Katherine Albrecht, the founder of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, was the main guest on Wednesday night. A doctoral candidate at Harvard, Albrecht believes that "retail surveillance" is increasingly invading consumer's privacy.
Albrecht cited the use of grocery store "loyalty cards" as problematic in that they are collecting a great deal of information about purchasers without their awareness. She also mentioned a test by Gillette (which has purchased half-a-billion RFID chips) of "smart shelves" in which a hidden camera snaps a picture of a customers' face anytime they pick up one of their products.
She believes these kinds of technologies are on the verge of spinning out of control, and that by bringing attention to them through CASPIAN, safeguards can be put into place to protect consumer's privacy. Albrecht suggested that ultimately a unique identification number based on a person's DNA could come into widespread usage and this she said could be the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of 666, the mark of the beast. While Albrecht, is a Christian, she stressed that CASPIAN is a secular organization composed of a broad spectrum of people from all walks of life, who have come together to stand up for their privacy rights.
A Visit from the Admiral
Actress Natalija Nogulich (filmography) who played Admiral Nechayev on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine appeared in the first hour of Wednesday's show. She said her part on the series was especially written for her and that she created a biography of her role as the commander to help her realize the character.