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Thursday, September 11, 2003

Protest The Prison Planet !

Protest Planned at World Launch of RFID Spy Chip Network
CASPIAN will demonstrate during Gillette "Reasons to Believe" speech

September 10, 2003

Consumers will protest the "EPC Symposium" at Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center Tuesday, September 16 at 10 AM. The Symposium is scheduled to showcase the world launch of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) network.

The EPC network, nicknamed by proponents "The Internet of Things," was designed to connect all items on the planet to computer databases via miniature RFID "spy chips." The stated purpose of the network is to tag and track every manufactured item with a unique EPC identification number.

Corporations like Gillette, Procter & Gamble and Unilever plan to embed EPC-compliant RFID chips in consumer products and product packaging. "We have serious privacy and civil liberties concerns about this technology. Corporations and governments could use it to register products to
individuals and secretly track them after purchase," says Katherine Albrecht, Founder and Director of CASPIAN.

"Businesses have dismissed consumer concerns by characterizing RFID as an 'improved bar code,' but RFID is very different," says Albrecht. "These RFID spy chips can be read silently from a distance, right through your clothes, wallet, backpack or purse by anyone with the right reader device.
For example, the chips can be secretly embedded in credit cards or sewn into the seams of pants where they can be used to observe people's movements without their knowledge or consent."

The 10 AM protest time was chosen to coincide with a speech by Gillette Vice President Dick Cantwell entitled, "Reasons to Believe." "Protesting during Mr. Cantwell's speech is particularly appropriate," says Albrecht. "Gillette has never answered consumers' questions regarding its use of RFID, and we find the use of religious terminology in the title of his
speech disturbing."

Gillette is the target of a worldwide boycott for its involvement with RFID-enabled "smart shelves" that have been used by the Tesco retail chain in England to secretly photograph consumers.

CASPIAN has delayed announcing protest details due to restrictions placed on First Amendment activities by McCormick Place. ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz, who is representing CASPIAN in this matter, has issued a letter to McCormick Place authorities requesting that protestors be allowed to express themselves inside the convention center, close to the
EPC Symposium event.

"We are grateful for the ACLU's help," says CASPIAN spokeswoman Liz McIntyre. "With their assistance, we are now confident that we will be able to exercise our free speech rights in accordance with the law."

In addition to the live protest in Chicago, consumers from around the world will stage their own local protests of the EPC launch. For example, consumers in England plan to protest on Monday, September 15 at a Tesco supermarket in Sandhurst, Surrey. Details of that protest are available at

Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999. With members in all 50 U.S. states and more than 15 nations around
the globe, 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 about the protest visit

Katherine Albrecht, CASPIAN Founder and Director:
(877) 287-5854
Liz McIntyre, CASPIAN Communications:
(877) 287-5854 or
Mary Starrett, CASPIAN Media Associate: (602) 315-6193


posted by Vetzine


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