Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Payments Council to Come Within the Regulatory System

A report published to day by the Treasury Select Committee welcomed the decision of the Payments Council to retain cheques, but warns the Payments Council to ensure that the banks do not attempt to abandon cheques by stealth, nor deter customers from using cheques.

The industry-dominated Payments Council should no longer have the unfettered power to decide the future of cheques, or other payment methods that directly affect millions of people.

The Chairman of the Committee, Andrew Tyrie, said: "Cheques have been saved, for the moment, but we need to remain vigilant. The incentives for the industry to get rid of cheques has not gone away. Neither have we. That is why we are making far-reaching recommendations about the future of the Payments Council as well as to secure the future of cheques".

"The Payments Council is an industry-dominated body with no effective public accountability. It should not have unfettered power to take decisions on matters, such as the future of cheques, or other issues, that are of vital importance to millions of people. This is why we have recommended that the Council be brought within the formal regulatory system. As an immediate first step the Board of the Payments Council should have greater consumer representation".

The Report also calls on the Payments Council to examine reintroducing the cheque guarantee card system that was withdrawn earlier this year.



Elephant Talk and Your Card BV Combine to Launch Mobile Wallet

Elephant Talk Communications, Inc. announces the signing of an agreement with Your Card B.V., a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) serving the Dutch market. Your Card B.V. will launch Calling Card services-under the name 'Your Card One' to Dutch commercial and consumer mobile users this fall using Elephant Talk's fully integrated MVNE platform for hosting mobile services and supporting new channels.

Like most prepaid Calling Cards, the new service can be used with any mobile phone, and will also offer a powerful new service-an integrated mobile payment and loyalty management system. The system enables the Calling Card to act as a mobile wallet, capable of making payments in 27 European countries, as Your Card is authorised to act as an Electronic Money Institute in all of these markets.

This technical combination of new prepaid electronic payment instruments sets the standard to offer users the most advanced platform, excellent service levels and superior security. All transactions related to e-money are under the supervision and license of the First European E-Money Trust (FEET). The Calling Card can also function as a smart card or a gift card, among other capabilities. Your Card B.V. is the first known MVNO in the Netherlands to offer such advanced Calling Card services.

"The advanced services are made possible by Elephant Talk's sophisticated MVNE platform, which offers a single interface for Your Card to easily manage all aspects of business including pricing, billing, product bundling, promotions and loyalty management in one integrated system," says Steven, van der Velden of Elephant Talk. "In addition to a very high service level, this integration also brings a substantial reduction in operating and handling expenses for any of our partners"



Honeywell Completes Acquisition of EMS Technologies

Honeywell announced that it has completed its acquisition of EMS Technologies, Inc., for approximately $491 million. EMS is a leading provider of connectivity solutions for mobile networking, rugged mobile computers and satellite communications.

EMS's Global Resource Management (GRM) division provides highly ruggedized mobile computing products and services for use in transportation, logistics, and workforce management settings as well as secure satellite-based asset tracking and messaging technology for search and rescue, warehousing, and field force automation environments.

"Acquiring EMS Technologies demonstrates our commitment to build on our leadership position in the global scanning and mobility industry," said Darius Adamczyk, president of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. "By adding EMS Technologies to our business, we will acquire complementary rugged hand-held and vehicle-based products and expand our presence in warehousing, manufacturing and port segments. These new products and segments will be growth drivers for our business."



China Identified as Internet Hacking Regime

As reports are coming in that China has been positively identified as the source of automated IP hacking, SecurEnvoy says that - while this is no real surprise - the Chinese TV slip-up is the first real evidence that the Beijing regime is a primary source of Western cyber-attacks.

Western governments have engaged in finger pointing at China over government and allied agency server attacks for several years, the Chinese government has always vehemently denied the claims.

"The topic resurfaced again earlier this month over the so-called Shady RAT - Remote Access Trojan - attacks of the last several years on Western computer systems, and the Chinese government used the People's Daily, its official media voice, to refute the allegations," commented Steve Watts, co-founder of SecurEnvoy.

"It's therefore kind of ironic that the evidence for Chinese government-driven cyber-attacks - and automated attacks at that - should come from a Chinese military TV programme, detailed on the Epoch Times newswire, which shows a hacker utility application with legends such as `select attack target,' highlighting a list of Falun Gong web sites as starting point for an automated attack," he added.

Now that the Chinese government has been formally identified as the source of at least some of the cyber-attacks on Western government and allied agency computer systems, the IT security managers within these agencies - as well other organisations on both sides of the public/private sector divide - need to plan ahead and counter these advanced attack vectors.



Samsung Introduces Updated Galaxy Smartphone Naming Strategy and Expands Galaxy Range

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. today announced its new naming strategy for its Galaxy range of smartphones. In addition, Samsung announced four new members of the Galaxy smartphone family: the Galaxy M Pro, Galaxy W, Galaxy Y and Galaxy Y Pro, all of which run on the powerful Android 2.3 Gingerbread mobile OS.

Samsung has created a new system of naming its Galaxy smartphones, focused on its ever-expanding portfolio of industry-leading Android smartphones. The new naming structure will organise and group devices into five classes identified by a single alphabetical letter. Devices will then be further designated by an additional indicator which will identify specific functionality. The new strategy aims to help consumers identify the specification of the product they are buying quickly and easily.

Simon Stanford, Managing Director, Mobile, Samsung UK and Ireland said: "As we continue to expand our successful portfolio of Galaxy Family Android devices, we have introduced steps to ensure these products are easier for customers to identify. The announcements of Galaxy M Pro, Galaxy W, Galaxy Y and Galaxy Y Pro will build on the success of the Samsung Galaxy range of smartphones adding yet more choices for consumers whether they want a top end smartphone or one with more basic functionality - our aim is to have a product that's right for them."

Samsung's new naming structure uses letters to refer to the specific category that the smartphone product fits into; for example a premium device will be marked by the letter 'S', whereas an entry-level device will be marked by the letter 'Y'. For successors to existing models, they will be designated with the appropriate number, for example the Galaxy S II - Samsung's ultra-premium flagship Android smartphone.



TSYS Names Paul Bridgewater as New Head of Global Product

TSYS has announced that Paul Bridgewater, a 23-year veteran of the payments and financial services industry, has been named group executive of global product. Bridgewater will report to Paul Todd, executive vice president, TSYS.

"Paul brings a wealth of product and development knowledge in the payments industry to his new position at TSYS," said M. Troy Woods, president and chief operating officer, TSYS. "We are excited that he is joining our team, and look forward to him developing and harmonizing our global product suite as we continue to expand our business both in the U.S. and internationally."

Prior to joining TSYS, Bridgewater served as senior vice president, payments, of Digital River, Inc. Bridgewater also has extensive international payments experience, having worked extensively with Citibank International, NatWest Bank, PLC, and Anker Data Systems.




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