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DoCoMo Starts Cell Phone Smart Card Trial

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the swipe-and-run dept.

Handhelds 130

virtualXTC writes "The Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo and electronics giant Sony will begin a trial of cell phones with embedded smart cards with speed pass-like capabilities that will allow the user to purchase anything from travel passes to movie tickets just by placing their cell phone near an electronic reader. Potentially the smart card 'can serve as an ID card, travel pass, or login for a corporate computer network, all at the same time'. If they'd just attach a money clip to it, I could get rid of my wallet entirely."

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130 comments

NOT QUITE FIRST POST BUT I DON'T FUCKING CARE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7738990)

about this article, or the fact that I FAIL IT

Re:NOT QUITE FIRST POST BUT I DON'T FUCKING CARE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7738998)

01000110011101010110001101101011001000000111100101 10111101110101001000000110000101101110011001000010 00000111010001101000011001010010000001101000011011 11011100100111001101100101001000000111100101101111 01110101001000000110001101100001011011000110110000 10000001100001001000000110110101101111011101000110 100001100101011100100010111000100000

Re:NOT QUITE FIRST POST BUT I DON'T FUCKING CARE (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739483)

I actually admire you more for facing the possibility that you didn't make first post.

I love you for not caring about it.

There's a lot of love in this room.

Me, I'm keeping my wallet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7738992)

Sure, electronic payment is convenient, but nothing says anonymous like cash.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739029)

Nothing says anonymous like a walk-by identity theft.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (5, Funny)

trentblase (717954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739077)

Just don't get any dna on your bills

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739273)

I'm sure there's a lot of other DNA on the bills. They wouldn't be able to track you with it (unless maybe the bill was fresh, and even so).

Sure it's *technically* possible.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (2, Funny)

Virtex (2914) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739411)

Not to worry, they can't identify my. I mean it's not like they can get DNA from a little nose bleed.

Me, I'm keeping my wallet-Bill-(ions). (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739138)

"Sure, electronic payment is convenient, but nothing says anonymous like cash."

Comfort is a full wallet. Broke is an empty bank account. Prosperity is a job.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (1)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739153)

Not really. How many bank robbers have been caught by the serial numbers on the stolen cash? All it takes is a TIA-like DB that records all serial number transactions, and voila! instant lack of anonynimity! Sure, it'd make mistakes, but who cares? Certianally not corporations or the gov't...

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (3, Informative)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739313)

Bank robbers are not caught using serial numbers. They are convicted with serial numbers. When I was a teller (many years ago now so it may have changed) they used to have a stack of 100's that we kept logged in our drawer. If we were robbed the log of numbers went to the cops to aid in conviction. There are far too many places to pass off bills for it to be an effective way to actually catch anybody.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739461)

Who the heck wants to type in the serial number of every dollar they accept into some remote terminal to a giant government database? Especially given that making bills hard to counterfit also makes them hard on OCR software, and how worn and abused (written on) bills get over the years. Not to mention the logistics of deploying millions of these endpoint terminals and maintaining the database.

Corporations and governments may not care about mistakes, but they certainly care about cost.

'Convenient' for who? (3, Insightful)

Mu*puppy (464254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739312)

I mean, really. Time it, cash transaction versus the credit swipe... the approval... waiting for the receipt... singing the receipt. Want to leave the table after a nice dinner? Fine, slip your bills into the payment binder thing, use your change for the server's tip (provided you don't have only big bills), get up, get out. No signatures, no electronic trails.

Nothing says 'anonymous' more than cash, and cash still goes places where American Express/Visa/whatever have not been, and probably never will be. Bills still talk a lot louder than plastics...

And it doesn't cost anything for the 'privlege' of spending your own damn money when you use cash...

Kinda tells you something, when the world of 'credit' is starting to favor people who the creditors know will default and be indentured for years upon years to come......

Re:'Convenient' for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739360)

Unless you have exactly the right amount in cash it is usually faster to pay with a credit card. Many restaurants can take credit cards anywhere but cash is often handled only at the bar.

Re:'Convenient' for who? (2, Informative)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739818)

"cash still goes places where American Express/Visa/whatever have not been and probably never will be."

That includes the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions that are not legal (drugs, prostitution, most gambling).

IIRC, drugs are about 4% (by value) of all international trade.

-B

Re:'Convenient' for who? (2, Insightful)

antis0c (133550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739855)

While this may be true for some.

Others like myself never see a pay check or go to the bank. My pay is direct deposited into my account. I have a VISA Checkcard.

If I decide to go to a Steakhouse, I have three choices for payment:

1) One, make a stopover at the nearest ATM and spend 2 extra dollars because its probably not my banks.

2) Drive further too my bank's ATM but waste more time and gas.

