From Israel, Yuli Edelstein in letter to Steve Jobs asking Apple to remove App called the “3rd intifada”

Jerusalem Post

06/21/2011 18:38

Yuli Edelstein in letter to Steve Jobs: “Application calls for uprising against Israel, iPad apps should not be instrument for incitement to violence.”

 Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein sent a letter Tuesday to Apple CEO Steve Jobs requesting that the computer giant remove an application called the “3rd intifada” that gives information about protest activities, some of them violent, planned against Israel.

The same organization, Edelstein wrote, opened a Facebook page three months ago “calling for an uprising against the State of Israel by use of lethal force, while using hateful material based on wild and groundless accusations.”

Facebook removes ‘3rd intifada’ page
Facebook ‘monitoring’ page calling for 3rd intifada

Edelstein said that Facebook removed the page after it became convinced of the page’s “harmful nature” and its potential of leading to the loss of life.

“I believe Apple, as a pioneering and progressive company, places the values of liberty, freedom of expression and creativity as a guiding light,” Edelstein wrote. “Also, as a leader in its area, I am convinced that you are aware of this type of application’s ability to unite many toward an objective that could be disastrous.”

 Edelstein called on the company to remove the application and continue in its tradition of applications “dedicated to purely entertainment and informative purposes and not serve as a instrument for incitement to violence.”

Is Your Next Credit Card Your Cell Phone?

(Note: Another article showing a reference point for my opinion.)

VIDEO: The latest way to pay at the stores relies on smart phone app technology.
Jan. 26, 2011

Get ready to retire that worn leather wallet. If some of the country’s biggest tech companies have their way, all the plastic cards crammed into your billfold will soon find their way into your phone.

Apple is planning to introduce a service that would let consumers use their iPhones and iPads to purchase products, essentially turning a user’s cell phone into a credit or debit card, according to a Bloomberg report.

Citing Richard Doherty of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, the report said Apple plans to embed NFC (near field communication) chips into its next generation iPhones and iPads that can beam and receive information within a distance of up to 4 inches.

Instead of swiping plastic to pay at the register, a user could just take out a cell phone and wave it near an NFC-enabled reader. The purchase amount would be deducted instantaneously.

When reached by, Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said the company does not comment on rumor and speculation. But the report has industry watchers buzzing about the potentially game-changing technology that could eventually transform cell phones into so-called digital wallets.

Although Apple hasn’t yet publicly declared its support for NFC technology, other major stakeholders, such as Google, Samsung, Nokia, Research in Motion (RIM) and cell phone carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, have already started lining up behind it.

Google’s latest Nexus S smarphone from Nexus is NFC-enabled, and Nokia and BlackBerry’s RIM have said that they intend to offer more NFC phones in the near future.

Gwenn Bezard, co-founder and research director at technology research firm Aite Group, said that regardless of whether the Apple NFC plans are true, the technology is poised to take the mobile industry by storm.

“It’s not a matter of if Apple is going to come up with something, it’s a matter of when,” he said. “Whether it’s going to be this year or next or the year after, I think there’s a very high chance that Apple and other companies will push NFC payments.

The pay-by-phone market is expected to make up $22 billion in transactions by 2015, according to Aite Group. That’s “still a drop in the ocean” compared to the total amount consumers spend in the U.S., Bezard said, but considering that the pay-by-phone market is about nil right now, Aite’s research still shows that the market is accelerating.

How Secure Are NFC-Enabled Cell Phones?

Bezard said big companies are getting behind the new technology because it significantly boosts the level of interactivity between consumers and merchants by integrating payment, marketing and promotion at the point of purchase.

At a CVS checkout counter, for example, a user wouldn’t need to pull out a credit card, loyalty card and coupon to score a deal on toothpaste. She or he could just use a cell phone payment system that rolls all those streams of information into one.

For consumers, pay-by-phone services mean more convenience and a potentially easier way to manage and save money. For corporations, it increases the potential for targeted mobile advertising and data collection.

Just this month, Starbucks introduced a nationwide mobile payment system that lets users pay for coffee with an application loaded on their smartphones.

