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Cellphones The Almighty Buck

Sound-Based System Promises Chipless Phone Payment 186

Posted by timothy
from the how-many-baud-on-that-thing? dept.
CWmike writes "While near-field communication gradually emerges to turn mobile phones into payment devices, startup Naratte is introducing a system it claims can do roughly the same thing without adding a chip to the handset. On Monday, Naratte introduced Zoosh, a technology that lets phones exchange transaction information via inaudible sound waves. As with NFC, the phone user would just put the phone near to a point-of-sale terminal to redeem a coupon or make a purchase. NFC provides short-range radio communication between phones and point-of-sale devices so users can just tap or point their phones at the device to make a purchase. NFC uses specialized chips, which are already built into a few phones such as the Google Nexus S sold by Sprint Nextel, and are expected in more handsets in the future. Zoosh involves software that utilizes the speaker and microphone in a handset to send and receive audio signals with another device, similar to the way early modems exchange data by sending tones through the handsets of desk phones cradled in coupler devices. The company has posted a video that shows how it works. Between this and barcodes (which Starbucks says is working well already, thank you very much), is NFC already irrelevant?"
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Sound-Based System Promises Chipless Phone Payment

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  • But I bet a microphone could still pick it up..

    And, on a side note, this is oddly reminiscent of Phreaking [wikipedia.org].. Payments with tones and all.. even if they are "inaudible."

    • by gehrehmee (16338) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:07PM (#36508096) Homepage

      Doesn't mean replaying it would get you anything, if it's cryptographically sound.

      • by dbIII (701233)

        Doesn't mean replaying it would get you anything, if it's cryptographically sound.

        It had better be. We don't want any chipless phishing.

        • by mspeedie (186600)

          Correct, phish with out chips is just half a meal!

          • And hardly worth the effort if there's not plenty of malt vinegar on hand!

            Damn! Now I'm Jonesin' for fish and chips. It's nearly midnight. Oh, well, this is off-topic anyhow. Reset!

      • by Excelsior (164338)

        Even if the information carried by inaudible sound waves is "cryptographically sound", it's certainly not a secure "wallet". Bragging that it doesn't rely on a chip may sound great, but there's more to Google Wallet's NFC chip than simple radio communications. The chip also serves as what Google calls a "Secure Element" [google.com]. This allows Google Wallet to securely store your card details and payment details inside a completely secure chip that's sandboxed from the OS itself.

        If this technology is secure at comm

    • If a microphone couldn't pick it up, the system wouldn't work. Unless the designers are unbelievable morons, they will presumably keep in mind that the carrier is trivially sniff-able and encrypt the link.
    • by c0lo (1497653) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:43PM (#36508324)

      But I bet a microphone could still pick it up..

      I don't know... might work better than radio waves - the attenuation of RF in air might not beat the attenuation of sound waves. The higher the frequency, the higher the attenuation [npl.co.uk] of the ultrasound in air (dry air: 0.6 dB/m at 50 kHz, 1.8 dB/m at 100 kHz). Add some directional elements, use a small emitting power and what's not in direct line of emission might be drowned by noise at a distance of 0.1-1m.

      And, on a side note, this is oddly reminiscent of Phreaking

      Hmmm... yes, but I think in this case the danger will come from rogue bats flying around that pay terminal (hold you fire, it's just a lame joke)

      • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Monday June 20, 2011 @10:43PM (#36508672) Journal

        dry air: 0.6 dB/m at 50 kHz, 1.8 dB/m at 100 kHz

        No. Sound is not so linear as that. You cannot take a chart that says sound is attenuated by 1800dB at 1km and simply divide by 1000 to get the attenuation at 1m.

        Remember inverse-square law: Check it out. [gsu.edu] (And more here [sengpielaudio.com].)

        All that aside: The simplified rule of thumb for sound at audible frequencies, for a spherical waveform (such as that emitted by a phone), is that sound falls off at a rate of 6dB for each doubling of distance.

        So, if you're making noise that measures 80dB@10cm, you get the following results at these increasing distances:

        74dB@20cm
        68dB@40cm
        62dB@80cm

        etc.

        And we only care about frequencies in the audible range, despite the implication in TFS, or it will be completely unable to work with existing phones (which is the main point of the thing to begin with). To wit: Combine Nyquist theory with the shitty analog electronics and 48KHz (at best!) ADC/DAC in a phone, and the resultant system must be either audible to a sufficiently-close non-damaged human ear, or else be completely non-functional.

