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This article misses the point:

BBC: Alarm over shopping radio tags

…We are all familiar with barcodes, those product fingerprints that save cashiers the bother of keying in the code number of everything we buy. Now, meet their replacement: the RFID tag, or radio frequency ID tag.

These smart labels consist of a tiny chip surrounded by a coiled antenna… While barcodes need to be manually scanned, RFID simply broadcasts its presence and data to electronic readers.

The article goes on to explain how these RFID tags will introduce all sort of (legitimate) privacy concerns, whereas the big supermarkets simply want them to help automate the transport of goods to the shelves.

That's as maybe, but the real reason why the supermarkets want to introduce RFID tags—the one you never hear them mention—is that the tags will save them the bother and expense of employing hundreds of thousands of low-paid checkout and shelf-stacking staff, thereby increasing their already massive profits.

And will we be prepared to stand for that? Of course we will, if it makes our tins of baked beans a couple of pence cheaper. Even more so if it means we don't need to go to the supermarket at all.


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