Money Drifts to Square for iPad, iPhone and Android users

Starbucks Coffee Shops will allow Apple customer to pay using their devices.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | AUGUST 9, 2012

The network of cafés has decided to invest $ 25 million in the revolutionary payment system that focuses on mobile devices. Starbucks will use Square at its 7,000 stores in the United States, and will add more services that the company offers.

With this, Jack Dorsey is on track to becoming one of the entrepreneurs with more flair for his success in recent years. After being one of the founders of Twitter, Dorsey embarked on the Square adventure, a platform designed to enable mobile devices as a tool to pay for products and services. Square is Jack Dorsey’s second bet, which continues to grow rapidly and seems to have the potential to be as much of a success as Twitter has.

Given Square’s success, one must ask, how about security and privacy concerns? Given the fact that both Google and Apple have confessed they actively track users behavior through implanted software in the phones and other electronics, wouldn’t the two companies be able to track purchases and transactions made with iPhones and Android based devices?

Right now, Square seems to continue to gain members and partners that can help to finally establish a consolidated payment system. That system, it seems, will initially use the existent credit and debit modes, but it will surely evolve into an even more artificial form of payment, perhaps where information contained in user accounts will directly provide funds and information without the need for a credit card company or a bank.

But enough about the conveniences. Let’s be mindful of how Square works and compare benefits against the down sides. As explained in this article, Square “is essentially a small magnetic reader that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone. When a credit card (or a debit card) is swiped through the reader, it reads the data and converts it into an audio signal. The microphone picks up the audio, sends it through the processors and then is routed to Square’s software application on the iPhone. From there the encrypted data is transmitted using either Wi-Fi (for iPod touch) or a 3G Internet connection to back-end severs, which in turn communicate with the payment networks to complete the transactions.” Lots of convenience here, but also lots of potential for lost or stolen information. That potential is even more realistic if we take into account Dorsey’s statement that “we don’t store any information on the devices.”

Haven’t we heard this kind of speech before? Didn’t it come from Apple and Google before discovering that they did store user information? Besides, WiFi and 3G connections are far from being safe enough to swipe credit cards on magnets and transferring them through them.

In the case of Starbucks, it was the coffee company that decided to rely on the Square payment system. That opens the potential for lots of concerns, as Starbucks networks could be easily hacked into. However, the two companies have signed an agreement for the 7,000 Starbucks coffee shops in the United States. This will allow card payments through Square. Besides being able to pay with their credit cards, Starbucks customers who use Square may also make payments from their mobile devices. Thus, through IOS or Android, with the Pay with Square app users can use their phones as authentic purses.

The agreement marks an important step for Square, which increases its presence in one of America’s favorite business and greater international projection. In fact, it is common to see pro-Square propaganda printed on magazines and newspapers all over the world, even in countries that doesn’t even have a reliable wireless internet or phone service.

The agreement also provides that Starbucks becomes part of Square directory, which provides customers with information on the premises where they can afford with this system.

As if all these possibilities were not enough, Starbucks wanted to show its support for Jack Dorsey more deeply. To do this, the company has confirmed it will invest $ 25 million on the platform, a clear sign of trust that Square will become a benchmark. Starbucks investment is accompanied by the entry of its CEO, Howard Schultz to the Square corporate board. Thus, the Starbucks will also pinch a share of the revenues obtained by Square. Who knows if in the future people will have their cash deposited in their Starbucks bank account.

Iphone’s New Creepy Companion

Sean Ludwig
Mobile Beat
November 3, 2011

Bluetooth headset maker Jawbone will soon release its new Up life monitoring wristband that’s designed to help you live a move healthy life by tracking every move you make, what you’re eating, how long you’re sleeping and how many calories you burn.The Jawbone Up, in many ways, is a cool use of technology to tackle the problem of not being active enough. Using the wristband and an iOS app, you can get prompts to move when you sit at your desk too long, be told exactly how long you’ve slept, be prompted to wake up in accordance with your natural sleep cycle and track how many calories you eat by snapping photos of your food.To get the most out of the product, you are expected to wear the wristband 24 hours a day. To make that possible, the Jawbone team has made the Up band water resistant and durable and it lasts 10 days on a single charge.While all of those aspects are handy, some potential users may shy away because they don’t want a piece of technology tracking every single thing they do or eat 24 hours a day. While the data isn’t neccesarily being shared with anyone else, there is something a little creepy about a machine that knows every little thing you do in your life. Additionally, if someone else gets their hands on your iPhone, he or she may be able to see all of those things.