        So, there's no point in even discussing how well the thing might behave at 50 or 100KHz, because that's never going to work with existing phones.

        And the whole argument is moot, anyway: The transport layer for this sort of payment system, whether RFID or barcodes or acoustic signalling or Bluetooth or avian carrier, will be recordable by a sufficiently-motivated and clever person. It therefore must have strong security (whether cryptographic or otherwise), or it will fail and be exploited. And if it does have strong security, it doesn't matter if it's recordable or not, since any recovered data will be useless to the eavesdropping party.

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          All that aside: The simplified rule of thumb for sound at audible frequencies, for a spherical waveform (such as that emitted by a phone), is that sound falls off at a rate of 6dB for each doubling of distance.

          With directional elements, the wave-front is no longer spherical - assuming a beam (plane-wave front), the exponential attenuation (due to absorption) holds.
          But, you are right for the back-scattered sound - this will degrade much faster not only because of the absorption, but also because it won't be an almost planar wave-front anymore.

          And we only care about frequencies in the audible range, despite the implication in TFS, or it will be completely unable to work with existing phones (which is the main point of the thing to begin with). To wit: Combine Nyquist theory with the shitty analog electronics and 48KHz (at best!) ADC/DAC in a phone, and the resultant system must be either audible to a sufficiently-close non-damaged human ear, or else be completely non-functional.

          The human ear is able to pick up to 20 kHz [wikipedia.org], and people over 40 are able to hear at most 16-18 kHz (if ever). This is why 22 kHz is meant to be the absolute upper frequency t

          • by adolf (21054)

            With directional elements, the wave-front is no longer spherical - assuming a beam (plane-wave front), the exponential attenuation (due to absorption) holds.

            With a best-case cylindrical waveform, the rule of thumb slides to 3dB per doubling of distance.

            And so what? Phones aren't made with directional elements. They don't emit cylindrical waveforms. There's one or more little electret mics, and an earspeaker that each operate through a small hole. These arrangements are not things that are known for thei

            • by rjstanford (69735)

              No. The band from 20 to 30kHz doesn't work. The maximum sampling rate that can be reasonably expected to be supported by a reasonably modern, existing (remember the context) phone is 48kHz, which means that frequencies above 24kHz cannot be handled at all. Remember, this is supposed to work with existing devices.

              Hang on there - 30kHz wouldn't work for anything complicated, I'd probably grant you that - but for this idea to work, all you'd actually need is the ability for a phone to make any kind of noise at 30kHz +- 3kHz. It could simply use an on/off stream with a good warning burst in front of it and send out the programmed number, and broadcast that series of pulses whenever a button was pressed.

              Would that be ideal? No, but its not trying to replace the ideal. Its trying to replace the idea of handing a piece

              • by adolf (21054)

                Hang on there - 30kHz wouldn't work for anything complicated, I'd probably grant you that - but for this idea to work, all you'd actually need is the ability for a phone to make any kind of noise at 30kHz +- 3kHz. It could simply use an on/off stream with a good warning burst in front of it and send out the programmed number, and broadcast that series of pulses whenever a button was pressed.

                No. You can't make a 30kHz signal with a 48kHz DAC. You can't even get 30kHz +- 3kHz. The very best case is that ca

            • by stdarg (456557)

              With a best-case cylindrical waveform, the rule of thumb slides to 3dB per doubling of distance.

              And so what? Phones aren't made with directional elements. They don't emit cylindrical waveforms. There's one or more little electret mics, and an earspeaker that each operate through a small hole. These arrangements are not things that are known for their superb directionality, but rather the opposite.

              Wouldn't it also depend on the shape of the receiver? For instance if you put your phone inside a little padded tube that would change things I would guess.

          • by stdarg (456557)

            The human ear is able to pick up to 20 kHz [wikipedia.org], and people over 40 are able to hear at most 16-18 kHz (if ever). This is why 22 kHz is meant to be the absolute upper frequency to digitally encode on an Audio CD and thus 44 kHz the maximum sampling rate required for "absolute audiophile perfection".

            Seems to me you'd want the system to be audible anyway. It would let you quickly detect attempts to intercept the handshake, like if someone is standing nearby with a really loud tone emanating from their pocket trying to drown out the checkout machine.

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          So, there's no point in even discussing how well the thing might behave at 50 or 100KHz, because that's never going to work with existing phones.

