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« July 28, 2002 - August 3, 2002 | Main | August 11, 2002 - August 17, 2002 »

August 10, 2002

Chicago Fed: The growth of person-to-person electronic payments

Tim McHugh, Senior Research Analyst at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, writes about the growth of person-to-person (P2P) electronic payments. An excellent review of how this segment emerged and some of the issues for the future. Tim's got several other interesting papers and works in progress listed on his personal page.

August 09, 2002

allNetDevices: Infrared SDK for POS payments released

Extended Systems has announced the availability of XTNDAccess IrFM SDK.
This SDK (software dev kit) provides mobile device developers with the source code, application programmer interfaces (APIs), sample applications, and documentation to implement the IrFM Point and Pay Profile. Infrared for Financial Messaging (IrFM) specifies a standard way to make payments using infrared connections for proximity payments. In February 2002, IrDA's IrFM working group released the initial draft of the IrFM Point and Pay Profile for public review. The Point and Pay profile leverages existing financial instruments and defines the roles of the client device and the point-of-sale (POS) terminal. Additionally, it utilizes the Object Exchange (OBEX) protocol for exchanging transaction data.

Microsoft: Q&A on settlement with the FTC

Microsoft has posted a Q&A with Brad Smith, Senior Vice President and General Counsel and Brian Arbogast, the Microsoft corporate VP responsible for Passport. Looking back, Passport has been one of the bigger debacles for Microsoft. The over-reaching ".NET My Services" (or Hailstorm) plan built on Passport provoked a widespread industry backlash which led to the opening that Sun Microsystems saw in leading the creation of a new industry group, the Liberty Alliance. Now, in a settlement with the FTC, Microsoft agrees to deal with its other claims regarding the security and privacy of Passport and user data with a 20 year oversight. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said last week that he expected his team to live up to a higher standard in terms of corporate behavior. Let's hope the whole Passport episode was from that earlier era and that, going forward, Microsoft will be more thoughtful about both its claims and aspirations with respect to user identity, authentication, security and privacy. Dan Gillmor also comments:
Once again, Microsoft is found not to be telling the truth about serious issues. And, once again, the governmental agency with the power to do something realistic fades away on contact. The FTC hasn't even issued a slap on the wrist here. It merely got Microsoft to agree not to do it again.

August 08, 2002

Microsoft settles FTC charges alleging false security and privacy policies

Microsoft and the FTC announced today that Microsoft has agreed to settle FTC charges related to "the privacy and security of personal information collected from consumers through its "Passport" web services."
According to the Commission's complaint, Microsoft falsely represented that:
  • It employs reasonable and appropriate measures under the circumstances to maintain and protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers' personal information collected through its Passport and Passport Wallet services, including credit card numbers and billing information stored in Passport Wallet;
  • Purchases made with Passport Wallet are generally safer or more secure than purchases made at the same site without Passport Wallet when, in fact, most consumers received identical security at those sites regardless of whether they used Passport Wallet to complete their transactions;
  • Passport did not collect any personally identifiable information other than that described in its privacy policy when, in fact, Passport collected and held, for a limited time, a personally identifiable sign-in history for each user; and
  • The Kids Passport program provided parents control over what information participating Web sites could collect from their children.
The FTC is accepting public comment on the proposed order for 30 days, until September 9, 2002, after which the Commission will determine whether to make it final. Comments should be sent to: FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The Seattle Times also reports on this story.
Microsoft‚s top lawyer, Brad Smith, said the agreement "puts specific processes in place to assure our customers that we are meeting a high bar for security and privacy protection." "We wish we had held ourselves to an even higher bar," Smith said, adding that, "We accept responsibility for the past and will focus on living up to this high level of responsibility in the future."

Visa DPS reaches eleven billion transaction mark

Visa DPS has announced that it is now processing a billion transactions every 60 days.
Since 1996, Visa DPS has been an industry leader in providing electronic banking payment products and services for the financial services industry. The financial institutions that partner with Visa DPS are able to combine all ATM and point-of-sale processing with a single provider. Visa DPS is integrated with Visa's global product development resources, and provides processing support for Visa's newest product initiatives, including Verified by Visa, Host-Based Stored Value products, and the Visa POS Check Service. Visa DPS provides a support infrastructure unmatched in the marketplace, and has become the largest volume check card processor in the U.S., providing support for over 43 million check cards.

August 07, 2002

CNET: eBay's PayPal bid under scrutiny

PayPal and its prospective owner, eBay, are under new scrutiny from federal regulators. PayPal received two federal grand jury subpoenas last month concerning its processing of online gambling transactions, in addition to requests from federal regulators regarding the proposed merger with eBay, according to regulatory filings.

NTT DoCoMo: Credit card available for 3G FOMA users and others

From Japan...
NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced today that DoCoMo, in tie-ups with eight credit card companies, will introduce the "DoCoMo Card," a new credit card that will be available nationwide from August 19.
This looks to be a loyalty/affinity co-branded card. What's unusual is their tie-ups with multiple credit card issuers rather than just one.

August 06, 2002 The maze of merchant accounts

Robyn Greenspan reports on getting a credit card merchant account and mentions MerchantSeek, a free service for researching different providers

South China Morning Post: Banks to market identity wallet

Anh-Thu Phan reports on banks as authentication and identity providers.

BT begins trial of click&buy micropayments service

Thomas Power reports on BT's new micropayments service -- launching in September.

Subscribe to the Enhyper Financial Cryptography Digital Library

You can subscribe to a new subscription mailing list focused on financial cryptography topics.

ActiveWin: Microsoft .NET Passport Express Purchase Service Discontinued

Robert Stein comments on ActiveWin re: Microsoft's plans for .NET Passport Express.

August 05, 2002

NY Times: CellBucks -- dial a hot dog

During a game, CellBucks customers refer to a printed menu and call a toll-free number, punching in codes for the desired goods, as well as their seat locations. After running a quick credit check, the CellBucks system places the order. Customers pay no additional fee, beyond the usual amounts charged at stadiums; the company takes a percentage of the purchase price.


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