Benetton has publicly retreated from plans to fit clothing with tiny
remote surveillance and tracking chips, according to a press release issued Friday, April 4th.
CASPIAN is pleased that Benetton has responded to consumer concerns about privacy and has reassured consumers that none of their clothing currently contains RFID devices. According to CASPIAN's conversations with the company, Benetton has been overwhelmed with negative attention stemming, in large measure, from CASPIAN's call for a
Benetton press release:
"Benetton: No microchips present in garments on sale; No decision yet
taken on industrial use"
CNET article: "Benetton's chip plan unravels"
08:39 Monday 7th April 2003
Wired article: "'Step Back' for Wireless ID Tech?" http://www.wired.com/news/wireless/0,1382,58385,00.html
Benetton's announcement is a vast improvement over the March 11th
press release (issued by Philips Electronics), which implied that
Benetton planned to immediately chip 15 million clothing items. However, we are still
concerned that Benetton has not categorically denied that it will chip
clothing in the future. Instead, Benetton states that it will continue
to "analyze" and "evaluate" the technology. Benetton has expressly
reserved the right to use RFID tracking chip technology in the future.
CASPIAN's original call for a boycott had asked Benetton to:
(a) Publicly renounce its plans to equip clothing with RFID tags
(b) Provide a guarantee to customers that all garments available for
sale by Benetton are "RFID-free"
CASPIAN applauds Benetton for responding to the second of these requests, a move that will reassure many consumers. We encourage Benetton to take the next step toward social responsibility and address consumer concerns over RFID technology by publicly renouncing plans to invest further in the technology.
Benetton's decision represents a victory for consumers across the globe. It is our hope that other companies will follow Benetton's example and assure their customers that "spy chips" will not begin appearing in their products.
Founder & Director, CASPIAN