Kiosk Newsbit

Tube smartcards taken for a ride?
(Electronics Times; 08/24/98)

The Tube may be starved of cash, almost always overcrowded, invariably 
 squalid, and sometimes even quite inefficient -but we are delighted to hear it 
 will soon be smart as well.

    At least its ticketing technology will be, following a deal between London 
 Transport (LT) and a consortium to develop and install a system that will use 
 smartcard technology on the capital's underground network to help defeat 
 fraudsters while speeding us on our way.

    This is splendid news in all respects, not least as a boost to the 
 electronics companies that will supply smartcard ICs, contactless card readers 
 and touchscreen booths where passengers will be able to `load' credit into 
 their cards, and computer services companies that will keep the whole smart 
 system under control. Long-suffering passengers may even be rewarded with 
 extended season tickets, free journeys or special, but so far unspecified, 
 services. It could even form the basis of a universal smartcard system 
 encompassing loyalty schemes, electronic purses and paying for leisure 

    If it all sounds too good to be true, it probably is, especially LT's 
 assertion that the Prestige system will almost completely eliminate fraud. The 
 fact is that large-scale smartcard-based systems like this are not yet as 
 secure as some believe. And the smarter they are, the more hackers they will 

    Let's hope the system designers have thought it through.

Thanks Kinetic!

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