And, maybe it’s a very clever one. I recall this argument from the days of the UPC barcode rollout, but I never expected to find it associated with CASPIAN — a real position, or a sly way to undermine an activist who has troubled the RFID industry? RFID Foes Find Righteous Ally
As director of the consumer privacy group Caspian, [Katherine] Albrecht is a darling of the mainstream news media too. In hundreds of interviews, in a list of publications that includes Business Week and Times of London, she has warned of privacy risks posed by RFID tags, the radio devices that retailers plan to use as a replacement for bar-code labels.
Albrecht fears that retailers will match the data emitted by the tags with their customers’ information, turning each tag into a potential tracking beacon. She also suspects the government will want access to the retailers’ RFID databases.
But one aspect of Albrecht’s anti-RFID crusade has been attracting a lot of attention from other privacy groups: her religious beliefs.
Albrecht does not often discuss her religious views with reporters. But she believes that RFID technology may be part of the fulfillment of the Mark of the Beast prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
[...] “The Mark of the Beast, 666: a prophesy from 2000 years ago,” says Albrecht, at the beginning of her video, On the Brink of the Mark, produced two years ago. “How many people (know that) technological developments of the last 10 to 20 years could be combining to make the Mark of the Beast a reality, and possibly even in our lifetimes?”
[...] The RFID industry must pay attention to the concerns of those who believe RFID may become the Mark of the Beast, said Peter de Jager, an expert on the adoption of new technologies.
“You have to take the social context into account when implementing a technology,” said de Jager.
[...] But retailers may not have much to fear, as long as Christians don’t have to pay more for their goods, said Tim Miller, professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas and chairman of the editorial board of the Religious Movements Homepage at the University of Virginia.
“There may be lots and lots of preaching,” said Miller, speaking of potential religious opposition to RFID tags. “But as long as the bargains are there, any boycott will not likely have much adverse effect.”
What better way to stifle CASPIAN than associating it with the tinfoil hatters?