          That was my question. Given that my phone lists its speaker and mic as 20-20k Hz (or close enough to that), how can something make a sound that the phone can hear that I can't? Or, as you point out, given the chips in the phone, it is limited in what it can output and receive from an electrical perspective as well.

          If you are going through the trouble of redesigning the phone anyway, is this really going to save money?

          • by adolf (21054)

            If you are going through the trouble of redesigning the phone anyway, is this really going to save money?

            No, it won't save money if it requires a new design. And that new design won't save any space.

            The only thing this tech has going for it is that it is a purely software solution.

            And as a software solution, it is limited by the constraints of the hardware. And that hardware is limited to producing and recording audible sounds, since it is (well, you know) audio hardware.

    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      Ah to have a use for my old phone box again, happy days...
  • by Mogster (459037) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:12PM (#36508134)

    They want their accoustic couplers back :)

  • > NFC uses specialized chips

    ???

  • NFC requires specialized chips. This audio-based solution does too, but the summary handwaves it because a tiny handful of phones already has it. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I smell a false premise.
  • NFC irrelevant? (Score:4, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:29PM (#36508236) Journal
    Has NFC already been reduced to a glorified mag-stripe; but with more options for carriers to get their pound of flesh out of the transaction? If so, then yes, a cheaper way of communicating with the POS arguably threatens its relevance.

    However, if that deplorable possibility hasn't come to pass, then this seems like only a partial replacement. With NFC, as with the prior RFID stuff, you get the handy option of having passive, antenna-powered tags that can interact with powered devices. You can also have two powered devices talk to each other, some combination depending on the circumstances. With this audio mechanism, and QR codes, and the like, you have the advantage of using hardware that is already there 'for free' because it has other uses; but your versatility is limited: The audio-based system, unless some very clever and likely not cheap piezo/MEMS system were to be hacked together, will only work between two powered devices. QR codes are tolerant of unpowered tags, indeed their tags are cheaper than RFID ones; but you are restricted to dumb tags only. No challenge/response authentication or anything unless two devices with screens and cameras are flashing QR codes at each other as a crude form of two-way communications interface, in which case both of the devices have to be fairly sophisticated and powered.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      There is also the practical issue of having to maintain working speakers and microphones on the read. With NFC the reader can be completely airtight but for sound you will need holes for air to pass through. In a busy station where there is a lot of dust and people might have wet hands if they just came in out of the rain a sealed unit has obvious advantages.

  • One key advantage is that you can use your phone with a free Android app to read and write onto cheap (read+write-many or read+write-once or read-only) HF based HFID tags that cost a few cents and are field powered:

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.nxp.nfc.tagwriter&feature=related_apps [android.com]

    Imagine the possibilities... Product tags, WiFi setup including WPA2 keys for guests, bulletin messaging in areas with poor signals, etc. In addition, the NFC chips being used on these phones have a security cryp

    • I think an even better question is how long it will be before people with sniffers find a vulnerability in the system.

      Don't try to tell me it isn't possible. If Chris Paget can read RFIDs out of passports from 30 feet away and inside his car (equipment cost: $1500), then how easy will it be to sniff active systems like NFC from across the room and behind a wall?

      And please don't try to tell me that the transactions are "secure". People have found vulnerabilities in just about every kind of electronic
  • by fermion (181285) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:40PM (#36508310) Homepage Journal
    There was a time when the cost of a long distance call was exorbitant. Fortunately the phone company ran validation over the same lines of communication, and it was possible to reverse engineer the tones ATT used to get free long distance. The lesson learned is that if the user has access to the validation channel, and the validating code is simple and unencrypted, then it will be hacked and abused. Given the limitations of the cell phone microphone and the network, I would wonder how complex the tone could be, and how easy it would be to hack to steal product or money.
    • I'm guessing it is A) encrypted and B) VERY hard to whistle that tune. In any case, radio signals can be picked up just as easily as sound waves, so this probably isn't much different than NFC in terms of security.
    • I can just as easily take a picture of your credit card number with my cellphone. I don't need to reverse engineer a damned thing.

      Not that I want this... or a credit card. When I want to spend money, I have to go to the bank and fill out a withdraw slip. If I don't want whatever it was I was going to buy bad enough to do that... I didn't need it in the first place.
      • I can just as easily take a picture of your credit card number with my cellphone.

        Without me seeing you do it? Don't think so.

      • How much are they going to pay me to use this ..?

        Why, well they will be collecting information on my spending habits which they can sell and make money from, so how much do I get ?

