March 1, 2004 – Germany retail giant Metro Group said it will replace RFID chips in customer identification cards with barcodes, due to concerns voiced by customers and privacy advocates, according to the Associated Press.
Metro had introduced out about 10,000 of the RFID cards in April 2003 at a store in Rheinberg, Germany, near the company’s headquarters in Duesseldorf. The RFID chip in the customer cards had allowed shoppers aged 16 and up to preview film recordings; a playback device in the store showed the movie when it sensed a card approaching.
“We never saw a privacy problem,” said Metro spokesman Albrecht von Truchsess, but “with such an emotional debate going on, we said it’s just not worth it.”
Despite the setback, Metro still plans to roll out a wireless inventory tracking system in November, involving about 100 suppliers and 250 of its stores.