Correspondents in Berlin
March 1, 2004
GERMAN retail giant Metro Group will stop putting "smart tag" chips inside customer loyalty cards, a practice that sparked protests by privacy advocates who say the cards could allow stores to secretly track consumers as they shop.
Metro has given out about 10,000 of the cards with embedded Radio Frequency Identification chips since April as part of a broader effort to bring wireless technology into its stores and warehouses.
Cardholders will receive replacements with bar codes, Metro spokesman Albrecht von Truchsess said.
"There are concerns about having customer cards with RFID chips," he said. "We have to take them seriously and discuss them. With such an emotional debate going on, we said it's just not worth it."
Metro's plans to roll out a wireless inventory tracking system in November, involving about 100 of its top suppliers and 250 of its stores, are not affected, Mr von Truchsess said.
News.com, 1. März 2004