        I Suspect none - so I will continue to pay cash for small transactions ... In my experience this is also quicker ...!

    • by sam0737 (648914)

      Same for NFC and mag-strip. Access to audio maybe easier than NFC signal, but it's still "open" to user. Same for SSL...it's all in-band and accessible.
      Last time I read a NFC related spec, a asymmetric encryption/PKI is employed.

      If phone company run the signal in-band today with the signal signed with PKI, etc etc, it's just as secure as running it out-of-band. It's just we didn't have the technology to do that efficiently a few decades ago.

    • by AC-x (735297)

      Given the limitations of the cell phone microphone and the network, I would wonder how complex the tone could be.

      How complex the tone could be? It's obviously going to be a modulated digital signal, so they can use whatever encryption protocol they want.

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Monday June 20, 2011 @10:00PM (#36508418)

    Right now, I have an AMEX in my wallet. It's the best. Unlike my six other credit cards, my AMEX has no chip, no PIN, and no magic. Ok ok, it has a magstripe. The point is that in order to use it, I open my wallet, swipe my card, sign my signature, and walk away. That's great. It's convenient because it takes fewer than 10 seconds, and it's super-secure, because it requires me to take out my wallet, and to use my card within a millimetre of the magstripe reader. And it's super legal too, because my signature is a legal tool that means something, and it's very criminal to forge someone else's signature. Finally, it's super-safe for me, because if anyone, anywhere in the world uses my credit account for any reason in any way, I'm not responsible for the charge. That's perfect.

    The reason I don't use my other credit cards is very simple. They suck. The chip can be read from many yards away, through my pocket. So it's not secure. I need to remember a different PIN for each, so it's not convenient. I'm not allowed to use the same PIN for each -- that's against the card agreement, and rightfully so. And here's the worst part. If someone else uses my card, and uses my PIN, it doesn't matter how they got it it, I'm still responsible to pay it. Read your agreement. Ask for it. That's what it says. It says that you are responsible for any purchase made using your PIN. My PIN is not 32 characters long. It's just a handful of digits that anyone could notice, and remember easier than a phone number.

    Now, we're talking about using my phone. A device that can break, die, crash, or get lost. Unlike my wallet, my phone moves from my pocket to my hand way more often. It discharges too. So now if my battery dies, I won't be able to buy a new one. Suck on that for a while. How's that for a buried shovel? So it won't be safe. It won't be secure because whatever information is being passed is being passed through the air, and is no more secure than any airwave transmission. And by using ordinary soundwaves, it can be detected by any microphone that ever existed -- including other phones. My credit card can't intercept other credit cards, unless it's covered in cheese when I swipe it. And by the way, jamming is just as bad. So it's not secure in any way.

    Not to mention the most annoying part of all. I just refuse to use a modem ever again. I don't want to hear that sound again. I don't want to wonder why my 16800 is connecting at 14400. I don't want to know why no one has ever gotten 56000 ever, with any 56000 modem. And I don't want to have to explain to someone what BAUD means ever again.

    I'm done with that shit.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Finally, it's super-safe for me, because if anyone, anywhere in the world uses my credit account for any reason in any way, I'm not responsible for the charge. That's perfect.

      That's great, but it's a feature of your account agreement, it has nothing to do with the technology used to authenticate the transaction.
      • by holophrastic (221104) on Monday June 20, 2011 @10:57PM (#36508750)

        See, I used to think that, but it's the other side that makes it true. Certainly any agreement could say that if someone uses my PIN, I wouldn't be responsible. They don't, but they could, but they don't. And you can flip that any way you like. But a signature is different. A signature isn't a part of my agreement. A signature is a legal device.

        The primary reason that my credit account can't charge me for fraudulent charges is because I never agreed to those charges. And in today's legal world, the only reason that I need to pay my credit card bill is because every restaurant has me sign a piece of that says "I agree to pay above total amount in accordance with card issuer's agreement".

        It's not the account agreement; it's the law, and the concept of a signature as a binding contract. A PIN is based on the idea that no one else knows my PIN. A signature is based on the idea that no one else can bind me to a contract. The day that the law changes, and says that using someone else's PIN is criminal, then I'll be happy. But right now, you're allowed to use someone else's PIN. That's not illegal. It's illegal to steal, but that doesn't stop my having to pay my credit card bill. Contrast that with the idea that it was always illegal to sign someone else's name, even with their permission and consent. You simply aren't allow to sign someone else's signature, under any circumstance, for any reason whatsoever.