3) Pay with my checkcard, at the expensive of 3 - 5 minutes I would have normally spent chatting with the people I had dinner with.

Now which is more Convenient.

Nothing says 'anonymous' more than cash, and cash still goes places where American Express/Visa/whatever have not been, and probably never will be. Bills still talk a lot louder than plastics...

Really? Can you order a CD off Amazon with cash? How about the latest OpenBSD? How about from Canada?

And it doesn't cost anything for the 'privlege' of spending your own damn money when you use cash...

It sure does. Unless you carry your cash around with you all the time you still need to access it from an ATM which can carry fees, drive to the bank and withdraw, not to mention there are probably fees your bank charges.

Kinda tells you something, when the world of 'credit' is starting to favor people who the creditors know will default and be indentured for years upon years to come......

No where have I charged on credit either.

It's also not as anonymous as you'd think. While maybe for small charges, you spend cash on anything large, again unless you store your cash under your bed or in a hole in the back yard, there are records of you withdrawing money. Think you're so anonymous paying with that 20? It got dispensed with the serial numbers recorded from somebody. The teller, the ATM. Theres cameras there.

Bring on the trolls!

Or, if you're in Canada. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740028)

"If I decide to go to a Steakhouse, I have three choices for payment:"

1) Interac, which is essentialy a mini-ATM which moves the exact amount from your bank account to the store/restraunt's bank account.

2) Credit card (everything's usually accepted).

3) Cash, which is the same as the ATM methods above (perhaps it's 2 options to some..).

I'm still surprised that the US has nothing like Interac in widespread deployment. Everywhere in Canada has had Interac for 8 or more years, yet US banks still only have it deployed in some US cities as a test case. Crazy.

...doesn't cost anything (2, Insightful)

Tmack (593755) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740485)

And it doesn't cost anything for the 'privlege' of spending your own damn money when you use cash...

Doesnt cost ME anything for using my credit card either, so long as I pay the balance by the due date. Granted the buisness that accepts my card pays a small % to the card company (and/or maybe a flat fee as well), I still pay nothing. I actually GET money for using the card too. There is a big misconception of people who never use a card and always hear about the horrors of credit card debt. You wont accumulate the debt unless you spend more than you can afford to pay off once the billing cycle ends. You also do not get charged anything if you dont carry a balance and your card has no anual fee, and dont use it to get cash advance via ATM, and dont go over your limit (if you do, you need to re-evaluate your finances). Just pay off the balance in full, not just minimum payment, and you pay only what you spent. If you shop around for a good card, you even get "rewards" for using the card instead of cash, like a % back, or points/miles towards purchases/plane tix. In the 8 years or so of using ccards for payment the only time I had to pay more than what I spent was for a laptop I let half the cost ride the card for an extra month as I couldnt pay in full on the due date.

Tm

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (2)

MisanthropicProggram (597526) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739398)

You bet!
There's nothing I hate more than retailers who want: Name, address, and phone # when purchasing in cash. I tell them:
"My name is Argo FickyoSilf"
I know that they're not using all of this information. So why the fuck do they want it?!? I think they're collecting it because they think they can use it or they don't have a fucking clue - the real reason I think they want it is because their off-the-shelf software asks for it. Which means. Joe-local-retailer has no use for it - unless he wants to send junk mail to them. Whcih is a waste of money!

I've worked for a couple of retailers: that's why I know.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739489)

Another satisfied Radio Shack customer! To be fair, my local RatShack stopped asking for all of my personal information last year. I think when the screen comes up the guy just enters all 0s or something for the zip code and phone number.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739597)

Are you kidding? Customer demographics is a gold-mine for the marketing department! That is why they ask for your address, or at the very least your zip. If I'm a retailer of fine clothing and can determine that my biggest customer base is located in the richest part of the city, why waste time marketing to the homeless downtown?! I'm gonna send my flyers to those suburbs where all my customer's come from. Don't underestimate the power of data. Knowledge is indeed power, which is why it is sometimes misused in pursuit of additional power.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739760)

That's why I confuse them and give them the zipcode I grew up in on the other side of the country.

Re:Me, I'm keeping my wallet (1)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740433)

This concept has just been rolled out in downtown Toronto with a system called Dexit [dexit.com] .

The Dexit chip comes either as a key fob or a sticker for your cell phone. Most of the merchants in the PATH [toronto.on.ca] (downtown underground network) have a Dexit reader at their till, which reads the Dexit RFID tag.
The cost is $1.50 for every $100 you load on the card, with no transactional fees. It claims to be "easier than cash, faster than credit", but the big value proposition seems to be food - most food merchants won't take debit cards due to time constraints, but they will take Dexit.

