I've received quite a few emails with questions like this: Is Gillette really putting spy chips inside of their products that allow them to spy on consumers at a distance? Is the company surreptitiously snapping photographs of people who pick up their products from store shelves? Are these and other claims being made at the Boycott Gillette
website really true? Well, the strange thing is, as wild as these claims sound, they're actually true. Or rather, they used to be true... and could be true again in the future. Gillette did experiment with putting 'spy chips' (wireless transmitting devices, also known as RFID tags, or Radio Frequency Identification Tags) inside of the packaging of its products. And it did experiment with photographing people who picked up its products in stores. This was all revealed last year (read about it in this Guardian article
). Gillette claims that it's not currently continuing these experiments, but it's still an enthusiastic supporter of the concept of the use of RFID tags, believing that they could help prevent theft and help the company better manage its inventory. They dismiss claims that the chips would be used to spy on people outside of the store. Dick Cantwell, Vice-president of global business management for Gillette, has been quoted in the media as saying that Gillette would probably only consider putting RFID tags in all its products once the price of the tags came down to around one cent each. Maybe in ten years or so. Another organization (besides Boycott Gillette
) that's worried about the privacy concerns that the use of RFID tags raises is Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering
. Personally, I've been boycotting Gillette for years for a different reason. Their razor blades are too expensive. Plus, I don't see a need to have double, triple, or quadruple-bladed razors (or whatever number they're now up too). A cheap single-bladed, generic razor works fine for me.