Spychips has just reported that senior executives from American Express, have ‘taken a broadside’ with the discovery of the banking giants plans for people tracking. American Express representatives attended a meeting with CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) in July 2011 to review the current situation. Since this meeting, American Express has committed to review its entire patent portfolio ensuring that, “…any people-tracking plans be accompanied by language requiring consumer notice and consent.”
A spokesperson for Spychips reported that American Express had filed a patent application entitled, “Method and System for Facilitating a Shopping Experience.” Spychips have described this patent as, “…a Minority Report style blueprint for monitoring consumers through RFID-enabled objects, like the American Express Blue Card.” Spychips also state the following in respect to the proposed patent:
According to the patent, RFID readers called “consumer trackers” would be placed in store shelving to pick up “consumer identification signals” emitted by RFID-embedded objects carried by shoppers. These would be used to identify people, track their movements, and observe their behavior.
The patent also suggested such people-tracking systems could “be located in a common area of a school, shopping center, bus station or other place of public accommodation.”
Further information on this important subject can be found at:
Or shield your RFID credit and debit cards by clicking here.
The UK banking sector appears pretty confident in its assertions that ‘contactless’ technology is 100% secure from unauthorised access, and similar claims are also made in respect of Britain’s e-passport. The argument goes something like this; without an ability to cross-reference information that has been ‘skimmed’ from a contactless device with a user profile that is held within a central database – then the data obtained by the ‘skimmer’ is meaningless. It’s a reasonable argument, one that makes sense and ought to offer us a very real measure of confidence in ‘contactless’ banking. However, with the announcement that Sony’s PlayStation has fallen victim to a serious hacking incident, leaving users vulnerable to ID theft, some may wonder just how many customer databases elsewhere have been compromised in recent years?
The results of a very ‘quick and dirty’ trawl through certain internet news portals, looking for examples of database hacking, makes for unsettling reading.
But do keep in mind there’s no need to worry unduly about contactless crime; as a number of products are already available that will allow any concerned carrier of RFID-enabled cards or passports to shield their data. For instance RFID Protect in the UK, offers a wide range of ‘anti-skim’ shielding products.
(Published by kind permission of Contactless)
For those of you that are keen to explore some of the ‘darker’ issues associated with contactless credit, debit, passport, ski-pass and door-entry security systems then the following resources may prove useful. Published here by kind permission of the author, are eighteen objective case studies (in six folders) that present both sides of the argument for RFID technology.
Download each (600KB PDF) by clicking on the associated images below.
If you wanted to reproduce these, I suggest making contact with the author/s.
For more information visit: http://www.rfidprotect.co.uk
Finally, if you’re in any doubt as to whether or not RFID skimming is a real threat, then perhaps watch the following video evidence.
Electronic Pickpocket – YouTube Video
(Approx. 4minutes – n.b: opens in a new window.)
This is an extraordinary article that would appear to suggest that the US military takes the business of ‘skimming’ very seriously, not least in respect of its RFID enabled ID passes; issued to all personnel. You cannot help but ask the question, “…if contactless technology is 100% bulletproof against unauthorised attack – then why are the US Department of Defense introducing shielding sleeves?” Go figure!