Wal-Mart's plans to insert a tracking chip inside individual pairs of jeans and underwear has privacy advocates worried. The retail giant says the RFID chips will make inventory control much more efficient, but privacy groups warn that the chips—which can be removed, but not turned off—could be misused by criminals or unscrupulous marketers, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The tracking chips, which were previously used only on pallets of products, will be attached to individual garments next month. If the trial program is a success, Wal-Mart plans to use the chips on other products. Retail analysts expect other chains will follow suit, and say that beyond improving inventory control and reducing employee theft, using the chips could someday lead to unmanned checkout booths.