Wal-Mart's plan to use smart RFID tags sparks privacy concerns


Wal-Mart is trying to keep better track of its inventory by adding smart tags, or RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, to individual items in its stores. But privacy experts and consumers are worried that store merchandise won't be the only thing it tracks.

Starting next month the tags, which the retailing giant previously used on pallets carrying products, will be embedded in the items you buy at the store. Equipped with a handheld reader, store workers will be able to quickly check the stock of an item on a shelf by scanning the tag. In addition to managing inventory, Walmart hopes that the tags will help curb employee theft by allowing the store to track the clothing throughout the store. Privacy experts are concerned, however, that the tracking may occur beyond the store.

Originally published