Just a few concerns I have (5, Interesting)

digitalvengeance (722523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739002)

While I love this idea in principle, I do have a few concerns before I welcome our new overlords.

What about standards? The article compares the smart chip technique to credit cards, but credit cards use a pseudo-standardized magnetic strip methodology. Are retailers to have 10 different receivers sitting at their POS terminals for 10 different cell phone/smart card providers? Along these lines - adopting early could be dangerous as one may invest in hardware that does not conform to the final standard and therefore be useless.

What about security? Until more information about how the protocol works, how security is maintained, and exactly how one can control what information is broadcasted is released, can we really trust this technology with our personal information? And this doesn't even begin to cover eavesdropping. (My tinfoil hat may be disrupting my thinking here)

When I hand my credit card to a clerk, I know exactly what information will be gleaned by the scanner from the magnetic strip. It doesn't change. What happens when I get a firmware upgrade on my phone? Can I trust that I am still secure from unauthorized access or even that my phone/ID/credit card gizmo is still only transmitting information that I approve?

One interesting alternative to this close-contact technology would be an internet-based alternative. In this scenario, my phone would use XML over SSL or some other standardized system to tell my provider to tell the POS that I am there and to relay what other information is necessary. Using this method, software-based upgrades could take care of standardization without any modification to hardware.

Re:Just a few concerns I have (3, Informative)

pbox (146337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739088)

Taking into account the fact that Japan is possibly the last of the developed countries where you can use your ATM card ONLY at your bank's machine, it is more han likely that DoCoMo's smartcard would only work at DoCoMo's POS terminals, plus other places which have (possibly exclusive) business relationship (ie. clients) with DoCoMo.

Let's wait for ISO, ASA, or some standarization body, this won't cut it.

BTW, in Finland and most of Western Europe, (and in Japan too) you can pay for your snack purchases by you phone (no need for the smartcard), so what is exactly news about this??

Re:Just a few concerns I have (1)

shimpei (3348) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740750)

Um, where should I start?
  • The communication technology used in FeliCa, the Sony smartcard technology being used here, was approved as ISO/IEC IS 18092 last week.
  • The only thing DoCoMo is providing is a Java platform on the cell phone that can write to the smartcard; it's up to vendors like Edy (the joint venture doing the electronic money stuff), railway companies, airlines, etc., to come up with the actual applications. If all you want is to be able to accept electronic currency, you just sign up with Edy, not DoCoMo.
  • The biggest advantage of the smartcard is that it's "swipe and go"--no need to punch keys on your phone in order to pay. One second vs. ten seconds is a big deal at train turnstiles and kiosks.
  • Finally, as a side not, almost every Japanese bank is now part of the national ATM interchange (MICS), and will let you withdraw from other banks for about $2. AFAIK, this has been true for years.

Re:Just a few concerns I have (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739349)

Along these lines - adopting early could be dangerous as one may invest in hardware that does not conform to the final standard and therefore be useless.

If you're the merchant, you don't want to buy the hardware, you want to lease it. Early adoption doesn't hurt you then.

If you're the consumer, well, my last three cell phones have cost me a total of $0, since I haven't minded signing contracts for my cell service. If the next one costs the same, I won't mind if it's the wrong one. :-)

Re:Just a few concerns I have (3, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739382)

What about security? Until more information about how the protocol works, how security is maintained, and exactly how one can control what information is broadcasted is released, can we really trust this technology with our personal information? And this doesn't even begin to cover eavesdropping. (My tinfoil hat may be disrupting my thinking here)

From the description, this thing works just like Esso Speedpass dongles, in that, the thing needs to be within around 2 cm ( 1 inch ) for it to trigger and transmit the needed data.

The only way anyone could eavesdrop on or steal your CC number using this system is if he has his hands in your pants. And if some unknown guy has his hands down your pants, you've got much bigger problems than your credit info.

Assuming it's also tied to a PIN you enter on your phone, it's also much more secure than the old swipe, where the waitress/retailer has full access to your card #, expiry date, and name.

Concerns still valid: Car Tag, Watch (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739930)

Foo: What about security? ... And this doesn't even begin to cover eavesdropping.
Bar: From the description, this thing works just like Esso Speedpass dongles, in that, the thing needs to be within around 2 cm ( 1 inch ) for it to trigger and transmit the needed data/

However, when Mobil first introduced the Speedpass, they also had a "Car Tag" version (still mentioned in the FAQ [speedpass.com] ). It was larger, and mounted on the back window near the fuel cap. All you had to do was pull up to the pump, and an antenna above the pump would do the work. That implies an active distance of 6-10 feet, with a greatly increased vulnerability to eavesdropping.

