CASPIAN Launches Worldwide Tesco Boycott


We are launching a boycott campaign against Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer, for its involvement in item-level RFID tagging trials. These trials, involving tens of thousands of British shoppers, set an unacceptable example for the retail industry.

I appeared on BBC's Newsnight program to announce the boycott to millions of UK consumers last night. (Streaming video of this announcement will be available online today only; see details below.) Tesco is taking the boycott seriously and issued a statement to the BBC acknowledging the trials, while attempting to downplay their importance.

If you are a Tesco shopper, please join the boycott. Stop by your local store this week and tell the manager that you intend to shop elsewhere until they stop putting RFID tags on consumer products. If you cannot avoid shopping at Tesco, we ask that you purchase only strictly necessary items there.

Next, please refer friends, family members and colleagues to our informational website, http://www.BoycottTesco.com, and ask them to join you. If you have a website or blog, please print a mention of the boycott and post a link to the new site.

The boycott will remain in effect until Tesco assures us that no products on their shelves have been RFID tagged. The only way to stop the escalation of RFID on consumer products is to send a strong economic message to Tesco that consumers won't stand for it.

In freedom,
Katherine Albrecht, CASPIAN


Tuesday's Newsnight program will be available for replay today until 10:30 PM London time/5:30 PM New York time at the Newsnight website:


Real Player users can scroll forward to the 30:44 time stamp to view the Tesco RFID segment.


January 26, 2005


Consumers react to UK retailer's planned expansion of item-level RFID

CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) has launched a worldwide boycott of Tesco in response to the retailer's escalating use of RFID on consumer products. CASPIAN Founder and Director Katherine Albrecht made the announcement to millions of viewers watching BBC Newsnight, the popular UK news program, on Tuesday. Tesco is the world's third largest retailer, with over 2,300 stores across Europe and Asia.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, a controversial technology that hooks miniature antennas up to tiny computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to track items at a distance. The technology raises privacy concerns because RFID tagged items can be monitored invisibly right through items consumers normally consider private, like clothing, purses, backpacks and wallets.

During the BBC segment, Albrecht outlined CASPIAN member objections to Tesco's expansion of its item-level RFID tagging trials, saying they "would involve potentially hundreds of thousands more shoppers....it essentially means that more people will be taking home items containing [RFID] spychips." She concluded, "that's simply unacceptable."

Newsnight correspondent Paul Mason said Tesco was taking the announcement of the boycott "seriously," and read a prepared statement from the retailer that was intended to assure consumers that the store did not have plans to track products after purchase.

Mason concluded that "all the big names in this [RFID] industry will be watching this battle very intently."

Tuesday's Newsnight program will be available for replay until Wednesday evening at the Newsnight website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsa/n5ctrl/tvseq/newsnight/newsnight.ram. Real Player users can scroll forward to the 30:44 time stamp to view the Tesco RFID segment.

CASPIAN has launched http://www.boycottTesco.com in conjunction with its boycott announcement. The site details Tesco's RFID involvement, including its past misconduct with the controversial Gillette RFID "smart shelf."

Albrecht vows to maintain the boycott until Tesco complies with the moratorium on item-level RFID tagging of consumer goods as outlined in a position statement endorsed by CASPIAN and over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil liberties organizations. (See Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products at

"We believe Tesco's decision to pursue item-level RFID tagging is irresponsible," Albrecht added. "We're calling on consumers to boycott the chain until the practice is stopped. If people must shop at Tesco, we are asking them to reduce their purchases. After all, as Tesco says, 'every little helps.'"

Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999. With thousands of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, 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, see:
http://www.spychips.com and http://www.nocards.org


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Januar 2005

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