New jeans protect credit cards from hacking

A San Francisco based clothing manufacturer has developed what are probably the world's first high security jeans. The jeans' pockets are lined with a metal fabric to stop thieves from hacking into credit cards and passports tagged with radio frequency security chips.

  • DAVID MARK: A San Francisco based clothing manufacturer has developed what are probably the world's first high security jeans.

    The jeans' pockets are lined with a metal fabric to stop thieves from hacking into credit cards and passports tagged with radio frequency security chips.

    The new invention is in part a response to an increase in the number of people reporting their data has been stolen from cards in their pocket or wallet.

    Ashley Hall reports.

    ASHLEY HALL: If you're a regular online shopper, you've probably already seen advertisements for hack proof wallets.

    They're made from a material that radio waves can't penetrate, and they protect anything inside that is prone to hacking, like your credit cards.

    Now, the online company Betabrand is adopting the same principle for jeans by lining the pockets with a special protective barrier.

    CHRIS LINDLAND: It was actually Norton security that had come to us to suggest a product collaboration and they were really the ones that drove this project, encouraging us to look at identity theft as something that fashion could perhaps address.

    ASHLEY HALL: Chris Lindland is the chief executive of Betabrand.

    CHRIS LINDLAND: So we then went around experimenting with a number of fabrics to find yes indeed that could be true and we rapidly prototyped over the last month a pair of jeans and just put it live a week ago.

    ASHLEY HALL: So it's just the pocket. What sort of fabric do you use?

    CHRIS LINDLAND: It's actually a proprietary fabric. What it does it essentially beats the ability to perform credit card skimming on a wallet with them.

    ASHLEY HALL: Chris Lindland says the company's responding to a growing problem.

    CHRIS LINDLAND: Over 10 million people will be affected by identity theft in some way next year, so you know, what they're doing and their interest in security is kind of to take a global look at all the ways that it can be stopped and so why not try with fashion?

    ASHLEY HALL: Betabrand is also using the new material to line blazer pockets and chief executive Chris Lindland says more products may follow.

    CHRIS LINDLAND: We are a clothing prototype machine and what we do is we put out brand new clothing ideas about every day and it's hypothetical prototype type clothing and the most popular stuff is crowd funded into existence. So in the instances of the jeans, those were crowd funded into success in 24 hours and the interest keeps growing.

    ASHLEY HALL: So what sort of price are we likely to be paying to buy these protective jeans?

    CHRIS LINDLAND: That's an interesting thing, so they're going to cost around $150. So within the premium jean market, they're very affordable. The fabric itself is expensive.

    ASHLEY HALL: So can you wash it in the washing machine?

    CHRIS LINDLAND: Yeah we're up to, I think, 25 washes on our prototype there now without any problem.

    ASHLEY HALL: Dr Katina Michael is an associate professor at the school of information systems at the University of Wollongong.

    She says radio information identification technology, known as RFID, is inherently risky.

    KATINA MICHAEL: Pretty much somebody just needs to be within proximity of the device and they can actually clone it.

    ASHLEY HALL: Dr Michael says there are some steps you can take on your own to protect your data.

    KATINA MICHAEL: Aluminium foil, conductive paint, wire mesh, or any other number of similar alternatives is going to be opaque to radiation. So basically if we can line wallets with aluminium foil, our clothes, then we're doing a pretty good job at blocking this interception from occurring.

    ASHLEY HALL: And she says it's not just credit cards that need protection. Dr Michael says there's concern as well for radio controlled medical implants.

    KATINA MICHAEL: Can you imagine all these people basically walking around with medical implants which are susceptible to surreptitious behaviour around approximate location. We don't want to have hackers going around with nasty and malicious implications of trying to render a device inoperable, for example, in different types of medical patients.

    ASHLEY HALL: Dr Michael says companies using RFID technology were long ago warned of the risks. She says while they continue to use the technology, it will be up to individuals to keep their personal data safe.

    DAVID MARK: Ashley Hall reporting.

Citation: Ashley Hall, Chris Lindland, and Katina Michael, December 19, 2014, "New jeans protect credit cards from hacking" ABC Radio: PM Dec. 2014: 6.50pm-6.53pm.

