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CNET reports this morning that that clothing maker and retailer Benetton has backed off its announced plan to put Radio Frequency identification (RFID) tags on all its products, allowing it to track items from factory to stores, though there were concerns in some quarters that RFID capabilities also will allow tracking products to people’s homes and build databases of information about their shopping and consumption behavior.

The decision is perceived as a victory for privacy advocates, and a setback for Philips Electronics, which had planned to ship some 15 million RFID tags for Benetton products alone.

“We are currently analyzing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to evaluate its technical characteristics and no feasibility studies have yet to be undertaken with a view to the possible introduction of this technology,” Benetton said in a statement. “No microchips are present in the more than 100 million garments produced and sold throughout the world under Benetton's brand names.”
KC's View:
At some level, breakthroughs in usage of technologies like RFID are as much political as scientific, because so many concerns about privacy issues need to be dealt with.

RFID is inevitable, and in so many ways, it makes sense. Will there have to be limitations? Sure. Will government and industry have to do a better job of assuaging consumer concerns? Absolutely.