Friday, 5 February 2010

Mobile is our future wallet and identity

An article by Christopher Carfi on how the new social customer will be mobile, and a (rather non-critical) article from Tech Crunch on Facebook's email got my attention today

Email is all about identity according to TechCrunch there, which is rather far fetched I think. I used to have more than two dozen email accounts none of which contained much real data about myself, if any. The only email account that does now is my corporate account (I terminated the majority of my accounts and now have only 6 - I think) - and that is indirectly, of course

So, in short, this specific TechCrunch post doesn't make any sense to me. It doesn't sketch the context around this bold remark (didn't we all just agree that email is dead?) anyway, unfortunately
Christopher's article shows that, simply put, everyone's going to have a mobile, and not a desktop, laptop, Kindle or iPad - or anything else. Mobility's here to stay and will not go away, we want to be online 24/7/365

Having said that, I do have a personal problem. I have a token. My company has provided me with one, to get access to my corporate single sign-on. I don't always carry that token around with me. It's credit card size, but it has no other goal than rendering 6 characters, so I have to deliberately decide up front whether I'm going to take that with me when I go some place.
When I'm at work, I usually take it with me, although I do forget it now and then.
When I'm not at work, I have to decide, and predict the future: will I, at some point, want to access the corporate network? You know what my wife will say if I were to ask her that question on a Sunday morning or afternoon...

So, 9 out of 10 times I end up missing it. The token that is. And end up being 24/7 online, but only like 12/5 for my company. So that exact way of security is counterproductive

To avoid a lengthy post like my last one(s), I'm just going to cut it short (have a dinner to attend to in 30 minutes as well):
  • Email is like Post-it's: difficult, if not impossible, to trace. And it's got nothing to do with identity
  • Security is strongest when combining knowledge with possession (that's why there are tokens)
  • Everyone has a mobile
  • Your mobile company knows exactly who you are, where you live, what your driver's license or passport looks like, and, most importantly: they have the right to withdraw money from your account
  • You can also use your mobile for physical payments with NFC and that works really well (even programmed code for that myself a while ago)
So: let there be an app for the smartphone that can generate security tokens. Let there be an app for the smartphone that uses credit from your account to pay for services, initially via your mobile operator, without him at a later stage when it's mature.
Secure all that with a single master password on your phone, and there it is: your wallet, your password generator, the virtual You. And all you need is Java

And, the good part is, of course, that mobile operators are friends nor foes. Do you picture Apple cooperate with Google with Microsoft with Facebook with Twitter?

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