        So that's the reason that I say it's a problem with the technology. The technology failed to consider the legal ramifications of such a change. To say that it's not the technology's fault is like playing football during during recess (do they still have recess?) and calling interference when the ball hits a tree. That's not interference, the tree was there before you threw the ball.

        • Contrast that with the idea that it was always illegal to sign someone else's name, even with their permission and consent. You simply aren't allow to sign someone else's signature, under any circumstance, for any reason whatsoever

          That depends on what you mean by their signature. You can't simply sign their name, but you can put both your and their names in lieu of their signature if you have their consent.

          Say Alice gives Bob authority to act on her behalf. Bob can sign "Alice by Bob" or "Bob as agent for Alice." I see it done fairly often on real estate documents (I work as a closing coordinator) and I'm fairly sure it happens elsewhere as well.

          • ...and this will be backed up in writing by a document stating that you allow them to sign in lieu of you, and what they can sign on your behalf. and anything signed by them in this way can be disputed by you, and so is less binding that you signing it yourself ...

            They are not signing your name, they are signing theirs on your behalf

    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      Thank you for your well-written posts.
      I fully understand your motivation, and wish your solution (AmEx dumb-card) would be an option where I live. I just have one question: what do you do for online purchases? I'm guessing it's the usual card-number-and-expiration-date-and-three-digit-code thing, and if so, do you trust that?

      Also, I'm curious about the "remote hole" and the "concept of surface area" topic, which I don't understand. How is the non-RFID chip of a standard "smart card" vulnerable? No really, I

    • by sohmc (595388)

      The point of Zoosh seems to be to create a system using nothing but what everybody already has. I'm sure the software is still being developed but I actually have hopes for this. As another user already mentioned, RFIDs are hardly secure since they can be scanned at quite a large distance away.

      I would assume Zoosh uses some sort of trigger. E.g. the phone doesn't emit any sound until you say, "Use my phone to start the transaction."

      Additionally, I assume that the company is smart enough to figure out the

  • Smartphones already have 3 radios: Phone, Wifi, Bluetooth. Do we really need, or want, a 4th one ?

    • by glwtta (532858)
      I would think they need exactly as many radios as are needed to support the features that people want?

      But, and that's where I draw the line, not a single one more than that!
    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      Most phones already have 4, and some have 5. GPS requires an antenna, although it is receive-only. If you're on Verizon and have a dual-mode phone you probably have a separate antenna for CDMA and GPRS.
  • Mobile handsets are well on their way to becoming general-purpose computing platforms, with all of the security problems that entails. I think we have reason to be hopeful that it won't get as bad as Windows-based PCs are, but the fact is that the security of the handset is never going to be something we can really rely on.

    To me, that means that if we want to use them for payment, we need to have a device in the phones which can securely store and use cryptographic keys, and contain and execute software

  • I don't know about that. Sure they've only won 5 of the last 14 Super Bowls, but they've won the last two. I wouldn't write them off just yet.

  • I think I have an easy solution to this. I'm not an analog expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I did use modems (300 baud modem all the way up to a 56k).

    If you could make a cradle where you slide the phone into it, the purchaser's phone would send it's public_key to the purchasing system, which would then send it's public_key back to the purchaser's phone -- encrypted with the purchaser's public_key. Then the purchaser's phone would send the payment information encrypted with the public_key of t

    • by tftp (111690)

      If you could make a cradle where you slide the phone into it, the purchaser's phone would send it's public_key to the purchasing system, which would then send it's public_key back to the purchaser's phone -- encrypted with the purchaser's public_key.

      There is no reason to encrypt public keys - they are public, after all.

      Then the purchaser's phone would send the payment information encrypted with the public_key of the purchasing system -- and the acknowledgement of successful transaction would be sent ba

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday June 20, 2011 @10:40PM (#36508648) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why the specific method of the phone giving the cash register some money is some kind of roadblock. Why the phone needs some new method of communicating with the cash register. The phone has a million ways to send a message to the cash register and get a message back. Why can't the phone just text a One-Time Password to the cash register? Or use HTTPS? Or USSD, the GSM infrastructure high priority message used for topping off prepaid phones? Or any of a number of other comms techniques? Phones in Scandinavia have been texting parking meters, and getting texted when the meter's running down, for years. The money can be transferred by digital "check" between banks, or the telco can collect micropayment notices to be paid back like a credit card at the end of the month - or your phone privileges are cut off by the telcos cartel, harsher than a credit rating hit.

