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June 10, 2006

Arkansas joins the fight against NAIS

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Arkansas has launched a "stop NAIS (Nat'l Animal ID System) program" with meetings in Fayetteville on 7-1-06, and in Conway on 7-9-06.

You go, Arkansas!

-Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 11:00 PM | Comments (3)

California lawmaker introduces bill to ENCOURAGE use of RFID

The RFID industry, not content to send out paid lobbyists to destroy every RFID labeling bill that comes along, is now apparently encouraging government representatives to promote RFID as a privacy enhancing technology. These guys have no shame.

Here's how Contactless News breathlessly reports the development:

A new "common sense" RFID bill that encourages the use of RFID technology in state government IDs, while addressing privacy concerns of citizens and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, is gaining traction in California.

The bill, AB 2561, co-sponsored by Silicon Valley State Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, represents a more sensible approach to privacy and remotely readable identification cards than previously proposed bill, says the American Electronics Association (AeA), a technology advocacy membership organization, and co-sponsor of the legislation....

The hope, from the AeA's perspective, is that the new Torrico bill will help foster consumer acceptance of RFID technology, says Ms. Gould. So far, more than one-dozen states have attempted to pass legislation either limiting or prohibiting the use of RFID. Much of the legislation - and consumer support for such legislation - is based on false or exaggerated propaganda, members of the AeA contend.

While privacy is a serious issue, many consumers are unaware of the power of RFID to actually protect privacy - not thwart it, says Ms. Gould.

This reminds me of the sort of propaganda we used to hear from the nuclear power industry. "Nuclear power is CLEAN energy! It's GOOD for the environment!" (Never mind those tons of glowing nuclear waste we have to bury in the desert...that's irrelevant.)

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I had fun poking around to see who funds the illustrious assemblyman Alberto Torrico. Not surprisingly, I found his coffers contain funds from such infamous RFID players as Cingular Wireless (whose parent company, Bell South, wants to pick through your garbage at the dump to glean marketing data about your household), Hewlett Packard (the main company deploying item-level RFID on consumer products today), Boeing (who got AIM Global to develop the "Aim RFID Mark"), Bank of America (with a patent out for billboards that ID you through your spychipped belongings as you walk past), Intel (who wants to rig your medicine cabinet with RFID readers to monitor your use of tagged prescripotion drugs), and Target (one of the largest retailers with a major RFID initiative underway).

Can somebody in Fremont, Milpitas, or Castro Valley send Mr. Torrico a polite note abuot this? The "false or exaggerated propaganda" part really undermines the AEA's commitment to protecting privacy. Torrico should know who he's gotten into bed with. Here's Torrico's district map and contact information.

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 9:31 PM | Comments (3)

June 9, 2006

Dr. Albrecht, Finally!

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I am thrilled to report that as of 11:00 AM yesterday, I am now officlally Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D.

An Ed.D. is a Doctorate in Education (each of Harvard's graduate schools has a separate designation for its doctorates, e.g., D.B.A. for the Business School, Th.D. for the divinity school, D.Des. for the design school, Ph.D. for Arts & Sciences, etc.). My doctorate is in Human Development and Psychology, and within that, my research focus is Consumer Education and privacy.

My dissertation, titled "Supermarket 'Loyalty' Cards and Consumer Privacy Education: An Examination into Consumer Knowledge about Cards' Data Collection Function," is a quantitative (statistically-based) research study to determine people's awareness of a commonplace privacy threat. I found that only 25% of American consumers know that supermarket cards collect a record of their purchases, and that education plays a significant role in that awareness.

I offer many heartfelt thanks to all the professors, family members, friends, and loved ones who have supported me to achieve this goal. I could never have done it without you.

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 9:40 AM | Comments (23)