[LINK] Kaching a Cash Register for CommBank?

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Oct 26 08:50:51 AEDT 2011

[I haven't had time to wrap my mind around CommBank's announcement of 
an NFC-based payment scheme for mobile phones, but it sounds like 
another highly intensive consumer data-trail.]

'Kaching': New CBA mobile, social, NFC payments app
Renai LeMay
25 October 2011

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has revealed plans to launch a new 
combination smartphone application and associated hardware accessory 
that allow customers to make quick payments from their mobile phone 
to anyone with an email address, phone number of Facebook friendship, 
as well as to merchants via near field communications (NFC).


However, there are also some potential privacy issues here. Kaching 
does something very nice for the Commonwealth Bank - it's not just 
another service offering to customers. Used correctly, it will also 
place vastly larger amounts of data in the company's systems than it 
previously had available to it. Every time a customer pays a mate for 
a coffee, forks out a few dollars for an item at a shop or chucks 
some spare change a charity's way online through this system, it will 
now be able to be tracked, where previously it could not be.

It used to be that coffees with mates were private. It used to be 
that you could pay cash for something in a shop and that transaction 
wouldn't be recorded against your name. It used to be that you could 
chuck some spare change into a charity's bucket without the world 
knowing. Well, if CommBank has its way, this will be the case no 
longer. All of that valuable data will be saved and added to your 
transaction record.

I note that nowhere in this morning's announcement was there a 
proposal that small transactions carried out by customers through 
Kaching be anonymised, as they currently are with cash. And yet, with 
many of the cashless cards available internationally, this is 
possible. The cards and transactions do not have 'owners' - they are 
simply used, as cash is.

With the release of Kaching, CommBank is making more than a play for 
customer loyalty and convenience. It is making a play to view the sum 
total of all of your monetary transactions - from birth to death. And 
that - in the wrong hands - would be an extremely dangerous thing.

Commbank launches contactless payments app
Liz Tay
Oct 25, 2011 5:30 PM


Commonwealth Bank's chief information officer of retail and business 
banking, Adam Bennett, said the bank would track where and when 
Kaching was used. He said that no sensitive data was cached on the 
"Analytics about what customers are doing, where they're doing it and 
how they're interacting with others is something that lots of 
organisations are looking to take advantage of to provide offers that 
are specific to customers needs," he said.
"There's no specific new data that [Kaching] is storing but it is 
capturing a lot of information about how and where customers are 
interacting and making payments."
Bennett said the Commonwealth Bank was "looking to partner with a 
range of organisations Š where that's going to add value", but would 
not name any potential partners.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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