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Category: RFID, Automated Data Collection, and oInternet of Things

RFID, AIDC and IoT New Round Up for September 2, 2020

 

Victoria's Secret Says It's not Tracking Consumers with Bra RFID; Fake Bar Codes Used to Steal as Much as $1 Million in Merchandise from Home Depot; Toppan Announces New RFID-Powered e-Ink Paper-like Display

 

August 2, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are three of the top stories in automated data collection, RFID and the Internet of Things in recent weeks.

Victoria's Secret Says It's not Tracking Consumers with Bra RFID

Dating at least as far back as the early 2000s and former Harvard professor Katherine Albrecht and her book "Spy Chips," there have been concerns in some corners of the privacy movement that RFID chips in consumer goods would be used to track unsuspecting shoppers, though the issue has largely died down of late. (See As RFID Mounts Something of a Comeback in Retail, Privacy Issues of the 2000s haven't come Back.)

But the worries resurface every now and again, and lately there have been fresh internet rumors that retail chain Victoria's Secret is using RFID chips that it embeds in bras for nefarious purposes.

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Police also found dozens of bar codes that authorities say are for other similar products, but which are of much less value..

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One TikTok video in June alleging the chips were used for tracking consumers outside the stores generated nearly three million hearts, and there now more than a dozen YouTube videos making this some version of this sam claim.

The negative PR forced Victoria's Secret to issue a statement emphatically denying the spurious charges.

In a statement provided to Fast Company, a spokeswoman for the company said:
"Like many other retailers, this technology helps us deliver a great store experience by ensuring we have the right products available for our customers. We only use this technology in our back room and sales floors to help us manage inventory so that our associates can efficiently support our customers' needs."

Snopes, a fact-checking organization, has also published an article debunking the claim that the chips track customers. "These tags only have a range of a few meters," the article reads. "Furthermore, these tags don't have any sort of battery in them, meaning they are only of use within range of a scanner."

YouTube created a "fact check" panel that links to the Snopes article that pops up when you search for "Victoria's Secret" and "tracker." It clearly states that the claim that the lingerie brand is tracking customers with RFID tags is "false." But videos continue to pop up making the claim.

Fake Bar Codes Used to Steal as Much as $1 Million in Merchandise from Home Depot

Perhaps as much as $1 million in merchandise has recently been stolen from Home Depot stores in Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa, Minnesota, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Texas, and Indiana by an organized crime gang using the common "fake bar code strategy." The plot was discovered when police saw suspicious activity at a Home Depot parking lot in Spring Hill, TN.

Upon investigation, they found two men with a box load of merchandise purchased at the store. The goods included high-grade USB chargers and expensive electric switches that routinely sell for $50 and $60. Police also found dozens of bar codes that authorities say are for other similar products, but which are of much less value.

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In this instance, the thieves put the new labels on the merchandise and self-scanned $50-$60 items for as little as $4. Police say all of the material obtained from the men's car is worth close to $15,000.

Across many stores in the states noted above, Home Depot tells authorities the total loss figure is between $500,000 and $1,000,000, as this story keeps repeating itself after decades of similar scams.

 

Toppan Announces New RFID-Powered e-Ink Paper-like Display

Japanese company Toppan Printing has released a new passive RFID tag that can generate images – including bar codes - on electronic paper displays.

When the battery RFID chip is energized by a reader, it can be programmed to display text and images using "e-paper," as seen in the photo nearby. The electronic paper display needs no backlight and provides excellent visibility in ambient light conditions, the company says.

Among many potential applications, the technology would allow a linear or 2D bar code on a container such as a tote to be changed without the need to actually relabel it.

Any reaction to the stories in this week's roundup? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

 

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