Right to hide may hit Australia

Right to hide may hit Australia

FORGET IT: Ruling causes concern. By Henry Belot


Civil libertarians, academics and legal experts have expressed concern the "right to be forgotten" online may be duplicated in Australia after a court ruled European citizens could stop Google linking to items deemed inadequate, irrelevant or excessive. In March, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Spaniard Mario Costeja Gonzalez's demands that Google remove information from search results deemed to infringe on his privacy and be no longer relevant. The decision created a precedent known as the "right to be forgotten", and in the eight months since more than 145,000 people have asked Google for almost 500,000 links to be removed. That is more than 1000 requests a day. Dr Katina Michael, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong's school of information system, said Google Australia was not immune to the pressure and was under considerable pressure to respond to removal requests. "There is certainly a chance that the ECJ's ruling will be adopted here in Australia if enforced by the Australian Privacy Commissioner," she said. Sophie Bradshaw, special council at law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, said she had observed an increase of 'right to be deleted' requests since the March reforms. "Individuals want the organisation to remove all records of them, including archived data, data collected through cookies and any other interactions between the individual and the organisation," she said. Earlier this year, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended Australia adopt the right to be deleted, which would enable people to compel organisations to delete or de-identify information held about them, even if it was collected legitimately."It remains to be seen whether the recommendation will be enforced in Australia, but that should not stop individuals from approaching Google if they are concerned about content online that breaches their privacy," said Dr Michael. Civil Liberties Australia vice president Tim Vines said the European model was a worthwhile experiment but had concerns about how it was being implemented and any potential duplication in Australia. "The decision whether to delist an entry from a search engine falls to the company itself, with little or no scope for appeal [and] this is not just an applicant's problem, but is also a problem for the company too, which has no independent forum to challenge or test any overly broad request," he said. He said there was little guidance for companies on how to weigh the competing values of freedom of speech and expression and privacy, and there was a risk that the process will lack transparency and consistency.Mr Vines said he was concerned a right to be forgotten could be used to selectively correct the public record by having negative reviews or reporting delisted. "A right to be forgotten


should not be seen as a 'right to hide my faults'," he said. Simon Breheny, the director of the Institute of Public Affair's Freedom Watch, said the European experience had shown this was a possible side effect of the law. "A number of requests have been made by businesses seeking to remove negative reviews from various rating sites and this is entirely inappropriate and undermines the proper functioning of the free market," he said. "People need to understand that they need to take responsibility for their own privacy as no one else is going to protect it for them." Dr David Glance, Director of the Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia, expressed concern about a "right to be forgotten" in Australia. "How this law has been implemented in Europe hasn't in many cases affected the original content that was posted about someone but just the pointers to it through search - and so this is an important consideration in how this type of law gets implemented elsewhere," he said. "The issue is really the fact that enacting the law is unworkable and leaves the decisions in the hands of companies. On the other hand, search is always in the hands of companies and the results we see are a result of their decisions on what we should see."


Dr Glance said removing search items from Google was not necessarily a violation of freedom of speech because it was still possible to access the content online. "Of course, removing search results does hamper discoverability, but it doesn't entirely defeat it because sites are now calling attention to the removed links and creating new results that would then have to be subject to requests for removal," he said. Dr Michael said it was important not to confuse freedom of speech with the right to privacy as they were "two different things". "Journalists in credible newspapers need to continue with their investigative reporting but this has [nothing] to do with whether a citizen who is going about their everyday life has had their privacy breached by comments online in a malicious way," she said. "The internet might be changing the way we do things, but I don't buy the argument that says our privacy is dead anyway so we can now do and say whatever we want about other people." The European precedent has enabled an ex-Wall Street banker to force Google to remove links to reporting by BBC economic editor Robert Peston who was critical of practices at Merrill Lynch, one of America's largest investment banks.

Citation: Henry Belot, November 20, 2014, "Right to hide may hit Australia", Canberra Times.

A Switch in Time

CAREER CHANGE A university languages lecturer shifts careers to get greater certainty in the IT industry

THE APPLICANT Name: Geoffrey Jenkins Former position: Senior lecturer, University of Melbourne New job: Network engineer and level 2-4 support, KORE Wireless FOR more than 18 years, I worked as a senior lecturer in classical Semitic languages and Early Judaism at the University of Melbourne.

I actually completed a degree in Physics and Applied Maths but my interests grew in this field after working in Egypt for a number of years, publishing my PhD as well as a book of my own.

I’ve been working with KORE Wireless since 2008.

I started as a contractor before becoming full time in 2011 and over this time I have worked in a number of areas within the company.

I currently spend my time across two roles at KORE Wireless – network and applications engineer as well as level 2-4 support for KORE customers. Being employed in both roles means all advanced queries that require extensive background research come through to me, as I am constantly maintaining and enhancing the applications that we provide.

I made the decision to change careers because the courses I was teaching started to become less relevant in today’s society and saw decreases in demand.

Because these areas of learning are confined to such a specialised audience, I needed to turn to another area of my expertise which was programming, something I had been doing as a side project along the way.

As you get older, it does often become harder to fall into another role that you equally enjoy and to find a business that requires another rather specific set of skills. Luckily for me, changing my career so late in the game, I had known Shane Murphy (vice president, KORE Wireless Asia Pacific) for a while and I was able to fit straight into the team.

