Wal-Mart smart tag worries overwrought

The InterTubes are a a-flutter with articles about Wal-Mart's plans to use RFID smart tags on clothing. The little tags are readable via wireless handheld devices, and the new system will allow Wal-Mart to manage inventory better. Every article I have read, including this reasonably well-balanced one from USA Today, talks about "privacy concerns." But USA Today, near the end of the article, provides the necessary information to understand just how big the privacy threat is: not very big. The RFID tags will be removable, and will probably just be embedded in or attached to existing price/product tags. So when you take the item home, you cut off the product tags as you usually would, and Wal-Mart can no longer 'track' your item. And they could only track it if you went back in the store, and so on.

I have a lot of issues with privacy, especially with "free" Internet services that track what I do online. I'm planning a camping trip and have been using several search engines to find some camping items. And lo--almost every Web page I look at now seems to have ads from camping supply stores, meaning that the search engines have a dossier that is actively updated with the results of my searches. That I don't like at all, and no, I don't find it "convenient" that the search engines helpfully pepper me with targeted ads.

But the Wal-Mart tags? That I'm not at all worried about.

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I think people are overly-sensitive. I could care less about Wal-mart knowing where I am in their store. Again, there is always the option of not going there in the first place. Don't play in someone else's game and then complain about the rules.