More complex versions of the service are still in the early stages, but Bezard said mainstream adoption NFC-supported payment services could be upon us in 10 years.

“Hopefully, everyone gets a better deal out of it,” said Bezard. “Money is already digital in many respects, but it would be great, all the way to the finish line, to have the payment disappear into the device.”

NFC-Enabled Phones Pose New Class of Threats, Security Expert Says

Experts warn that before consumers and corporations jump on board the new technology, security concerns need to be addressed. With credit card account information tied so closely to users’ mobile phone, identity theft could become a rising concern.

“It’s probably a new enough technology that concerns over the security are healthy,” said Jonathan Giffin, a Georgia Tech College of Computing professor who specializes in system and software security. “Until this technology is analyzed in a public way by experts in security and wireless protocols, I think we don’t know how secure this is yet.”

Similar to RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, NFC technology is a kind of radio communication that works only a very short range. But Giffin said security experts have shown that RFID cards are vulnerable to attacks.

“People have demonstrated that you can walk behind someone and scan their RFID card without their knowledge,” he said.

And NFC-enabled cell phones potentially pose an even greater security threat than RFID cards: Not only would these phones store a user’s financial credentials, they would be connected to the Internet, he said.

Carlos Casariego/Getty Images
According to a Bloomberg News, Apple is… View Full Caption
The Incredible Shrinking Wallet Watch Video
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Mobile Commerce Firm: Digital Wallet Is Coming

Attackers could try to access that valuable data across the Web or through nearby NFC readers.

“There’s a whole different class of threats that designers need to be concerned about,” he said.

Still, Francesca Nisco, a spokeswoman for Isis, a mobile payment network backed by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, said that, in trials, consumers say that they’re ready to embrace a digital wallet despite security concerns.

“Many people have had trials for a long time, but I think there’s a recent surge of action in the marketplace because there’s been an increased understanding of how much consumers are excited about this technology,” she said.

The carrier-backed network was officially launched in November and in the next 12 to 18 months will roll out its mobile commerce service nationwide, Nisco said.

Forget carrying credit cards, cash, debit cards, loyalty cards, gas cards, coupons, transit passes and all the other cumbersome contents of your wallet. The new service puts it all in your cell phone.

Nisco said the company is still working out the details of its payment process, but said a hardware-based, passcode-protected and encrypted system will safeguard consumers’ information.

If a user loses an Isis-connected cell phone, he or she can erase all the financial data stored on it with a single phone and then restore the information instantly with another call, if the phone is found..

The initial Isis roll-out will focus on mobile commerce, Nisco said, but mobile phones that store insurance cards, driver’s licenses and other kinds of wallet-worthy information are expected to follow close behind.

“We believe that the mobile wallet is certainly coming,” said Nisco. “It will certainly be some time before it is mainstream, but we certainly believe that there will come a day when everything you carry in your wallet will be on your mobile device.”

Smartphones as credit cards: Possibly dangerous, definitely inevitable

Regular smartphone users will need to take security precautions on par with enterprise users

By Brad Reed, Network World
August 05, 2010 02:54 PM ET
(Note: This was written almost a year ago.)

Now that AT&T and Verizon have decided to turn smartphones into credit cards, you may be asking yourself, “Is this really a good idea?”

After all, it’s not hard to imagine some wily thief picking up the BlackBerry you left at a restaurant and going on a major shopping spree. How, exactly, do the carriers and device manufacturers plan to make smartphones safe to be used on a mass-market level for financial transactions?

AT&T, Verizon want to replace your credit card

The answer is that consumers will have to start adopting practices and applications that have traditionally been used by corporate users. While credit card transactions will undoubtedly be encrypted before being sent over networks, that won’t prevent someone from taking your phone and using it as his own credit card, or from hacking into your phone using malicious applications. In other words, the phone itself will have to be just as secure as the software used to complete credit card transactions.

“The integrity of a transaction is only as good as the device itself,” says Dan Hoffman, the CTO of SMobile. “You have to look at mobile devices in the same way you look at PCs.”