I haven't seen the antennas lately, and this page [speedpass.com] implies that they stopped deploying the car tag after the Mobil/Exxon merger -- except in New Jersey, where mandatory full service [marginalrevolution.com] would reduce the problem of tag spoofing.

The only way anyone could eavesdrop on or steal your CC number using this system is if he has his hands in your pants.

True with the keychain dongle, not true with the Car Tag version. And even if I were willing to use a Speedpass, I'd steer clear of the new Speedpass-enabled Timex Watch [timex.com] ! Like the song [letras.us] says:
Beware, beware of the handshake / That hides the snake...

Re:Concerns still valid: Car Tag, Watch (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740576)

ha ha - new jersey mandatory full service! The guy pumping my gas was smoking a cigarette. The gas station manager didn't care - he said that if the pumper got disciplined, the pumper would go home and cost the station a lot in lost revenue (it was a busy station on the turnpike)... so no pumpers were ever disciplined, even with customer complaints. Very interesting page you linked to describing the price structure.

Also, don't forget the line of swatch smart tag watches used for ski passes [swatch-shop.co.uk]

Re:Just a few concerns I have (1)

aero6dof (415422) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740321)

From the description, this thing works just like Esso Speedpass dongles, in that, the thing needs to be within around 2 cm ( 1 inch ) for it to trigger and transmit the needed data. The only way anyone could eavesdrop on or steal your CC number using this system is if he has his hands in your pants.

Doesn't a thief just need a better antenna and transmitter? I'm thinking across the street would be a safe distance away from your pants. :)

Re:Just a few concerns I have (1)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739407)

Actually there is an ottawa based company doing that for vending machines .
You SMS a number and it withdrawls a certain amount of money from a fixed dollar account , passes the information to the vending machine and voila food/drink/chemicals.

Watch out .. they'll be sued by directv. (1, Offtopic)

junkymailbox (731309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739007)

DirecTV calls all of these "smart cards readers" pirate devices. DirecTV Defense [directvdefense.org]

Re:Watch out .. they'll be sued by directv. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7740128)

Mod parent up. American companies will fight smart cards tooth-and-nail.

boring! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739015)

next story

Dumb-chips (1, Insightful)

trentblase (717954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739016)

The cards in the trial are capable of storing about two kilobytes of information

Most cell phones already have more memory than this.

Re:Dumb-chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739035)

Yeah, you need all that memory just for ringtones.

Re:Dumb-chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739587)

That's smart card memory, not the Cell phone's. Cell phones in Japan are bulked up to store pictures, downloaded JAVA games, what have you. I presume that the financial information is stored on the smart card.

Possible tomfollery. (3, Insightful)

Prince_Ali (614163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739031)

Guy 1: Hey, can I use your cell for a second. I need to call home.

Guy 2: Sure, why not. My night minutes are free anyway.

Guy 1: *Swipe* Thanks.

Guy 2: Hey, did you just buy movie tickets?

Re:Possible tomfollery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739303)

Insightful? Why would you lend someone your cell in the first place? How do you know they won't just run off with it?

One word: adapt

Re:Possible tomfollery. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739538)

Someone else suggested that you might need to enter your PIN number before you can swipe the phone. I know I don't want to be automatically charged by some guy with a smart card reader in his pocket who just brushes by people in a crowded street.

you would not want to lose this one... (3, Insightful)

fedork (186985) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739032)

My wife loses/destroys cell phones like crazy. Much less her wallet... I would not like this one for her...

Re:you would not want to lose this one... (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739110)

Or maybe this would give her an incentive to be more responsible with her phone ;)

You would not want to lose this one-Ball & cha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739235)

Well you can get her some kind of identity/money carrier that she will not lose...like a husband.

Re:you would not want to lose this one... (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739955)

man your wife must be my girfriend. she spends more time looking for her cellphone than actually ever talking on it...

Article text (2, Informative)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739036)

Cellphone allows users to swipe and go

15:23 16 December 03

NewScientist.com news service

A trial starting on Wednesday will allow thousands of Japanese mobile phone owners to use their phones as a swipe card to pay for purchases, as travel passes, and as concert and movie tickets.

The trial is the first to embed smart cards within the phones, and has been set up by phone company NTT DoCoMo and electronics giant Sony.

Like other "contactless" smartcards, the user simply has to place their phone near a reader to exchange information. This does away with the need to have printed tickets or passes. So, for example, a cinema ticket could be bought using the phone's online features, with a swipe of the phone giving entry to the screening.

The convergence of these two technologies is attractive and technically quite straightforward, says Rob Bamforth, an analyst with Bloor Research in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, UK.

"Mobile phone systems are already built to be secure and already have different payment models," he says, and most people now carry them in developed countries.

