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  • Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

    I've been thinking a lot recently on issues of privacy vs anonymity particularly with regards to financial transactions. There seems to me to be several gamuts of trade-offs, mostly along the standard security spectrum of authentication vs convenience.

    Eg:

    Would you rather your bank track your spending habit trends to check for anomalous behavior, or turn a blind eye and not watch for or notify you of possible fraud.

    Would you rather the sales clerk check your signature when you use a debit/credit card or use no verification.

    Moreover, would you rather write "require photo ID" on the card instead of signing it to add another [or at least a different and maybe slightly more secure] authentication factor, at the cost of increased visibility and divulging more information?

    At some fuel pumps I visit, if you run your credit card it will ask you for the issued zip code as if that were some sort of authentication. To me it seems relatively likely that will be the same one as Eve found the card in.

    Or would you rather never open a bank account, and pay for everything with the wad of cash that you keep in your boot [like one of my old co-workers]?


    Just a few of my thoughts recently.

    Yours?
    " 'Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation' yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation."
    - Willard Orman Van Quine

  • #2
    Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

    Originally posted by moleprince View Post
    Would you rather your bank track your spending habit trends to check for anomalous behavior, or turn a blind eye and not watch for or notify you of possible fraud.
    I appreciate the fact that my bank will do this; I think there has only been one case in the past 10 years when they actually called, and it was a legitimate transaction, although well outside my normal spending habits.

    Originally posted by moleprince View Post
    Would you rather the sales clerk check your signature when you use a debit/credit card or use no verification.

    Moreover, would you rather write "require photo ID" on the card instead of signing it to add another [or at least a different and maybe slightly more secure] authentication factor, at the cost of increased visibility and divulging more information?
    I have "ask for ID" written on the back of my cards. I would guess that 5-10% (and that's generous) actually ask for my ID. I wish more would, but most people are in such a hurry that they never do. I typically compliment the very few that do! As an aside, the USPS is not supposedly to accept your card if you don't sign it properly, although they always have done it anyway.

    Originally posted by moleprince View Post
    At some fuel pumps I visit, if you run your credit card it will ask you for the issued zip code as if that were some sort of authentication. To me it seems relatively likely that will be the same one as Eve found the card in.
    I would guess that zip codes help track where customers are coming from, as opposed to actually verifying or authenticating anything, but that's just a guess on my part.
    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

      Originally posted by moleprince View Post
      I've been thinking a lot recently on issues of privacy vs anonymity particularly with regards to financial transactions. There seems to me to be several gamuts of trade-offs, mostly along the standard security spectrum of authentication vs convenience.
      Interesting thoughts. I consider these trade offs all the time, and there are never easy answers. I think that you might have wanted to say privacy and anonymity vs convenience, but I certainly understand your meaning.

      Originally posted by moleprince View Post
      Would you rather your bank track your spending habit trends to check for anomalous behavior, or turn a blind eye and not watch for or notify you of possible fraud.
      I don't want my bank to track my spending habits, but I certainly approve of the credit card companies doing so. I am in the process of closing a credit card account specifically because they do not. With one of my cards, if I travel to an unfamiliar city, no matter what the transaction is, I can guarantee that the third transaction in that city will cause the credit card company to want to speak to me, and verify that it is indeed me making the transactions. I can forestall this by calling them ahead of time and providing an itinerary. The card account I'm closing never ever questions purchases, no matter how large.

      Originally posted by moleprince View Post
      Would you rather the sales clerk check your signature when you use a debit/credit card or use no verification.
      I have a card with my signature and picture as part of the card. It isn't just a strip on the back, but part of the card itself. I like that one. Do I want the signature to be checked? No, I don't really care. On the other hand, I like them to request an ID.

      Originally posted by moleprince View Post
      Moreover, would you rather write "require photo ID" on the card instead of signing it to add another [or at least a different and maybe slightly more secure] authentication factor, at the cost of increased visibility and divulging more information?
      Checking signatures is a total waste of time. It's just too easy to fake signatures.

