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Spectrum, IEEE

Issue 2 • Date Feb. 1997

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Displaying Results 1 - 17 of 17
  • From baggage to the PC, minus the hype

    Page(s): 10 - 12
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  • Inventing the internet

    Page(s): 12
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  • Matrices and much, much more [Software Reviews]

    Page(s): 14
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Improved visualization [Software Reviews]

    Page(s): 14 - 15
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Electronic money: toward a virtual wallet

    Page(s): 18 - 19
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  • Crime and prevention: a Treasury viewpoint

    Page(s): 38 - 39
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    New technologies have emerged that have the potential to change many fundamental principles associated with a cash oriented society-indeed, the whole way we conduct all kinds of financial transactions and operate all payment systems. As things stand, law enforcement agencies around the world recognize that “following the money” leads to the top of criminal organizations. Criminals have to move funds through the financial system to hide and use the proceeds of their crimes. Currency is anonymous, but it is difficult to hide and transport in large amounts. New electronic payment systems may well alter this. The speed that makes these systems efficient and the anonymity that makes them secure are desirable characteristics to both the public and law enforcement agencies. Yet the same characteristics make these systems equally attractive to those who seek to use them for illicit purpose. Because of these potential vulnerabilities, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the US Department of the Treasury, has been meeting with developers of advanced electronic payment systems, our law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and abroad, and representatives of the financial services industry to examine how criminals might use these new systems to move and launder the proceeds of their illegal activities View full abstract»

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  • `Minting' electronic cash

    Page(s): 30 - 34
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    Electronic equivalents of traditional cash payment systems are being launched worldwide. Electronic cash can combine the benefits of traditional cash with those of payment by debit and credit card, while circumventing both their shortcomings. As with traditional cash, electronic cash should have high acceptability and be suitable for low value payment from person to person. With the possible exception of online payment platforms such as the Internet, it is preferred that payments be verifiable offline, without the bank's involvement, for reasons of cost effectiveness and speed. To facilitate electronic cash payments over the phone and the Internet, physical proximity of payer and payee should not be necessary. Moreover, electronic cash should offer privacy of payments. In particular, payments by an honest payer should be untraceable, and information about transaction content should remain privy to payer and payee. Yet a payer ought to always be able to trace the payee; traceability suits electronic cash and is as open to extortion, money laundering, and bribery as a check or wire transfer. Lastly, as with payments by debit and credit card, electronic cash should be convenient to store and transport, while protecting users against loss, theft, and accidental destruction View full abstract»

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  • Banking in cyberspace: an investment in itself

    Page(s): 54 - 59
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    Home banking has evolved from the telephone to dial-up computers and now to the World Wide Web. The Internet will fundamentally change how we do business. Soon, surfing the Web will be as simple as channel surfing on television, When Joe Couch Potato can do his banking during the football game's commercials, electronic commerce will have reached critical mass. That day is right around the corner View full abstract»

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  • Credits and debits on the Internet

    Page(s): 23 - 29
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    Since the advent of banking in the Middle Ages, bank customers have used paper based instruments to move money between accounts. In the past 25 years (1972-97), electronic messages moving through private networks have replaced paper for most of the value exchanged among banks each day. With the arrival of the Internet as a mass market data network, new technologies and business models are being developed to facilitate electronic credit and debit transfers by ordinary consumers. These new systems include CyberCash (which is a gateway between the Internet and the authorization networks of the major credit cards) and the Secure Electronic Transactions protocol (a standard for presenting credit card transactions on the Internet), as well as First Virtual (a way of using e-mail to secure approval for credit card purchases of information), GC Tech (a payment system that can use credit or debit via an intermediation server), and NetBill (a public private key encryption system for purchasing information) View full abstract»

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  • The future of electronic money: a regulator's perspective

    Page(s): 20 - 22
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    Will electronic money become the new medium of exchange, or will it be confined to just a few special niches? Money has three functions in society, and how well electronics serves these functions will determine its future. First, money is a unit of account, or a way to measure and record value. Second, it is a way to store value conveniently for future use. Finally, it is a medium of exchange. For money to fulfil these three functions, it must satisfy certain requirements. It should be easily and broadly recognizable and hard to fake (counterfeit), its value should be reasonably stable, and it should be durable and not deteriorate. Finally and crucially, it should be convenient and inexpensive to use. How will electronics fit into this matrix of functions and requirements? The products being developed today fall into two groups, and it is important to distinguish between them because only one of them is a new form of money. Those referred to as electronic banking do not represent a new kind of money, but rather offer a new way to access a number of traditional bank services with traditional money. Such activities as bill paying and shifting funds among accounts over a telephone or computer connection belong here. The many emerging types of stored value cards and other media, however, do create a new money, as they represent an alternative to government issued or guaranteed instruments. In stored value systems, the liability of the issuer is recorded directly on the card, and a corresponding deposit account is not necessarily maintained for the individual card holder View full abstract»

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  • Locking the e-safe

    Page(s): 40 - 46
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    A variety of cryptographic techniques are being used to minimize threats to electronic financial transactions. The explosion of the Internet has permitted even small merchants to sell goods and services to a worldwide market, yet it has also exposed them to the depredations of a large pool of attackers whose motives range from greed to boredom. Fear of these risks has created a demand for security features built directly into electronic commerce systems. The good news is that existing security mechanisms can be combined to minimize a wide range of threats to electronic commerce. Security isn't the only problem. European banks will soon have electronic stored value cards that are as good as cash. Forgetting the password for a stored value card could be as troublesome as losing a wallet. The mechanisms used to solve security problems can be divided into four areas-privacy, authentication, integrity, and scalability-though a single mechanism can often mitigate more than one kind of problem. The cornerstone of all privacy mechanisms is encryption. An encryption algorithm transforms a plaintext message into an unreadable ciphertext using a key. The correct key can reverse the process, permitting anyone who knows it to get the plaintext message View full abstract»