    The infrastructure for these transactions are everywhere already. I'm impressed by the cleverness of this "inaudible" signaling, but it all seems an unnecessary waste of time.

    • by dynamo (6127)

      Ideally you don't want to communicate over a non-local network to make a local transaction, that's why. For security and because it just makes sense.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Why not? SSL is cheap and easy, as are WANs. Why does it make more sense to add an entire new local network tech than to use the existing WANs?

    • by AC-x (735297)

      Why can't the phone just text a One-Time Password to the cash register? Or use HTTPS? Or USSD, the GSM infrastructure high priority message used for topping off prepaid phones? Or any of a number of other comms techniques?

      How will the phone get the address of the cash register? All of those ideas would require the user to enter the cash registers details on their phone (time consuming) and if their phone doesn't have signal then the whole thing won't work.

      With this the phone can send card details to the cash register regardless of signal and without the user having to type anything in.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        QR code on the cash register and cameraphone, already working.

        • by AC-x (735297)

          QR code on the cash register and cameraphone, already working

          Again, this relies on the customer's phone having a signal. Bad signal and the QR code is useless. The cash register could have a camera, and the phone display a QR code, but that's still only one way communication which limits its usefulness.

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            WiFi, Zigbee, femtocell, both phone and cash register have cameras and QR code displays...

            Or just (cf. femtocell) see that cell networks get their signal everywhere, which is a much more important basic requirement than micropayments added to the few but important places where signal doesn't travel yet. Femtocells cost $150 each +$5 a month, but are free from carriers whenever anyone asks for one and there really is no signal. Like inside a mall.

            • by AC-x (735297)

              Um, a simple acoustic coupling scheme is sounding a lot simpler to me than setting up and maintaining femtocells and wifi everywhere that shops want to roll out mobile payment.

  • ...to demonstrate "inaudible sound waves"? Okay, here's one too:
    "




    "
  • Or cash even? It takes me 2 seconds to get my wallet out. How long are you willing to wait for this app to start up and finish a transaction with the register?
  • but seriously, shouldn't the question be whether EM or audio has a more usable SNR in the random retail environment?

  • by Hognoxious (631665)

    exchange transaction information via inaudible sound waves.

    I'm a dog, you insensitive clod!!!!

  • ... and built it. My system's called BitChirp, and can encode up to 512 bits. It works. Too bad these guys beat me to market :(

  • by Kim0 (106623)

    There have been myriads of systems like this.
    I was contacted by a french company doing the same, with their own sound encoding system,
    which was quite similar to DTFM of the keys on old keypad tones.
    Then there were a similar system made by an european crypto-key calculator producer,
    which actually used DTFM.

    The principle is so simple that any good crypto programmer could have made it with an
    ordinary modem. I take this as a strong sign that this kind of technology, including
    near field communications, are hinde

    • by tftp (111690)

      I take this as a strong sign that this kind of technology, including near field communications, are hindered by some other factor, such as disinterest from banks.

      • Banks would have to provide phones to their account holders - and that's quite expensive!
      • Alternatively, they can provide software for existing phones. But then they have to support thousands of models! It's a nightmare.
      • Such a system is not under bank's control. There will be various people who want their cut. The bank is not in business of giv
  • A sound based technology might have big problems operating in a noisy environment - and I know this is for non human audible sounds - but these sounds can also occur outside of this phone app - ie building noise / night club / a busy street. This might limit the usage a little.

  • The last commonly used type of NFC which worked (IRDA) different from magnetic induction essentially just vanished after a long time. All my Mobile devices bought from 2000-2007 (and one camera bought ) were able to speak irda.

    NFC by sound is an obvious idea. But i dont expect that it works very well. The differences in the mass density are higher than the difference in the dielectricity constant of leather, cotton to air. The impedance mismatches seen if you work in practical wavelength regimes (we dont w

    • by drolli (522659)

      Irrelevant besides the use cases where it is already use by millions of people each day

    • by vlm (69642)

      The last commonly used type of NFC which worked (IRDA) different from magnetic induction essentially just vanished after a long time.

      If there is one real truth learned by decades of experience in the tech field, its that everything old is eventually new again, and it never really changes.

      NFC will roll out to about 1% of users and 1% of retail establishments, then get a couple high profile hacking cases because they will roll their own inadequate security and stuff it full of backdoors for "customer convenience", there will also be a couple high profile phone theft resulting in CC fraud cases, then thankfully the whole technology will get

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