New Tech Observer

New Tech Observer

Retail Giants Team Up for Mobile Payments

Posted: 21 Aug 2012 07:43 AM PDT

According to Reuters, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target and other major retailers have created a new company called Merchant Customer Exchange in order to provide an app that will allow for mobile payments in their stores. The system would compete with Google Wallet and Square, which recently teamed up with Starbucks.

Mobile payments processes take different forms; Near Field Communications - where you can wave your phone at a device and debit your payment account, or the simpler online payment method where you actually make your purchase online and the point of purchase is informed of the completed transaction - more like picking up an item you bought online.

We are familiar with the risks of purchasing online, one small example is the hack or retailer Zappos this January that exposed 24 million customer records. In addition to this long running risk, if you lose your phone whoever finds it might be able to use your account to make purchases, and any single merchant on the payment system can introduce a vulnerability for all merchants, which we call the weakest link effect.

The privacy risk is even greater. By sharing purchasing habits across each of these different major retailers, not only will retailers have more information about WHAT you purchase, but where and when you purchase it, and how likely you are to respond to bargains and incentives. In addition, as researchers have shown, you can control people, to an extent, using their mobile apps.

From the article:
The group of retailers, which account for about $1 trillion in annual sales, wants to make sure it has a say in the development of standards for mobile payments, Terry Scully, Target's president of financial and retail services, said on Wednesday.

"What we are looking for is a broad, seamless experience across all retail formats," Scully said. 
Mobile payments are expected to rise nearly four-fold to more than $1.3 trillion annually by 2017, a report from Juniper Research said on Wednesday.


Article first published as Retail Giants Team Up for Mobile Payments on Technorati.

Anonymous Attacks UK Justice Web Site in Support of Wikileaks

Posted: 21 Aug 2012 07:40 AM PDT

The Huffington Post reports Anonymous has attacked the UK Justice Ministry Web site Monday. According to the report, the Justice Ministry said they were looking into "disruptions on its Web site".
The group of hackers known as Anonymous has claimed they attacked the Justice Ministry site, as you can see in the screen shot from the Anonymous Twitter feed: was still online at 9:30 P.M., although it was very slow to load.

Apparently Anonymous is attacking UK sites in support of Julian Assange, who is in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. From the article:
Ecuador granted the 41-year-old Australian diplomatic asylum last week, but Britain has said it will not grant him safe passage out of the U.K., insisting that it must follow the law and deliver him to Sweden on a binding European arrest warrant.
Assange claims the attempt to extradite him to Sweden is a conspiracy to make him stand trial in the U.S. for revealing state secrets, and Anonymous is supporting his efforts to be safely extradited to Sweden.

Article first published as Anonymous Attacks UK Justice Web Site in Support of Assange on Technorati.