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  • Technology takes to securities trading

    Page(s): 60 - 65
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    The Internet and other communications technologies are changing the way financial markets operate. Some markets will be full-service marketplaces, others will provide only certain services, and others will be ill-defined-such as smart agents on the Internet. Technology will allow orders to be routed to the most appropriate market. So the market of the future is likely to be a glass box of markets with different but transparent trading opportunities accessible through technology. The result will be seamless electronic trading, around the clock and around the world, with investors buying and selling individual stocks, currencies, commodities and mixed portfolios. Trades will be based on a variety of parameters. Liquidity will be provided primarily by investors, as opposed to intermediaries. Settlement will occur in real time. Multiple types of competing markets and market centers will provide multiple services. Transaction costs will fall to competitive levels on a worldwide basis. Technology will help us achieve this goal, but foresight and thoughtful proactive regulation are also necessary. Let us hope that, if the technical community keeps providing the former, the government will try hard to provide the latter View full abstract»

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  • Money and the Internet: a strange new relationship

    Page(s): 74 - 76
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    Electronic wallets, Internet-driven mail and electronic cash, credit cards that are debit cards capable of being refilled with electronic money that is spendable like pocket change, banks that not only have no branches but exist solely in cyberspace...indeed, we are entering a strange new world. Discount brokers want you to power up your computer, access your portfolio and trade your stocks-all electronically. Brokerage houses want to be your banker and banks want to be your broker. The author sees the electronic money revolution as inevitable, with “e-mail for money” becoming as ubiquitous in the future as e-mail messages are already today View full abstract»

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  • In your pocket: smartcards

    Page(s): 47 - 53
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    The worldwide boom in smartcard deployment is accelerating their evolution. What can be found in a typical wallet?, In all likelihood, bills and coins, a variety of credit cards, a driver's license, a transit pass, a voter registration card, a library card, a video rental card, insurance cards, frequent flyer and car rental cards, a telephone charge card. By the end of the century, all of these documents might be replaced by just two or three smartcards. Because they can store and protect relatively large amounts of data, smartcards are being used in a number of ways around the world, replacing a wallet's contents bit by bit. Stored value cards were in place last year (1996) in Atlanta, Ga., at Olympic venues, standing in for coins and bills. A health card identifying the holder's insurance provider and account number has been issued to every citizen of Germany, and plans are in place to add such medical information as the name of the holder's doctor, blood type, allergic reactions, medications, next of kin, and instructions in case of emergency. Smart social security cards in Spain interface with a kiosk system that can provide updated information on benefits and eligibility, as well as pertinent job opportunities. Today, most smartcards handle a single application, but will realize their true value when a single card can address multiple applications View full abstract»

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  • Traceable e-cash

    Page(s): 35 - 37
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    The widespread success and acceptability of electronic cash systems ultimately will involve striking a balance between anonymity and traceability. Traceable e-cash would make it harder to commit many crimes but would also threaten users' privacy. Completely untraceable digital cash would pose new difficulties for law enforcement agencies. Although physical cash has certain properties of an anonymous medium, its anonymous use is significantly constrained by the following considerations: bulk-large amounts of money take up a certain amount of space, but this sort of bulk sometimes helps authorities track money; transactional delays-the process of transferring, verifying, and counting bills takes at least a few seconds and for larger quantities, the times required are even less trivial; palpability-physical cash cannot be transferred over a computer network, and transferring it securely to a remote payee takes time and resources that may render the process somewhat visible; traceability-if law enforcement authorities know the serial numbers of bills being tracked, financial institutions may be able to help identify the next person who deposits them View full abstract»

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  • Nasdaq's technology floor: its president takes stock

    Page(s): 66 - 67
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    Over the years, electronics technology has revolutionized virtually every securities market, most notably The NasdaqTM (National Association of Securities Dealers' Automated Quotations) Stock Market Inc. Nasdaq was the world's first market to handle trading not on an exchange floor but through a computer network linking display screens. However, since its advent in 1971, changes in telecommunications and computer technologies have been ongoing, profound and complex. As a screen-based market, Nasdaq has striven to stay on top of those developments. It is in the process of completing a US $180 million systems migration program-the largest single telecommunications and computer project undertaken by a US stock market. The effort has involved replacing the entire Nasdaq system with a standards-based client-server network, while moving from analog to digital network technology and upgrading the core systems to process 500 transactions a second-a rate that enables the market to handle at least a billion shares a day. With these systems, Nasdaq has the flexibility to constantly improve operational efficiency and regulatory oversight View full abstract»

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  • The economics of e-cash

    Page(s): 68 - 73
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    Electronic cash (e-cash) may end government monopolies on the lucrative business of minting money, but, for all the hype over e-cash, one point is usually left out: it may never come to pass. It all depends on the economics of e-cash, and that's a complicated mix of issues-including whether producers can find an opportunity for profit, whether consumers will accept it as money, and whether governments will allow it to flourish. It could end up as just another big idea with few important applications. E-cash includes an electronically-stored value designed for use either in a single transaction or in many. E-cash that is meant for repeated use is also called electronic currency. Currency and other kinds of e-cash store and convey value in and of themselves rather than merely representing a value residing elsewhere, such as a deposit account. By contrast, electronic checks and debit cards do not store any intrinsic value and thus are not considered as being e-cash, which can be used in transactions off-line and with no transfer of physical material View full abstract»

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