The BigBrotherAward in the category “Economy” goes to Mr Markus Hankammer, CEO of Brita GmbH, for the firm’s water vending machines, marketed under the name “Schoolwater”. These machines deliver water only when a school child taps them with a bottle that is bugged with an RFID chip. Several times in recent years, we have highlighted the threats posed by radio chips, which can be read without touch or line of sight and without the bearer noticing it. This waterbottle system is a glaring example of the industry’s attempts to establish a culture of overtechnisation, surveillance and blatant paternalism from early childhood. We also criticise that this system turns water into an expensive and exclusive foodstuff, instead of providing it without restriction to children in school in order to advance public health.
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