RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest Tuesday 22 April 2008 Volume 25 : Issue 12

RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest  Tuesday 22 April 2008  Volume 25 : Issue 12

ACM FORUM ON RISKS TO THE PUBLIC IN COMPUTERS AND RELATED SYSTEMS (comp.risks)Peter G. Neumann, moderator, chmn ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 12:40:53 +0200

From: Nick Brown <Nick.BROWN@coe.int>

Subject: Real-time spying on credit card holders

Business Week reports that Mastercard is to launch a new service which will, among other things, allow the payer of a corporate or other card to receive real-time alerts as to what the card is being used for.


“MasterCard is already in talks with various issuers to create a credit card targeted at college students. Parents could program the cards so they receive a text message if their son is racking up charges for late-night pizza deliveries or if their daughter is about to exceed the limit. MasterCard’s Abrams, who has one child in college and another who just graduated, can’t wait to put his latest product to the test. “I would like to have controls on geography,” he says. “I don’t want them to be purchasing on Web sites outside the U.S., Canada, and maybe Britain.””


Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:49:29 +0200

From: Peter Houppermans <peter@houppermans.com>

Subject: Re: Nissan GT-R sports car and GPS (Clark, RISKS-25.11)


If the onboard navigation system was designed by TomTom it will probably ask you all these questions whilst you’re driving. TomTom appears to have decided in Navigator 6 that certain things like setting up a data link for traffic information are important enough to divert your attention from the road, and there’s no disabling that question.  It would be nice if someoneadded an ‘adult’ mode where you can take some of those decisions yourself again, and just once instead of every time..

Tomtom have a watchdog idea too, and the potential flaws in both this and the Nissan approach are identical: a flawed map or analysis will make a mess of the conclusion.  In the case of Tomtom, maps include in some places speedlimit information which is in itself not such a bad idea.

The idea went off the cliff by making display modifications based on the speed data.  When you exceed the “map limit”, the speed indicator goes red. When you go WELL over the speed limit it starts blinking, not normal-inversebut visible-invisible, at approx a 1Hz frequency.

In other words, for a precise speed indication you may have to take your eyes off the road for a full second in the worst possible conditions.  Duh. Oh, and no way to disable that feature either.

But no fears of Big Brother speed limits via GPS: not only did I find the speed limit data far from accurate, even when corrected there’s another fly in the ointment: variable limits.

In various countries, multiple speed limits are deployed, adjusted according to situation (snow, pollution, accidents etc).  Which speed limit do you store?

All I’m waiting for now is a government imposed feature where speeding drivers will be automatically diverted into the nearest traffic jam..


Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:10:54 GMT

From: <jtayNOSPAMlor@hfDONTSENDMESPAMx.andara.com>

Subject: Re: Nissan GT-R sports car and GPS (Clark, RISKS-25.11)


> > Then after thrashing it on the track, you must take it for a $1000 Nissan

> > High Performance Center safety check or the warranty is void.


GPS jammers cost less than $100.  Does the car work if it can’t get a GPS