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Katherine Albrecht: Religiously Motivated?

Many people may not be aware of anti-RFID evangelist Katherine Albrecht's religious beliefs.
Tags: Privacy
Jul 15, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 15, 2005—Most people that follow the RFID industry have heard about the technology's associated privacy issues, and most people that follow the privacy issues have heard about Katherine Albrecht, the very vocal, organized, and motivated evangelist whose name is synonymous with the anti-RFID effort. Wired News this week did an article on Albrecht, which noted her impressive academic credentials (a masters from Harvard, with a doctorate from same in the works), media savvy (hundreds of interviews, including Business Week and Times of London), and good looks ("youthful-looking and attractive, with fair skin and cherry-blonde hair"). Anyone who has seen an Albrecht interview, whether or not they agree with her, is immediately struck by her effectiveness. She is articulate, poised, and, despite the shrill, alarmist nature of her message, measured in her delivery.

What many may not be aware of, probably due to Albrecht's aforementioned savvy, are her religious beliefs. According to Wired, she worries -- as many Christians with literal interpretations of the Bible do -- that RFID may be the technological enabler of the Mark of the Beast described in the Book of Revelations as one of many signs heralding the biblical end of the world. She has even produced a video on the topic, for sale online.

To non-Christians, such beliefs may seem extreme and could undermine or even discredit Albrecht's arguments. After all, she markets herself as a defender of the citizenry from ever-encroaching control by big business and government, not as a Christian alerting humanity to the impending Endtimes. But perhaps these two motivations are not mutually exclusive. She might well be a Christian that can't help but acknowledge the similarities between the VeriChip and the Mark of the Beast, while also an activist who sees tracking and tracing as the first steps toward a nightmarish Orwellian future.

Regardless of her motivations and beliefs, what irks most in the industry are her tactics. She makes liberal use of the word "spy" when writing or talking about RFID, demonizing it at every opportunity. Rather than an objective assessment, she glosses over the technology's limitations and other facts that make her vision of ubiquitous people-tracking extremely unlikely.

Finally, Wired notes that privacy advocates against RFID want to use Albrecht to help them bridge the divide and join forces with Mark-of-the-Beast believers. Said one privacy advocate, "I have a lot of time for Katherine Albrecht and for the Endtime people, when it comes to this particular issue... I can work with anyone willing to fight this stuff." The question is, if Albrecht did unite these two factions, how much trouble would it cause for the industry?

Read the article at Wired News
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