Here we are in the year 2006, and we're still gullible enough to think the knowledge of a 16 digit number is enough to justify handing over money? ALL of someone's money? AND kill their future credit?
What I want to know is why anyone still is being forced to use a system from the 1950s to handle their financial transactions in the world. The validation of credit cards is done online... why can't their be a pin number for face to face transactions, just like a debit card?
For online transactions, why can't we log into our issuing banks system, and generate a ONE TIME number for each and every separate transaction? We're already online... wouldn't it be worth a cut and paste to protect your financial reputation?
If the one time use numbers were tied to the recipient of the money, many of the woes that we consumers are faced to deal with would immediately disappear... compromise of one vendors database would be worth approximately $0.00 to any other vendor or customer.
Why doesn't this happen? People aren't aware of the technical possibilities, just as they don't know enough about DRM to seek open alternatives. We all need to find our voices, both online and elsewhere, and help bring the power of the technology we've built to everyone. Because we're not aware of the possiblities, we put up with utterly obsolete systems for moving money.
The same thing is true in many other intersections of technology and everyday life. There are models for computing security that are fast and secure, but not actively pursued. There are other computer architectures which may be able to offer a few orders of magnitude increase in computation speed for specialized tasks.
We need to talk about possibilites in the long term, as well as the short term. We need to get our imagination back. I've long known that some day I would be able to afford a Terabyte of disk space... and I imagine I'll buy it some time in the next 2 years. What the future holds in terms of computing is simply astounding.
We need to be aware of the forces that want to stop things for their own benefit, such as the Phone and Media companies. We need to creatively route around their economically motivated damage to innovation.
I fear that if we fail to do this, the enlightenment itself is going to be rolled back... and I definitely don't want that to happen.