Don’t Double Swipe Your Credit Card

don't double swipe your credit cardThe Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP) has given the message “Don’t double-swipe credit cards” to commercial establishments and retailers. The advice is good for customers, too. The practice of “double-swiping” can compromise the data security of credit cardholders.

Alan German, a spokesman for CCAP, said that criminal groups are targeting Point-of-Sale systems, stealing card data and customer PINs.

German told ABS-CBNnews.com, “In many cases, the second swipe results in the credit card’s full data to be retained by the merchant in its own system. Effectively, this unnecessary practice increases the merchants’ vulnerability to potential data compromise… This loose data, so to speak, can then be used to create counterfeit cards, engage in identity theft, and perpetrate fraud.”

The reason “double-swiping” has become common among retailers is because it is often used for customer loyalty programs, record-keeping or other aspects of the retail-operations.  The second swipe of a credit card is most often unrelated to authorization or transaction settlements with the retailer.

German believes that if card issuers and merchants understand the risks in double-swiping cards, they will undertake measures to protect their businesses.  Understanding the risks would also protect credit cardholders from potential identity theft and other types of fraud.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says the bad news is that we are all vulnerable to identity theft, but there are ways to protect yourself: “First, don’t carry your social security number on any documents in your purse or wallet; change your driver’s license or any other documents to different numbers. Next, lock your mailbox and be sure to stop mail when you’re out of town for more than a few days. Shred your trash with a cross cut shredder. Be careful what you say about yourself in public –especially when you’re on your cell phone. Finally, you can protect your computer with a fire-wall, anti-virus software, or a program that removes spyware.”

Another item that the FBI might list on their website to protect customers and retailers is “Don’t double-swipe your card.”

New video sneak peek at ‘The Fifth Estate’

thefifthestate

We talk in here a great deal about online security and what can happen with that security is breached. Both good and bad things can happen. We have also heard a great deal in the media about “The Fifth Estate.” Not exactly a new concept, but one which is gaining in momentum:

***The Fifth Estate refers to citizen journalism. “Fifth Estate” is used to describe media outlets (including the blogosphere) that see themselves in opposition to mainstream media (the official press), any class or group in society other than the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the commoners (Third Estate) and the press (Fourth Estate). It has been used to describe civil society, the poor or the proletariat.***

We have heard a great deal about WikiLeaks, which has forever changed the way people view information and data, both the release of it as well as the hiding it.  “The Fifth Estate” is a new thriller movie which is based on the real events.

Official description . . . “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?”

I know I’m excited to see this side of the story and where actions like these may lead.

 

THE FIFTH ESTATE opens in theatres everywhere on October 18th!

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American’s Under Surveillance: NSA admits tracking cell phone locations

The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) has started to come clean about tracking Americans cell phone data and what data was being collected. NSA admits to tracking the cell phone location of Americans in a test pilot project in 2010 and 2011.

According to the New York Times, “it was unclear how many Americans’ locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward.”

NSA  claimed that they never moved forward with the program.  The “experiment” pilot project was to test how location information would move into the massive databases containing other information on Americans.  Cell phone location is considered to be one of the most sensitive data that a cell phone emits, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Since most people carry their cell phones everywhere they go it is possible that the location data tracking could lead to the government knowing most intimate daily habits and movements of not only the person whose phone is being tracked but friends and family members whom the person had come into contact with throughout the day.

The biggest problem with NSA’s admission of the test pilot program is that it admitted to doing an illegal activity.  NSA’s chief Keith Alexander said during a Senate hearing, “Under Section 215, NSA is not receiving cell site location data and has no current plans to do so.”  The recent admission of past collection clearly violated Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

In order to counter-act negative reaction to the admission, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper told Congress that if they started their location recollection program they would inform the intelligence committee and FISA court. That means that Americans could still be kept in the dark if the program, a clear violation of the Patriot Act and one that brings up Fourth Amendment issues, were to become restarted.

I feel safer already, don’t you?

FISA Court Releases Opinion Upholding NSA Phone Program

The federal surveillance court has released a declassified opinion that upholds the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone program. The FISA court decided that the gathering of billions of phone records for counterterrorism purposes was constitutional and justified.

Gathering of “all call detail records” of phone companies by NSA is justifiable as long as the gathering of the data is relevant to an authorized investigation. The most significant part of the ruling is that it mentions that the data is justifiable if the government can show that there is an authorized investigation into unknown terrorists who may be in the United States. This begs the question of how there could possibly be an authorized investigation into unknown terroristic persons on reasonable grounds without the collection of the phone data.

According to the opinion, the government only needs “reasonable grounds to believe” that the phone records will be relevant to the investigation in order to legally collect the phone records.  The burden of proof the government needs is much lower than that needed in a criminal investigation.  The court claims this is because the goal is not to solve a crime but to prevent a terrorist attack.

Critics claim that the opinion released by the court is not justifiable by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) or the Constitution.  Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, told the Washington Post, “This isn’t a judicial opinion in the conventional sense. It’s a document that appears to have been cobbled together over the last few weeks in an effort to justify a decision that was made seven years ago. I don’t know of any precedent for that, and it raises a lot of questions.”

Privacy issues have come into question when Edward Snowden leaked information about the NSA spy program. The government’s stance from the beginning has been that the broad collection of data is needed to find unknown terrorist operatives in the United States.  It is still unclear how much scope the NSA program actually has over the data it has collected from billions of homes across the nation.

And, now we also hear about  . . . N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens