Feeds

Home Office publishes bold do-nothing initiative

As you were, lads

Mobile application security vulnerability report

The Home Office's approach to mobile payment security parrots exactly what the industry is already doing: publishing guidelines for a technology that nobody wants or ever intends to use.

Never let it be said that the UK Home Office doesn't move quickly: contactless payments from mobile phones have been dead in the water for less than a year and already the department is issuing guidelines on how to prevent thieves exploiting the technology, though really it's just endorsing what the industry has been doing for years.

Contactless payments are already a reality, as anyone who's received a Barclays Connect card in the last six months will know. Transactions less than a tenner can be completed by waving the card in front of a reader, while those of more than a tenner still require a PIN to be entered, which also happens on a random basis.

The new guidelines from the Home Office recommend the same thing apply to mobile phones with contactless technology built in, adding only that customers should be encouraged to report if their phone is stolen.

The mobile industry would love to see contactless payment tech built into mobile phones. Unfortunately, they disagree as to how it should be implemented to such an extent that it's unlikely ever to happen. The SIM industry feels very strongly that the SIM should handle everything, while the handset manufacturers think they should build in the technology. The operators don't care either way as long as they get control - which neither of the other groups is prepared to concede.

Perhaps in a decade or two something like Nokia Money might gain a contactless capability - Nokia is the biggest backer of the technology - but until then we'll stick to plastic cards for most things.

But that's not going to stop the Home Office consulting and publishing guidelines, promoted with quotes from the UK Cards Association and Jack Wraith, who apparently represents the mobile phone industry.

The latter gains his credibility from being chair of the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF), an impressively-named group but one we know little about: we do know that Nokia and the other big manufacturers pulled out of MICAF when it became clear the finger was being pointed in their direction, but the Forum declined to provide us with a membership list, or confirm which operators were still signed up.

So we're not clear who exactly Jack is representing when he says "The mobile phone industry welcomes the support of the government and police in the ongoing fight to prevent criminals from benefiting from mobile phone theft," though to be fair the industry is unlikely to be dead set against the idea.

So we now have guidelines endorsed by an individual of unknown provenance and aimed at an industry which doesn't exist, recommending that we do exactly what we're already doing.

It makes one proud to be British. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.