      Originally posted by moleprince View Post
      At some fuel pumps I visit, if you run your credit card it will ask you for the issued zip code as if that were some sort of authentication. To me it seems relatively likely that will be the same one as Eve found the card in.
      This works better than you might think, for at least some of us. My zip is associated with a PO Box, not with my physical address. It's a tough one to guess when I travel, even if you knew approximately where I hail from.

      Originally posted by moleprince View Post
      Or would you rather never open a bank account, and pay for everything with the wad of cash that you keep in your boot [like one of my old co-workers]?
      I often pay for random things in cash, on general principles. I also send PGP email to friends now and then, for the same reason. Nothing wrong with a little healthy paranoia.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

        Originally posted by moleprince View Post
        track your spending habit trends to check for anomalous behavior
        i'm sort of indifferent here. i mean, it's not my money if fraud happens since i only tend to go with cards that offer very strong fraud protection. it's happened to me only one or two times, and the bank always took care of things quickly. that is, except for a VERY recent happening that caused me to close my Chase platinum card account which i loved. it was great in so many ways but this latest tale deserves inclusion in the fucktard hall of fame. maybe i'll post about it. ah well, USAA Army Mastercard for me now. better cash back and a cooler card, to boot.

        Originally posted by moleprince View Post
        Would you rather the sales clerk check your signature when you use a debit/credit card or use no verification.
        i always sign with an intentionally shitty sig, just to see who is on their toes. on the electronic pads, i just draw a smiley face or a giant cock or something, because almost NO ONE checks them. one lady ONCE at Home Depot tried to object, but i was in a rush and in a bad mood so i just strolled out with her grumbling loudly behind me. ah well, at least she was on top of things.

        Originally posted by moleprince View Post
        Moreover, would you rather write "require photo ID" on the card
        i tried this once, too, but basically no one honored it. i love how some people are SO into their routine that they will actually hold a card and act like they're looking at it while you sign, but they are off in their own little world.

        Originally posted by moleprince View Post
        it will ask you for the issued zip code
        you'd be surprised at how many of these Point of Service terminals will just proceed if you press "cancel" when asked for your Zip. about 50% of the gas stations where i try that will not work, but EVERY in-store checkout keypad that asks for a zip will work just fine if you press the red cancel button on that step.

        Originally posted by moleprince View Post
        pay for everything with the wad of cash
        if i had the cash readily available, that's what i'd do more often. i just approve of cash as a medium. it's a pity policies prevent its use some places. i would LOVE to try to walk into an airport and buy a plane ticket in cash while saying i forgot my ID at home. i wonder what they'd do.
        "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
        - Trent Reznor

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        • #5
          Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

          Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post

          if i had the cash readily available, that's what i'd do more often. i just approve of cash as a medium. it's a pity policies prevent its use some places. i would LOVE to try to walk into an airport and buy a plane ticket in cash while saying i forgot my ID at home. i wonder what they'd do.
          Maybe I'm just ignorant of this as I don't fly much, but how can an Airline not take cash? After all, according to what's written on the money itself, it's Legal Tender for all debts public and private. How can they legally refuse it?
          A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

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          • #6
            Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

            It's those damn Visa commercials where someone wants to pay for cash, and the entire store comes to a halt. Ha ha, funny. I hate those commercials! There is nothing wrong with paying with cash, yet they are trying to stigmatize it.

            Now when people actually get out the checkbook to write a check, then I get mad. ;)
            "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

              Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
              It's those damn Visa commercials where someone wants to pay for cash, and the entire store comes to a halt. Ha ha, funny. I hate those commercials! There is nothing wrong with paying with cash, yet they are trying to stigmatize it.

              Now when people actually get out the checkbook to write a check, then I get mad. ;)
              Who do you know under 40 that actually carries cash anymore? :-)


              xor
              Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                Originally posted by streaker69 View Post
                Maybe I'm just ignorant of this as I don't fly much, but how can an Airline not take cash? After all, according to what's written on the money itself, it's Legal Tender for all debts public and private. How can they legally refuse it?
                They don't have to accept cash. There's no law saying they have to either. Here you go. As for the ask for id thing on the card, I've done this and had my card denied at a store because it wasn't signed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                  I'm with you about the fraud issue. There have only been a couple times they've dinged me on that, and every time it's been me spending. One of my banks started their trend tracking right before Christmas and froze my debit card over the weekend because of, surprise, a number of expensive PayPal purchases.

