Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cashless spending

Music festivals goers instead of using money could be forced to pay electronically for everything. Payments could be made via a wristband, which would also act as the event ticket, and be pre-loaded with money. The systems would use radio frequency identification (RFID) - which would see a microchip being embedded into something like a wristband or ticket.

People in London are already used to cashless transactions, with the Oyster card. A bit like supermarket loyalty cards these things can be used to tell what you have been up to, and what you might do next.
Iin a BBC article Barclaycard's Mr Mathieson said that information gathered from transactions could be valuable for future marketing. "For example if the system knows what time you went and bought a beer and at which bar, it can make a guess which band you were about to see," he said."Then the organizers could send you information about upcoming tours. The opportunities are exciting."

A recent article on TNW said that future generation iPhones will almost certainly contain Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, which will enable the phone to communicate with RFID tags or other NFC capable devices.

So far the average person has not had any way to interact with RFID tags, so they’ve mainly stayed in shipping and logistics and haven’t made it a noticeable impact on people’s lives. If we were to get NFC-enabled phones we would be able to. Some phone makers such as Nokia have already embarked on this.

TNW has the scenario where you walk out the door with your iPhone in your pocket.  You stop for a cup of coffee at the corner and just as you’re about to walk in, you iPhone pushes a notification to you. The notification tells you that you’ve just become the top visiting customer at that location (yes, it will check you in automatically) and asks you if you would like to share that info with your friends. If you hit yes, it sends you to an input screen and you share on Twitter, Facebook, wherever.

I did some speculation about the use of RFID tags in my book Cold Suspenders. Hint – Tig Tags. I also speculated about how a mobile phone can be located. With GPS systems in phones this has become even easier. Build in RFID to all the other applications on your phone, and allow something like Facebook access, and who knows what people could tell about you?

There has been a lot of discussion about Facebook privacy, but does anyone really know who is tracking what we do? Who would have guessed that the original mission was just to create a facebook for Harvard University? A BBC article tells us that there are now people who make their living advising companies on how to use Facebook and other social networking sites. Companies can use the site for advertising and marketing "based on the extremely exact demographic data volunteered by the individual".

This is a bit of a ramble on, but I wonder just how many people know what details they are already giving away, and just what might be coming?
Bracknell based company Webroot give some hints about protecting yourself in the following linked article.

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