As someone who spends a lot of time at my desk each day and not enough time in my bed at night, I like the idea of the Up wristband being able to help me get back into a healthier routine. The trick, if I decided to get one, would be keeping it on me regardless of activity and remembering to track my food intake.

The Up wristband goes on sale Nov. 6 for $100 from retailers including the Apple Store, Best Buy and Target. The wristband comes in small, medium, and large sizes and in seven different colors: black, brown, blue, white, silver, dark red and bright red.

Check out the video below of various aspects and benefits of the Up wristband:

Human Tagging Roles Out in the U.S.

Thanks to Apple’s “timely” release of eye and face scanning technology on its iPhone, now the slaves that enjoyed the convenience of such technology will have to submit to it.

Reuters
July 20, 2011

Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company’s already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects.

The so-called “biometric” technology, which seems to take a page from TV shows like “MI-5” or “CSI,” could improve speed and accuracy in some routine police work in the field. However, its use has set off alarms with some who are concerned about possible civil liberties and privacy issues.

The smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, is made by BI2 Technologies in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and can be deployed by officers out on the beat or back at the station.

An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person’s eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it takes to identify a suspect in custody. This technique also is significantly more accurate than results from other fingerprinting technology long in use by police, BI2 says.

When attached to an iPhone, MORIS can photograph a person’s face and run the image through software that hunts for a match in a BI2-managed database of U.S. criminal records. Each unit costs about $3,000.

Some experts fret police may be randomly scanning the population, using potentially intrusive techniques to search for criminals, sex offenders, and illegal aliens, but the manufacturer says that would be a difficult task for officers to carry out.

Sean Mullin, BI2’s CEO, says it is difficult, if not impossible, to covertly photograph someone and obtain a clear, usable image without that person knowing about it, because the MORIS should be used close up.

“It requires a level of cooperation that makes it very overt — a person knows that you’re taking a picture for this purpose,” Mullin said.

CONCERNS

But constitutional rights advocates are concerned, in part because the device can accurately scan an individual’s face from up to four feet away, potentially without a person’s being aware of it.

Experts also say that before police administer an iris scan, they should have probable cause a crime has been committed.

“What we don’t want is for them to become a general surveillance tool, where the police start using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the national ACLU in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, advocates see the MORIS as a way to make tools already in use on police cruiser terminals more mobile for cops on the job.

“This is (the technology) stepping out of the cruiser and riding on the officer’s belt, along with his flashlight, his handcuffs, his sidearm or the other myriad tools,” said John Birtwell, spokesman for the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department in southeastern Massachusetts, one of the first departments to use the devices.

The technology is also employed to maintain security at Plymouth’s 1,650 inmate jail, where it is used to prevent the wrong prisoner from being released.

“There, we have everybody in orange jumpsuits, so everyone looks the same. So, quite literally, the last thing we do before you leave our facility is we compare your iris to our database,” said Birtwell.

One of the technology’s earliest uses at BI2, starting in 2005, was to help various agencies identify missing children or at-risk adults, like Alzheimer’s patients.

Since then, it has been used to combat identity fraud, and could potentially be used in traffic stops when a driver is without a license, or when people are stopped for questioning at U.S. borders.

Facial recognition technology is not without its problems, however. For example, some U.S. individuals mistakenly have had their driver’s license revoked as a potential fraud. The problem, it turns out, is that they look like another driver and so the technology mistakenly flags them as having fake identification.

Roughly 40 law enforcement units nationwide will soon be using the MORIS, including Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, as well as officers in Hampton City in Virginia and Calhoun County in Alabama.

Apple’s legal council: We ‘must have’ comprehensive user data

Guidelines for user spying are written under United States Telecommunications Act of 1996.

International Business Times
April 25, 2011

Security researchers unveiled this week that Apple’s iPhonewas actively logging the whereabouts of users, storing location data into an easily assessable file on the device.

But it’s not just iPhones that are keeping track of their users.

Apple’s iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, and iPad models are also keeping track of consumers whereabouts. Mac computers running Snow Leopard and even Windows computers running Safari 5 are being watched.

The question is why?

The company has remained silent after researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden revealed this Wednesday that the iPhone was storing logs of users’ geographic coordinates in a hidden file.

“We’re not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it’s clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations,” the security experts wrote in their blogs.

While Apple has since remained tight-lipped on the matter, not responding to any media-inquires, another privacy snafu last year gives insight into what the company is doing with the information.

In June 2010, Congressmen Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Texas wrote a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs inquiring about Apple’s privacy policy and location-based services.

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