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Radio National Interview

[15 Dec 06] Stephen was interviewed by ABC "Backgound Briefing" on smartcards.

ABC's "Backgound Briefing" detailed special on smartcards, broadcast on December 10, investigated many of the more subtle and under-reported aspects of the technology. Stephen's interview explored important applications for the individual's own area of the smartcard, and the privacy benefits of having the smartcard autonomously monitor usage patterns to detect fraud without data mining.

The transcript and podcast are available at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2006/1805501.htm


Steve Wilson: It's terrific to have some spare real estate and some spare capacity these cards made available for public use. But I'd like a more sophisticated vision that says this isn't just an extra 20 kilobytes of memory that I can play with; I'd like to see card function that was made available for third party use. I'd like to see memory made available with memory protections; I'd like protected memory that could be used to hold health identifiers and personal credentials. I'd like to see this technology used for electronic voting and electronic census collection, by using the spare capacity in the card.

Interviewer Sharona Coutts: This isn't fantasy stuff. Smartcards really are that smart. In fact, the card's chip can even detect when it's being used suspiciously, and shut itself down. So they can actually stop fraud before it happens. That's how credit cards work in Europe, where they had huge problems with credit card fraud.

Steve Wilson: The computer inside keeps count of what happens every day, it keeps count of the daily transaction limit, and if a smartard detects on its own that it's been involved with over 1,000 Euros worth of transactions, it will actually shut itself down, it will flag the fact to the merchant, or it will create some sort of exception so that that can be investigated.

Sharona Coutts: And the Access Card could be used in Australia to log medical transactions the same way. So, in the case of Medicare fraud, or doctor-shopping, where a person has gone to a string of different doctors for large amounts of drugs like pethidine, the card could tally the prescriptions itself and shut down, or notify the central agencies so they can investigate the person later on. And none of that has to go to a mountainous central database, it could all happen on the tiny chip in the card.