                  I have my credit card signed with "require photo ID" and get asked for it surprisingly often, for which I always thank them.

                  Usually I carry cash for three reasons:
                  1- The two dollar cinema in town.
                  2- Vending machines
                  3- Leaving tips when I can't just write them from the card


                  I hadn't realize that you could just cancel out of that zipcode screen or I probably would. I'll have to try that next time. I vaguely recall some way to actually show your card balance on the display if you did something bizarre like calling it a grocery gift card or something, but I haven't been able to reproduce that again.

                  There was one time when I went to buy canned air from Office Depot for my buddy when he couldn't leave the house, and I was using his card and they nearly ID'd me because apparently you have to be over 18 to buy it lest you take it into an alley and huff it with your pre-teen friends or something. Bizarre.
                  " 'Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation' yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation."
                  - Willard Orman Van Quine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                    Originally posted by xor View Post
                    Who do you know under 40 that actually carries cash anymore? :-)


                    xor
                    I do. And I'm well under 40. While the plastic can come in handy, it is amazing how much trouble cash can get you out of. And not to mention the savings you can make when purchasing goods and services from those who wish to avoid the taxman.
                    I only drink because my friends are boring...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                      Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
                      It's those damn Visa commercials where someone wants to pay for cash, and the entire store comes to a halt. Ha ha, funny. I hate those commercials! There is nothing wrong with paying with cash, yet they are trying to stigmatize it.
                      Those commercials are moronic in any case. They're using the worst of the worst in them; the crazy RFID loaded cards that look like magic to Joe Sixpack.

                      Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
                      Now when people actually get out the checkbook to write a check, then I get mad. ;)
                      Here I'd say it depends on a couple of factors (at least for me). If they *know* they're going to write a check, and they have it mostly written before they get to the front, then more power to them. Plastic is evil. On the other hand, if they have to fumble around to find the checkbook, and find their ID, I usually start thinking about retroactive abortion.

                      I usually use the self-checkout option any place it's offered, and it's partly to avoid that kind of nonsense.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                        Originally posted by shrdlu View Post
                        Here I'd say it depends on a couple of factors (at least for me). If they *know* they're going to write a check, and they have it mostly written before they get to the front, then more power to them. Plastic is evil. On the other hand, if they have to fumble around to find the checkbook, and find their ID, I usually start thinking about retroactive abortion.
                        I should have clarified; the "fumble around for the checkbook" approach is what pisses me off.
                        "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                          Originally posted by shrdlu View Post

                          I usually use the self-checkout option any place it's offered, and it's partly to avoid that kind of nonsense.
                          Self checkouts may be nice when you have a couple of things, but they get really annoying when you have some assjack there with an overflowing cartload and three screaming kids running around, and you're standing there with one or two things that you'd like to get out with quickly.

                          Or worse yet, stores that feel they don't need to schedule checkout people because they have Self Checkouts. The local Orange schedules maybe 2 checkout people on saturday morning and expects everyone for the most part to do self checkout.
                          A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                            Originally posted by streaker69 View Post
                            Self checkouts may be nice when you have a couple of things, but they get really annoying when you have some assjack there with an overflowing cartload and three screaming kids running around, and you're standing there with one or two things that you'd like to get out with quickly.

                            Or worse yet, stores that feel they don't need to schedule checkout people because they have Self Checkouts. The local Orange schedules maybe 2 checkout people on saturday morning and expects everyone for the most part to do self checkout.
                            At least they have self checkouts. Our local Sam's usually has two open checkouts. Ever. They have 16 stations, and two open. What's up with that?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Thoughts on Anonymity and Money

                              Whatever they can do to get away with less people, they will do.

                              You can go into Wal-Mart on the busiest shopping days of the year, yet they don't even have all the registers open. If they're not open then, when will they *ever* be open?!
                              "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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