Multiple functions

The cards in the trial are capable of storing about two kilobytes of information, enough for it to perform multiple functions. For example it can serve as an ID card, travel pass, or login for a corporate computer network, all at the same time.

As people increase their use of phones for retail purposes, the role of the mobile phone operator may change, Bamforth told New Scientist. "It makes them more analogous to credit card companies."

The Japanese trial will run until summer 2004 and during this time thousands of specially adapted phones will be handed out to employees of the 25 companies that are participating in the scheme. Services will include being able to buy tickets and check-in at airports using their phone.

Swipe cards have long been used on public transport systems in Japan. The smartcard technology being used in the phones, called FeliCa, was originally developed by Sony in 1988.

But what sets the new trial apart from other smartcard systems and from previous electronic wallet schemes is the ability of the phone to store a receipt of a purchase on the smartcard chip within the phone.

Duncan Graham-Rowe

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739204)

THE PARENT POSTER IS A TROLL!!

Mod him down!

I doubt the word "nigger" was in the original article.

sure it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739260)

"These devices will be test marketed to the nigger community, who will buy anything that's featured in a hip-hop video."

Oh yeah! (4, Funny)

Omni Magnus (645067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739048)

This will be great for the phone sex hotlines.

Re:Oh yeah! (1)

Lipongo (704267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739091)

Press 1 to accept these charges. Beep Thank you for shopping at CallGirls 900 hotline, your cell phone has been charged.
"Honey, why do you have over $1000 racked up to this 1-900 number on your cell phone bill?" Busted!

Great idea (3, Insightful)

cluge (114877) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739105)

Will make it easier for thieves to steal but limit and possibly track them as well. All the thief would have to do is walk up to the register and the victims card is charged. KA CHING It becomes a race, how long can the thief use it before it's discovered stolen and they have to leave it in the submway? Do the police keep the phone running and charges piling up but use the phone to trace the thief to his residence? Is the encryption used by the phone/wireless any better than the encryption used by standard wireless cards (ie how easy is it to sniff for credit card numbers).

The world of thievery just got more interesting

AngryPeopleRule [angrypeoplerule.com]

Don't our phones do too much already? (4, Interesting)

mr_lithic (563105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739107)

I currently use my phone as a multi-mode commuication device. It allows me to use it for email, sms and voice,. It also has fuctions as a PDA, gamepad and camera. It alerts me if my servers go down or the comms room is flooded and it allows a number of people to keep track of where I am all the time.

I am not sure if I want it suddenly to hold all of my cash as well. It holds all of my personal information, dates and phone numbers, and if someone was clever they could find out alot about my servers. So currently, I believe that I have too many eggs in one basket with the functions that it carries out now. To expand those to include purchasing seems to be inviting disaster.

What the hell do I do if I lose it?

Re:Don't our phones do too much already? (2, Interesting)

digitalvengeance (722523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739193)

I used to do exactly the same thing with my PDA - but what about synchronizing with a server? If you lose the phone, you report it stolen and get a replacement. The server dispatches your saved items to you via some sort of initialization process, disables your old phone via a unique ID of sorts, and you're back in business.

Re:Don't our phones do too much already? (1)

geekychic (732496) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739209)

Agreed. And as others have pointed out many many times, no one wants an all-in-one device, especially if it's that tiny. If I'd wanted a credit-card replacement, have gotten a speedpass already. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Re:Don't our phones do too much already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739225)

what kind of phone do you have? what kind of plan? expensive for the phone and service?

(I'm in the market for something right now and yours sounds good)

Go back 30 years. (2, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740095)

Before all that other tomfoolery. Look at your wallet: it has your ID cards, money, a Diners' Club credit card, and pictures of your family.

What the hell do you do if you lose it?

I believe the wallet is having too many eggs in one basket.. but people have been getting along with those fine for centuries. The simple solution is to not be a careless fop with things that are valuable to you.

What exactly prevents someone ... (2, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739128)

who grabs your phone from using to purchase lots of things all on your dime until you can properly report it stolen (assuming you're not in a coma from the blows to your head)?

Re:What exactly prevents someone ... (1)

wasabiboy (537118) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739341)

Hmm, try setting a password/pin number? It's still no less secure than a credit card. The big question will be which way the liability falls. If it falls on the user (unlike with credit cards) then I'll just stick to paying with plastic for now.

Does it NEED a password/pin? (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739446)

I was under the impression that this is like the speed-pass thing, which just involves swiping and has no other actions. And there is no mention of passwords/pins in the article.

Re:Does it NEED a password/pin? (1)

wasabiboy (537118) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739647)

Yes, true. Smart cards use a keystore that can be locked using a PIN, but we have yet to see if the cellphone software designers make proper use of this feature!

Use a PIN (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739406)

Possibly the need to enter a PIN on the keypad.