I’ve always wanted to maintain what I enjoy so much and that drive to continue to explore and discover still stays with me.

I’m still planning to eventually return to Egypt to uncover more historical artefacts in the coming years.

THE TRAINER Name: Dr Khin Than Win Position: Acting head of School of Information Systems and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong.

The skills workers need: The misconception that IT professionals will only be looking at the machine and coding needs to be changed.

The industry needs individuals with a hybrid skill set. Skills in demand include higher-level analytics, process and project management and an understanding of user-centric computing and technology. Another misconception is IT is only for men; however increasingly women are playing key roles.

Network engineers need to identify appropriate network design and management methods for solving enterprise needs and play an important role in the infrastructure of industries and government.

THE EXPERT Name: Katina Michael Position: Associate Professor, School of Information Systems and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong.

Skills workers need: Problem solving, understanding real-world network problems, the ability to understand multiple technologies (for example, wireless and broadband), be able to absorb new technological advancements and incorporate them into everyday tasks, and specialise in a given area of networking depending on the context of one’s interest. You can choose from a range of degrees such as a Bachelors of Information Technology (Network Design & Management) in the School of Information Systems and Technology or a Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunications).

THE EMPLOYER Name: Shane Murphy Position: Vice president, KORE Wireless Asia Pacific What we look for:I don’t tend to focus on resumes as they often don’t tell you about who a person really is, except obliquely.

Conversing with someone directly will always give you a better indication of their personality, values and work ethic. Interviews are best when they are kept to the basics – what does the candidate enjoy about their current role, what motivates them, what do they expect from such a role. If the right attitude is there, skills can be taught and applied.

For employees such as Geoff, who are regularly dealing with b2b sales and communicating with our customers, it’s about having someone who is motivated and interested in helping others.

Citation: Staff, August 16, 2014, "A switch in time", Daily Telegraph, p. 73.

Intelligence Squared

THE PLANNER - Our critics’ guide to the week


Back from the Byron Bay Writers' Festival, Jeanette Winterson will lay bare the complexities of her emotional life as she discusses art, poetry and fiction in a solo appearance at the Sydney Opera House. Sunday, 6pm, Joan Sutherland Theatre, from $35, 9250 7777,


Greg Combet joins the rush of Labor identities to give an insider's account of his life in politics in The Fights of My Life. He will be in conversation with Anna Bligh. Thursday, 6pm, Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, $10, 9660 2333,

The St James Ethics Centre is sponsors this old-fashioned public debate in which speakers will argue the toss about the merits of technology. Peter Singer, Antony Loewenstein and Asher Wolf will speak against the new world order; Bernard Keane, Dr Katina Michael and Alastair MacGibbon are on the affirmative. Tuesday, 6.45pm, City Recital Hall, Angel Place, city, from $25, 8256 2222,

Citation: Linda Morris, August 9, 2014, "Spectrum", The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 19.

Rattenbury to raise warrants for MyWay data with Attorney-General


Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury will discuss the introduction of additional privacy safeguards on AFP access to data retained on MyWay cards with Attorney-General Simon Corbell, despite ACT Policing insisting it is an acceptable investigative tool.
The Minister for Territory and Municipal Services' decision comes after revelations the AFP has requested data retained on the cards 27 times since the introduction of the scheme in 2010. with 16 requests resulting in information being handed over to police. 

While ACT Policing would not detail how many arrests had resulted from access to the data, a spokeswoman said the information obtained had assisted investigations into murder and under-age sex crimes.
"We can disclose that the data generated has assisted in some very serious investigations, including murder, aggravated robbery, stalking, sexual intercourse with a young person under the age of 16 and assault," she said. "It has also assisted in seeking missing persons."

MyWay data held by the ACT government - which is retained for a minimum of seven years - can be disclosed to  federal agencies including the AFP, Australian Tax Office, Centrelink - and as needed in law enforcement, collection of fines or protection of public revenue.
AFP investigators do not need warrants to access MyWay data. and are only required to comply with Australian privacy laws. 

Mr Rattenbury said he was "always concerned to ensure that data privacy is appropriate".
"This is a matter I will discuss with Attorney [General Simon Corbell]; however I would note that any change, to be consistent, would need to be applied to all data across government - as the same protocols apply across the board," he said.

"ACTION is using the same protocols and requirements that apply across all ACT government agencies."

But ACT Policing said the introduction of warrants on access to MyWay data would result in an unnecessary delay on police activities and investigations into serious offences.

"Timeliness can be vital in a police investigation, particularly when a person's life or safety may be under immediate threat," said an ACT Policing spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman said police will "always look to use a variety of tools and resources in their investigations of crime and to keep the community safe".

