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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

SIMalliance forms NFC working group

SIM card industry association, SIMalliance, has formed a near field communications (NFC) working group to promote its role in contactless mobile phone payments.

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Collaboration Does Not Always Lead To Innovation

While I would always encourage co-operation, it isn't always easy to come by and when it comes to designing and innovating I've generally found that the larger the committee, the slower and more convoluted the process can become.

This NFC-SIM committee approach doesn't sound like innovation, and some might describe it as desperation. Difficulty in reaching consensus rises with the number of 'stakeholders' and usually means the end result is too many 'holders' and too little 'stake'. Given that there are a variety of approaches to mobile transactions and banking, including those which need not be concerned with the SIM, it isn't clear to me what an NFC operator has to gain sharing the 'stake' with the SIM issuer.

It signals to me that a SIM based approach is too difficult and will not  address the needs of the global market, and interoprability is in question. It also suggest that it may not be the most cost competitive approach, or parhaps it is too competitive in the variety of approaches by different telco's. Tier2 telco's are also a spanner in the works.

There is an advantage for the SIM issuer because they would otherwise be unable to compete with the NFC approach and neither make any sense at all on their own. Just try two nonsensical approaches cobbled together from two players who have a poor track record of failure both with the cards and securing networks?

In the rush for everyone to become a stakeholder in the ID issue, we end up with too many fingers in the pie and the basic cost of providing society with a method of transacting will be the most expensive of possible options(and ID because the two are linked). Now they want manufacturers to get in on the deal, and do we all need to buy a new mobile phone? $300 billion dollars to replace the existing mobiles with NFC capable mobiles and still the consumer would have received no benefit. Uncountable billions more need to be spent on NFC readers before mobile transactions can be provided.

Who is paying for all of this? The taxpayer? Certainly not any bank in which I am a shareholder.

Just how big is this consumer wallet anyway?

The reality is that we all pay, and we pay far too much.

The 'stake-hopefuls' would have us gamble all these billions on the word of a smart-card salesman, and we know how smart those cards aren't. Are we expected to spend another trillion dollars when the method is compromised? Just so that the smart card manufacturers can have a stake in our ID and our transactions?

The telco's would now have us pay yet another premium for traffic on their networks.  Telco's have had decades in which to provide us with a transaction and ID solution and their best effort is to piggy-back on the very questionable smart card and force mobile manufacturers to adopt NFC in mobiles. We keep hearing about how mobiles are cheaper to deploy than cable and fibre, yet how come the data charges over the air are 10 times higher? Free SMS until you're hooked and then the price goes up while the costs come down. What about roaming/reaming?

So far they have shown that they are only telco's, having little regard for customers, nor even the laws of the countries in which they operate, the US being a fine case in point, where the telco's operated outside the laws spying for and in cahoots with a dubious government. Is that anywhere to place your trust?

Are corporations beyond our laws, and do we get no say?


Is it the card, the mobile manufacturer, the reader, the network, the financial institution? Who are at fault? Standard practice in the past has been whenever someone else can be blamed, blame them and deny responsibility. The governments will certainly have plenty of others to blame.

All these stakeholders will shoot themselves in the foot this way and we'll be left to clean it up and pay for it.

Smart cards, NFC, or RFID or whatever name you spin for them are not smart and are better suited to tracking our rubbish bins and such like.

The smart card industry has actually made us all less safe. Inappropriate application of this dubious technology increases the risk from terrorism and will also increase our exposure to fraud and ID theft. It'll go from 1 in 7 Brits suffering from some form of identity theft to all of us becoming victims.

I haven't heard yet how we are to ID each other - citizen to citizen, repairman to homeowner, utility provider to subscriber, policeman to innocent citizen. A recent comment in one of my blogs suggested that citizens use their best judgement to determine if someone who comes to the door is an imposter. Ludicrous. Why do citizens get left to fend for themselves in this new NFC scheme?

NoID is what it iyou get. You'll have NO way to ID anyone else, but the banks and government agents think they'll be fine, and even the fake ones who come to your door will have a better chance than you of participating in identity.

If it weren't so fashionable, I'd suggest that it was a right wing conspiracy to oppress us, by forcing ID upon us without empowering us to participate in it, and we just become victims to who-ever poorly controls our ID, and remain victims of criminals. It is otherwise a poorly conceived fantasy.

NFC, is a half-baked, half-assed concept for both ID and transactions, which will actually deprive us all of the security we deserve and if left unchecked, it will lead to our ruination.

Show me the numbers!

How much does this technology cost for each and every one of us?

How much money before we can all participate?

How much for the ID component?

How many dollars before we can all participate in identity? Each and every one of us to each and every one of us?

How many dollars per person initially and per year after?

What else do we need to buy, now or in the future? Like 'FREE' SMS. Remember that?

Show me the money.

When we no longer have cash, just how much will I pay when I want to give my children some money, not access to my account, just bus or lunch money? In the future(remember free SMS)? What about putting in for a bottle of of wine or two when a friend goes to the bottle shop for us both? How much will I pay to pay my share?

These are the sort of fair questions we have both a right to ask, and a need to know the answer to, before others decide our fate, and the price, for us.

If don't we want another fiasco like the financial industry we'd better have some discussion and not leave it to only those wanting a 'stake' at our expense.

I won't be buying on your account, traveling on your ticket, or using your ID, but with NFC someone, somewhere will, and that's after all the 'stakeholders' get their share.

Just remember who the real stake holders are, ask the questions and make sure that the NFC-SIM piggy-back isn't just a pig in a poke and a hole in our pockets.


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