It would be easy for examaple, to have the phone require a PIN to decrypt a key stored in the phone, which stores your CC number. After you enter the PIN, you have 30 seconds to swipe the phone before it expires the PIN.

Re:What exactly prevents someone ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739426)

The exact same thing that prevents someone from grabbing your purse/wallet/credit card/wad of cash/etc...

Sweet... (3, Funny)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739136)

I'm going to print up a tshirt that says on the front back and sleeves

"By reading this shirt or walking within 3 feet of me, your obligated to play me 1 cent. I'll then just carry a small antenna that'll attempt to connect to the nearest smart card device and charge it 1 cent."

I know the figures in the high 80's for the number of people who now own cell phones. I can now quit my job and just walk around the mall collecting my "toll".

Re:Sweet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739182)

My cell phone has an invalid credit card number. Enjoy the legal mess.

Wouldnt it be sweet... (1)

The Eye of the Behol (678699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739158)

We might never have to use our wallets or purses again... walk into a shop and pull out your cellphone to pay. You could use it as a cheque book or a credit card. But there is a possibility of crackers stealing your hard earned funds. The designers will need to think about adding extra security to stop the crackers.

Retailers won't do it. (2, Informative)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739210)

As a retailer, I can say that there is no way I'd spend money accepting something like this. At least not for many, many years. Look at the current retail environment... it's being destroyed by people shopping online, cutting into margins. Most retailers STILL don't accept Amex (I do), even though accepting Amex takes a 5 minute telephone call, and $0 additional investment. Hell, it took the fast food chains many years to ever take credit cards. Considering how much $$ this is going to cost us as retailers, I can say that there's no way in hell I'd do this until it becomes very, very universal, and a large number of customers start asking for it (no, 1 or 2 geeks doesn't count as a large number of customers). Credit cards work just fine, anyway. This is another solution to a non-existent problem.

American Express = Bad.. (0, Offtopic)

msimm (580077) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739810)

<rant>

As someone blessed to work with American Express as a client and a customer (both through business) I'd like to toss in a THEY ARE THE WORST COMPANY EVER. I don't have any idea why retailers actually agree to work with them, their rates are <b>HIGH</b> and their cards are barely more common then the Dinners Club or the Discover card. As a customer I am buried in an avalanch of marketing promotions and *special deals* on luggage or travelours insurance. This is the one company that single handedly remindes me that spam isn't solely an internet related problem.

Of course its a good thing their rates are high, because flooding our mailbox must cost them a pretty penny.

</rant>

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739247)

"If they'd just attach a money clip to it, I could get rid of my wallet entirely." .. ehm, yeah, that was a clever thing to say, seeing how the point of this new technology is to get rid of change, and the need to carry cash around...

Showstopper (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739257)

"If they'd just attach a money clip to it, I could get rid of my wallet entirely."

So, where do I keep my condoms?

Digital Cash and anonymity can work (3, Insightful)

MrChuck (14227) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739345)

read a little David Chaum (google for him yourself).

On the upper west side of manhattan, they tried a "money on a card" program. Chase and Citibank. You could put it on an ATM card with a smartchip or, like I did, just ask for a card, give them cash which value they xfer'd to the card and leave. No names, no signing anything, etc.

It was a huge P.I.T.A. to use it, but I put that down to testing where clerical help are not necessarily the brightest sticks in the bundle :)

However I never renewed mainly because this was cash equivalent. Exactly. With no PIN on the card or ANY protection, you swipe my card, you have my cash and can use it. The minor addition of a PIN would have made the better than cash in that it's not a theft target.

A friend who did this on his ATM card played with it and said: "Oh wait, my ATM card now has value to a mugger? Great."

So in the end, its big feature was what a friend called: "Just like cash, only you can only use it in certain places and it's a pain in the ass." Pathetically, their only marketing point was "you don't have to dig for the right change anymore." (as using currency is really hard for people to handle after 3000 years.)

I'm going to presume that with DoCoMo, you have to AUTHENTICATE the transaction. That someone with a reader can't walk by you or sit in front of your seat and transact your money to them.

There is an opportunity to do it well: anonymously and correctly.

A GSM chip needn't be attached to a phone or an ID (so the guy whose wife kills phones would be fine - all european phones I've used are chipped.) Move the chip to another phone and it's "your phone" immediately.

Do that with a cash chip, and I can send money from one phone to another.
I can rePIN it and pass the chip to Mom and just tell her the (new) PIN.

I can do this all untracably, but verifiably. This isn't new. Electronics help, but it's been doable for quite some time. Again, David Chaum has done good writings on this topic.

