shelf and, in response,
take pictures of consumers handling them," says CASPIAN founder
and director Katherine Albrecht. "Tracking and photographing
consumers without their knowledge and consent is unacceptable."
CASPIAN sent an open letter to Gillette VP Dick Cantwell July
21 requesting information about the smart shelf and Gillette's
item-level RFID tagging of consumer products. The group also sought
assurances that the company would not condone the photographing
and tracking of consumers anywhere in the world.
"Since Gillette failed to renounce the photographing and
tracking of innocent shoppers, we can only conclude that they
plan to continue down this ill-advised path," says Albrecht.
"We want to send a clear message to Gillette and other companies
that consumers will not tolerate being spied on through the products
Albrecht theorizes that Gillette could face other consequences
besides loss of revenue from their actions. "Photographing
adult consumers has already cost Gillette a loss of consumer goodwill.
But just imagine if a picture of a minor is snapped without permission.
Gillette will have a firestorm on its hands if its shelf photographs
a teenage girl as she bends down to examine Venus shaving products.
Her father, his attorney and the whole world would be knocking
on CEO James Kilt's door."
A copy of the open letter, evidence of Gillette smart shelf trials
and pictures of tagged products are available at the group's new
boycott Gillette web site: http://www.boycottgillette.com.
Gillette is currently the leader in nearly a dozen consumer product
categories. Their products include well-known brands like Gillette
razors and shaving products, Oral-B toothbrushes, Braun appliances
and Duracell batteries.
A more complete list of their products is posted at http://www.boycottgillette.com
to help consumers avoid purchasing Gillette products.
Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN)
is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes
since 1999. With members in all 50 U.S. states and more than 15
nations across the globe, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about
marketing strategies that invade their privacy and to encourage
privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.
For more information about CASPIAN visit http://www.nocards.org.
Katherine Albrecht, CASPIAN Founder and Director: (877) 287-5854
Liz McIntyre, CASPIAN Communications: (877) 287-5854
Mary Starrett, CASPIAN Media Associate: (602) 315-6193
CASPIAN - Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering
A national consumer organization opposing supermarket "loyalty"
cards and other retail surveillance schemes since 1999
We encourage you to duplicate and distribute this message to others.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to the CASPIAN mailing list, click
following link or cut and paste it into your browser:
If you have difficulty with the web-based interface, you may also
subscribe or unsubscribe via email by writing to:
For CASPIAN's overview of RFID product identification and tracking
technology, please see: http://www.BoycottGillette.com/aboutrfid.html