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Katherine Albrecht: The Premier Advocate for Consumer Privacy

Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Harvard University graduate, renown speaker and media personality, is arguably the premier consumer privacy advocate in America and increasingly so around the world. Her battles against retail stores’ undeclared invasion of consumer information, purchasing patterns and even tracking have captured attention in both the media and in boardrooms.

Dr. Albrecht founded the consumer privacy advocacy group, CASPIAN, which stands for Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, in 1999. Her goal was to assert consumers’ rights to privacy in retail purchases, and she has successfully campaigned against use of RFID chips—microchips included in products and packaging that can track consumers locations, stores visited and purchasing habits. She has since testified before the Federal Trade Commission, state legislature committees, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the European Commission on RFID technology…

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is used to monitor products along the supply chain, determining the location of the product unit. Because the chip is embedded in the actual product in many cases, it can also be used to track the user or purchaser. Marketers gather geographical information, preferred stores and, when in credit cards and bank cards, what purchases are made.

While most commercial applications of RFID chips are theft protection-oriented, technology exists that enables private information about the actual consumer to be transmitted via automatic readers. Often, the consumer has no idea that his actions and habits are being tracked.

Dr. Albrecht’s exposure of business misconduct regarding RFID technology has prompted such national and international media attention from such influential outlets as Executive Technology Magazine, Wired, Advertising Age, the London Times and Business Week, to name only a few. She has been featured on NPR, the CBS Evening News, CNN and other national and international news programs.

Check out the interview we did with Katherine on: March 16th, 2007

    RFID What is it? and why should we care? Imagine a future with no privacy whatsoever, that’s where we are headed! Special guest; Dr. Katherine Albrecht Founder and Director, CASPIAN Consumer Privacy…

She has forced such conglomerates as Walmart, Metro Supermarket, the Grocery Manufacturing Association and other corporations and marketers to desist using RFID technology to track consumers and to disavow future plans to use it in either individual product units or in store cards.

Dr. Albrecht is co-author of the Spychips series of books that rocketed to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list two days prior to the release of the original book, “Spychips: How Major Corporations Plan to Track your Every Move with RFID.” The ensuing Spychips books have also sold extremely well and quickly.

Dr. Albrecht has stated she isn’t advocating for legislation or regulation. Her advocacy stance outlines a desire for marketers to cease collecting private consumer information. When confronted by a background investigation, tagged by its originator as a hunt for ‘juicy information’ to discredit her, and a request for personal information by Germany’s Metro Supermarket, she steadfastly refused to give her age and source of income, declaring it as private information.

She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, specializing in International Marketing. She also possesses a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University with a research base in consumer education, psychology and privacy—a foundation which has served her well in her consumer privacy advocate role.

    About the Author:
    JC Ryan is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com.
    My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses, they can choose from to reach their goals. My Colleges and Careers also provides information on culinary arts schools.

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