DoCoMo has just made me a very rich man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739365)

I will set up a merchant account, and create a portable reader with enhanced sensitivity. I will then walk around in crowded areas, and my reader will automatically charge every enabled cell phone it can contact. The victims will never know what happened, until they look at their statement. This is even better than identity theft!

Another mode of PHISHING (1)

tintruder (578375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739396)

Now the theft device will just be a mobile receiver that the thief carries in his pocket.

Just walk close to a person utilizing one of these devices and receive the signal.

Easy use being the key, all I hear is that you just "wave your phone" at the point of purchse to conduct the transaction.

Nothing about entering a PIN or pressing a key to "accept" the transaction....that would reduce the level of ease to the current one where you slide a card and enter a PIN.

So just like card "phishers" quickly took advantage of handheld card readers to swipe credit cards in restaraunts during the time the card was supposedly being taken by the waiter to pay for the meal, portable RFID readers (that's essentially what these things are) will crop up to steal any freely broadcast or "in-response to query" signals these things send.

Sometimes technology makes things more complicated.

talking wallet (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739412)

I like the idea of using my mobile phone for authentication, for purchases and other transactions. However, for it to be a fair deal for me, rather than just deliver for the "servers" with which I transact, the client must be a lot more powerful:

  • On-phone per-transaction popup "OK"/"Cancel" with hardcopy receipt request
  • Authentication by biometric (fingerprint) or unwieldy PIN
  • Symmetric (OTP) local data encryption by biometric/PIN
  • Client database with cryptosigned transaction receipt
  • Digicash on server (anonymous send with cryptosigned receipts) with phone as transaction authentication, for backups
  • Credit card style transaction insurance


Those features aren't so far fetched. In fact, why does any of that require "smartcards" in the phone? How about just the crypto features on an authentication vCard + credit card number, and a standard protocol over Bluetooth, IR, SMS, or 3G-HTTP? Scandanavians can buy snacks and pay parking meters with their phones, so why jump through a "smartcard" hoop just to get a talking wallet?

fair deal for you or for retailers? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7740424)

The big question is will this save retailers money? The grand allure of "digital cash" is that you can do transactions and they won't cost $0.70 each and the credit companies won't get 3% of the transaction value from the merchant. They're more or less free!

In the world of commerce this is what counts. If it was just about "consumer convenience" we'd all just have credit cards and the credit companies would be dirty rich. Wait, that is how it is. Sickening.

I love it! Oh, wait, maybe not. (2, Insightful)

DaveJay (133437) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739418)

So let me get this straight:

I carry around an object that broadcasts what is functionally equivalent to my credit card info to any reader within close proximity?

And so the guys that usually pull credit card numbers out of the garbage, or from lost/stolen card, or from bank records, and make dummy cards that they use in stores* will now be able to set up a portable reader, put it in a pocket, and wander through a crowded subway car picking up credit card numbers without anyone noticing?

Why would anyone want this?

Oh, yeah. Because they want it to be more convenient to make purchases.

Sigh.

*this has happened to me THREE TIMES, including once by a ring of thieves that successfully used the dummy cards in three different airports in three different countries simultaneously, even as my bank's fraud department watched via computer with me on the other end)

Re:I love it! Oh, wait, maybe not. (1)

ngoy (551435) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740491)

Three times? It sounds like there is one place you shop at that has an inside guy stealing cc numbers. The odds for you to have had your card number stolen 3 times over the internet are miniscule, unless you are paying for porn sites using your cc. ;-p

Did you ever try to find a common denominator


Pointing Out Vulnerabilities (3, Insightful)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739451)

So someone gets their hands on a reader for these devices. This can be done by borrowing/stealing a reader from a store that has one installed or by someone who works at the manufacturing plant. Setup a power source and stick it in a backpack. Run a cable down to the reader which could either be in the pack or, if small enough, palmed in your hand.

As you walk through the streets, wave your hand across the phones of people standing around or as they walk by you. A laptop or PDA could be hooked up to the read recording in all the information.

The protocol/encryption is taken care of by the stolen hardware. No need to worry about cracking it.

--

Now if this system is based upon it's own network, then the reader doesn't have to do any decryption of the data. It can just be forwarded down the line to the network's core. The readers essentially become dumb terminals.

But I doubt this is the case. Every smart-card reader system that has a core data store includes storage space in individal readers to store transactions in case the core goes down.

--

What this type of system REALLY needs, as do exsiting ones such as smart pass or that gas station token thing, is some sort of activation button that must be depressed in order for information to be transmitted from the card. This would make it much more secure.

This New Scientist article doesn't cover if such a function exists with these new phones but given past devices that we've seen, I doubt it.

Koreans have this already (2, Interesting)

mchang (218175) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739506)

Visiting this past summer I saw a similar system in South Korea. The receiver looks like a big black eyeball (think HAL-9000) with a bright blue LED on top. They have these things all over - fast food joints, small markets (think 7-11), and on buses. Just put your phone near it, hit a button, and the charge goes onto your cell phone bill.

