posted on Jul, 2 2005 @ 02:51 AM
Credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard have been testing new 'contact-less' cards. These cards contain an RFID chip which means payment
can be taken simply by passing the card in front of a reader as opposed to the current method which requires contact between either a chip or a
magnetic strip. The cards themselves have no power source, they are powered by the EM waves emitted by the reader and instantly transmit the
pre-programmed information when activated. Security in the new cards is provided by a 128 bit encrypted challenge-response exchange.
NEW YORK — The familiar process of buying something with a credit card — handing the plastic to the clerk or swiping it yourself, then waiting
for approval and signing the receipt — could be headed the way of the mechanical brass cash register.
For more than a year, MasterCard and American Express have been testing "contactless" versions of their credit cards. The cards need only be held near
a special reader for a sale to go through — though the consumer can still get a receipt.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Well, where to begin?
Who doesn't have a credit or debit card? Virtually everyone has one in some form or another and this development means that anyone with the correct
reader can instantly obtain a unique number identifying you. This has potentially far reaching uses in the field of surveillance and I don't believe
that our governments would be able to resist the temptation to misuse this technology.
In terms of security it doesn't sound too good. I'm not sure how it works in other parts of the world, but here in Britain if you use a credit card
for anything, you either need to enter a PIN number or sign a slip to authorise the transaction. This system doesn't seem to require any kind of
authorisation which will be a boon to all card thieves.
This is being seen as a big step forward in the march towards a cashless society. The people I think would benefit most from a 'cashless society'
would be the banks (what a surprise). They would no longer need to employ large numbers of people to handle or transport cash. The credit they have
would not need to be backed by anything more tangible than numbers on a computer, entirely theoretical wealth. With the cost savings this would bring
them, their profits would balloon even more obscenely than they already have.
Finally, we can't have a story about credit cards without some mention of the biblical prophecies (mark of the beast etc). Imagine a truly cashless
society, your card would be the only thing you could purchase goods with and would be able to uniquely identify you by your number.