For starters, smartphone credit card users are going to have to install some form of remote-wipe application that will let them erase any and all data on their smartphone if they ever lose it. Although remote-wipe capabilities have been staples of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices for years, they’ve only recently come to more popular consumer devices such as the Apple iPhone and devices based on Google’s open source Android operating system. In addition to remote wipe, users should subscribe to some sort of mobile backup service so they can retrieve their data to a new device after wiping out data from their old device.

But remote wipe and data backup capabilities are only part of the story. In an era where users can unwittingly download applications riddled with malware and viruses on their smartphones, they will have to be much more active in protecting themselves from malicious apps.

“With the proliferation of applications out there right now it’s difficult to sort out what apps are safe,” says McAfee CTO George Kurtz. “Among other things, we’re concerned about malicious apps that will be downloaded onto smartphone platforms that can sniff out credit card information and use those credentials to commit fraud.”

To prevent this, users need to not only take care in the types of apps they download onto their phones but to also install antivirus, antimalware and firewall programs onto their devices. Khoi Nguyen, the group product manager for the Mobile Security Group at Symantec, says that companies that run and manage application stores might also have to step up their games to ensure they aren’t inadvertently selling applications that will spread malware to their users. So while he says he admires the success of Google’s user-policed Android Market application store, he thinks Google might have to start taking more of a direct role in ensuring that applications on the store are safe, particularly in an era when more people will be using Android-based devices as personal credit cards.

“I think it’s a potential issue for Google going forward since anyone can publish an application on the Google market, and then only after the fact people may discover that it’s a malicious app,” he says. “At the same time, Google is trying to keep everything open and spur innovation so there has to be a balance there.”
Kurtz says that if carriers, device makers and users take all the proper precautions — from remote wipe capabilities to complex password policies to preinstalled firewalls on smartphones — then there’s no reason that using smartphones as credit cards won’t become both popular and safe for users. After all, he reasons, the practice of using smartphones for payments is already common in both Europe and Asia.

“The U.S. is actually pretty late to the game,” he says. “You’re not going to be able to hold back having people use their smartphones for payments.”

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World’s Wireless & Mobile section.

Is your Smartphone your next credit card?

(Note: The reason I am posting this article is to keep us aware of progressive strides in technology that, at this point, look harmless. It will become more and more logical to have an easier method to buy and sell. In Revelation we are told that the Anti-Christ will require all people to have his mark on their forehead or on their right hand to be able to buy and sell. My opinion is that technology such as credit cards, phone apps, medical information which is now in chips in animals and some alzheimer’s patients, will become not only more widely used, but eventually required. Just keep our eyes open to these possibilities.)

Is Your Phone Your Next Credit Card?

You may soon find yourself reaching for your smartphone instead of your wallet to pay for purchases. Cell phone manufacturers are getting serious about integrating Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into smartphone applications for retail transactions.

How does it work? NFC technology enables smartphones and other devices to communicate when close together. Just wave your smartphone in front of a retailer’s terminal and your purchase will be automatically deducted from your credit card.

The technology isn’t big yet in the United States, but in Tokyo passengers are buying train tickets with their contactless payment systems. And a Swedish company is testing NFC-enabled cell phones as hotel keys. The NFC Forum was formed in 2004 to help advance the technology, and more and more U.S. cell phone manufacturers today are developing phones equipped with NFC.

What else can it do? NFC technology has the potential to be used in thousands of interactive applications. In addition to transmitting information from your smartphone, you can also use your phone to read NFC tags. These tags, placed on posters, books, bus stop signs and other sites, allow the smartphone user to gain information from the tagged source. For example, diners can pass their phone over a menu to gain information about a restaurant’s nightly specials, and doctors and nurses can use an NFC tag to learn information about patients and track their visits.

Is it safe? Because NFC transmissions are extremely short range, the technology is relatively secure, and many cell phone manufacturers are deeming it safer than a plastic credit card. An NFC-enabled device keeps your account information encrypted and password-protected, rather than printed outright on your card. As with most payment devices, NFC technology has some transmission risks, but many of these bugs are being worked out before the retail apps are introduced en masse.

As cool as NFC sounds, it will not eliminate concerns about identity theft.