Seems like it was getting well adopted. I googled for it, but I can't remember the name exactly.

It's a magic 8-Ball?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7739793)

You swipe your phone next to it, and the thing spits back a message like "Chances are good for this purchase"?

Re:Koreans have this already (1)

fredrickleo (711335) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740310)

Its most useful when paying busfare or on the subway, thats what most people here use it for, i have seen machines at the movies though, i dont usually see people paying for "stuff" with their cell phones though.

I wonder how the Japanese will take to it (1, Insightful)

DeepDarkSky (111382) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739510)

one observation I had when I was in Japan (Tokyo, specifically), was how everything was mostly done in cash, and I never saw a single person using credit card. That's not to say it doesn't exist, of course, but it seemed to me, a visitor, that Japanese are much more comfortable using cash for transactions, and credit card usage is not nearly as common as in the U.S.

That being said, then I wonder if they will take to the "smart card cell phone for financial transactions" thing readily. Most people do have phones, and the large number of vending machines and pay phones, and rail ticket machines that uses cash makes it unlikely that the people will abandon cash at all. So, unless they get to use this on the ticket machines and the millions of "conveniently placed and available everywhere" vending machines, I suspect it will not fly.

The advantages: (2, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739837)

No keypad tampering / double readers (one real, one scam / double swipes. Scan, enter pin and wait for confirmation. If it fails, just try resending the same confirmation. If it *was* high-jacked by a fake signal which you erroneously approved, you'd notice because the store would continue to refuse it.

Throw in a little failsafe, like "Warning: Remote fingerprint changed compared to previous session X seconds ago" and maybe ultimarely over GSM, like "Automatically contest this claim if someone tries this transaction, it was not completed successfully" to the bank.

I'd never accept confirmation-free, it could fire on anything from a brush-pass or the guy next to me on the bus/train/tram/subway. Even if it did work when the keypad was not locked, it'd take just as long to hit "Menu, *, "scan", menu, *" as it would take to do a 4-digit pin + "OK"...

Kjella

Editorial (2, Funny)

atomly (18477) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739952)

I, for one, welcome our new, corporate overlords.

Seriously, how can this sound like a good idea?

The only new thing about this is... (1)

apetime (544206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739974)

...the fact that they put it in a phone. You can already get electronic cash cards to use at some AM/PM convenience stores in Japan, and JR is going to expand their Suica rail pass system to be used for purchases in station stores (that uses the same Felica technology). Even two years ago, you could use a phone to buy pop at some vending machines by showing it a two dimensional bar code.

random musings (1)

richard_willey (79077) | more than 10 years ago | (#7739976)

From my perspective, something like "this" could provide a great deal of value to consumers. Personally, I'd very much like to be able to consolidate a wide variety of physical access devices into a single token.

Case in point, right now I am carrying:

Car keys
Keys to my house
An ID badge for work
2 credit cards
drivers license

I would strong prefer to replace these with a single charm. More over, a secure physical token makes key distribution much easier. With this said and done, there look to be some clear problems the SONY / NTT DoCoMo implementation.

First: I don't think that they have the form factor right. Its too easy to lose a cell phone. They are bulky and annoying. I understand why SONY wants to promote a model in which people need to carry a cell phone 24 hours a day, but its just not my cup of tea. I would much rather be able to embed this functionality within a class ring, and ear right, or even an implantable microchip.

Second: I worry about the security implications. Today, the prevailing wisdom is that a layer authorization model is required to prove identity. Authorization is based on

(a) Who you are
(b) Something you know
(c) Something you have

The SONY phone is OK as a physical token, however, I didn't see much about the other two dimensions to the problem.

until, (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740007)

you lose the damn thing, or it gets stolen, then your fscked, royally.

It takes much more effort to lose your wallet or get it stolen than to lose a cell phone that would replace your wallet.

Not only will they leave you with a huge phone bill, they'll buy all sorts of crap and charge it to you.

To the inventor of this concept, MINUS 5, STUPID...

Not exactly like speedpass (2, Insightful)

bobthemuse (574400) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740040)

Speedpass systems have a fixed ID. These will most likely read something from your SIM card to facilitate switching handsets, as many users do. With today's phone supporting SMS, GPRS, BlueTooth, etc, how long before someone finds a way to read your charging information from afar? 30' bluetooth range? Getting an SMS from Russia?

Dexit (1)

Myrcurial (26138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7740531)

Gee... these guys are sure behind the cutting edge, Toronto's had this for a while -- it's called DEXIT. Head on over to DEXIT [dexit.com] and have a look.

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