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Tag with a price: Adidas RFID tracking could be used to spy on clothes’ owners

‘Adidas has sewn RFID tags into national football team’s jerseys, raising concerns from human rights organizations, claiming that such clothes could be easily turned into tracking devices revealing a person’s location, Deutsche Welle reports.

The sportswear maker insists it is not going to track football fans using RFID tags, and has said customers can dispose of the tag if they don’t want to wear it, yet digital privacy experts point out that tags implanted in clothes hold great surveillance potential.

About half a year ago Adidas started an experiment of implanting permanent RFID tags into German national team soccer jerseys, which are being sold like hot potatoes after the German team won the FIFA World Cup.

The questionable practice was reported by Germany’s “digitalcourage” Internet freedom group, and was confirmed by Adidas.

As part of a logistics project we have tested for the first time an RFID label with a virtual number. It is a read-only label without any additional data. The label is not tied to the article number, size or color of the article and we also can’t link it with end customer data. It is of course up to customer of this product to cut out the RFID label along the dashed line and throw it in the trash,” Adidas said to Deutsche Welle in a statement.

The company nevertheless declined to comment whether the customers should be informed about the RFID marks they wear when they buy an item.’

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