Bleeding Edge

by Michael Ho

Filed Under:
contactless, payments, touch

docomo, ntt

Payments By Touch Reaching Out For You

from the touchy-feely dept

The promises of contactless payments consistently seem to fall a bit short. The hardware costs for merchants sound hard to justify, and the benefits to the consumer are usually minimal -- since credit cards aren't exactly a painful process to begin with. However, wireless technologies are cool, so NTT DoCoMo has demonstrated a prototype phone that uses human conductivity to transmit data for services such as payment-by-touch -- so that you can keep the phone in your pocket and simply touch other devices to transmit your personal information. But if the irrational fears of cell phone radiation weren't enough for you, then imagine the possibilities of using skin conductivity. How will users fill up at the gas station? And consider how many more stories about high-tech pickpockets there will be... when thieves just have to touch you briefly in order to get your payment information. NTT DoCoMo admits that it'll be several years before this payment-by-touch system will be "ready, reliable and safe" for Japan -- but phone makers may also want to anticipate the FUD and weigh it against the existing payment methods before releasing a new plot device for Michael Crichton.

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  • identicon
    dorpus, 3 Oct 2007 @ 2:02am

    The Social Consequences

    A column in a Japanese newspaper says that Japan should "learn from Finland". The spread of cell phone technology has had many negative social consequences in Japan, from kids who spend all their time text messaging each other and studying less, getting involved in prostitution rings, to cyber-bullying. In crowded Japan, it's impossible to tell when someone has bumped you with an electronic device, and when such crimes happen, net-hooligans write thousands of posts blaming foreigners.

    In other news, unknown hackers have been spreading text messages claiming that many children are being molested in the bathrooms of nearby shopping centers. The fad started in Tokyo and has since spread to other cities. Variants of the message have claimed that perverts are sticking pencils into boys' rears, that girls are getting their uteruses surgically removed, that the perpetrator is an attractive woman in her 20s, or that an old couple is responsible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2007 @ 2:38am


    Imagine getting you identity stolen by a handshake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Grandfather Time, 3 Oct 2007 @ 3:18am


    I have seen kiosks in grocery stores, here, where I live promoting and enabling another form of pay-by-touch. Although, not as nifty sounding as this seems to be. You simply press your finger onto the pad and it deducts from your account, based on info and things provided by you and your bank.

    I considered it at one point, but, I would rather not waste the half hour forking over my information and sliding a blank check through a machine......

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    spaghettihead, 3 Oct 2007 @ 8:18am

    Paul, don't you know? I was pulled into severe self depreciation by paying an outrageous bill every month. Now all my jaw work is done for the man.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2007 @ 9:02am

    I ask again, when are people going to get it through their thick heads that wireless is, by its very nature, less secure than any wired technology? I have NO trouble WHATsoever using a credit card at a gas pump or any place else. I refuse to buy into RFID tags, fingerprint scanners, and any other sort of completely unnecessary technology that does not solve problems but instead creates them.

    Credit cards work, period. Don't constantly try to fix what isn't broke.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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