"Governance is well-established around the acquisition of this data for investigative purposes, and police use it only when necessary to an investigation," she said.

Mr Rattenbury said there was a clear process in place for the AFP to request data obtained on MyWay cards, despite his decision to discuss additional privacy safeguards with Mr Corbell.
"They have to provide details such as the legislation under which the request is made, details of why they want it, details (such as badge number) of the person requesting it," he said.

"The form makes it clear that unless the request complies with legislation it will be refused."
Dr Tim Legrand, a lecturer at the national security college at the Australian National University, said policing agencies were likely to welcome any tool that could strengthen their ability to deter or detect crime.

"The ability to pinpoint the movements of suspects using public transport before, during or after committing an offence is certainly useful, though it should be emphasised that - as a tool - it can only complement and not replace tried-and-tested investigation methods," he said.

But associate dean at the University of Wollongong's international school of information systems and technology, Katina Michael, said it was a violation of citizens' privacy rights for public transport cards to be used in a fashion other than what they were intended for.

"Location data can reveal things about a person that should only be accessible with a warrant," she said.

"Who's to say that this kind of data will not be demanded en masse and used in ways to model a variety of human behaviour using big data approaches?"

Thousands of similar requests for personal information and user history have been made in Queensland and Victoria in recent years, including in at least one murder investigation where police tracked a key witness to a Brisbane  suburb.

MyWay travel history has been used in the reorganisation of Canberra's bus lines and timetables, including as part of the Network 14 changes announced by Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury this month.

This story was found at: http/Iwww.canberratimeAcom.aulact-news/rattenbury-to-raise-warrants-for-myway-data-with-attomeygeneral¬20140803-zzecq.html

Citation: Henry Belot, August 3, 2014, "Rattenbury to raise warrants for MyWay data with Attorney-General", Canberra Times,

Highly sort places for Aussies to live

What does your address say about you?

Quite a bit, according to those behind a website that profiles people and estimates the household ­income.

But privacy advocates have expressed concerns after the Roy Morgan Research classification tool Helix Personas began allowing users to obtain profiles by ­entering a street address.


The site, which introduced the feature in recent weeks after opening for business last year, is marketed as being able to ­categorise every Aussie into one of 56 personas.

You can find out, free-of-charge, whether your persona is of a “Fit and Fab Metrotech”, a “Penny Wise Battler” or a “Done Good Aussie Achiever”.

Residents of households in inner suburban streets are likely to find themselves profiled as well-educated and career-­focused renters with a “Big ­Future” bringing in $96,000.

Meanwhile those in a growing urban-fringe area may be categorised as “Getting By” on a household income of $79,000.

The site has been touted as potentially useful to retailers ­trying to determine where to ­locate future outlets.

However, Australian Privacy Foundation vice-chair Katina Michael said companies applying profiles could get it dramatically wrong or right.

Michael said that consumers had a choice to make in light of the “big data” trend, which often mischaracterised people.“We can continue to believe the rhetoric that says ‘We are doing no harm to individuals, it is hardly tracking when profiling small neighbourhoods’ ... or we can begin to demand an end to the on-selling of personal information,” she said.

Citation: Lachlan Hastings, May 23, 2014 "Highly sort places for Aussies to live", MX (Brisbane), p. 4.

Will Microchip Implants in Humans Become Mandatory?

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be ab le to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the b east or the number of his name.
— Revelations 13:16-17

So begins an article by writer Mac Slavo about how human-implanted microchips won’t just be popular in the future. They’ll be mandatory.

Moreover, if his vision of tomorrow is correct, hardly anyone will have to be dragged kicking and screaming by jack-booted storm troopers (or robots?) into that Brave New World; rather, most people will willingly be chipped as we slouch toward Oceania.

In fact, the movement is already in progress. As NewsMax’s James Hirsen recently wrote:

In various places all over the world, there are individuals who open doors, start cars, and control their computers with a mere gesture of their hands or arms.

They are among the first wave of people who have voluntarily allowed a miniature computer chip to be placed inside of their bodies. Most are part of a group that advocates biohacking, a concept in which activists seek to enhance the human body through the use of technology.

Many biohackers also identify with a broader movement known as transhumanism. Transhumanists believe that people will ultimately be able to transform themselves through the use of technology into superior beings that possess expanded capabilities. Adherents of the movement categorize such individuals as “posthuman.”

In inching toward a newly defined humanity, a small radio frequency identification chip (RFID) is being injected into an individual’s hand, wrist, or arm through use of a hypodermic needle in the same manner as a routine vaccine. The implanted microchip broadcasts an identifying number or code, which can be used for a myriad of purposes.

The benefits of this technology are seductive: No more having to carry — and worry about losing — numerous credit cards and other forms of identification. No more fumbling for them when performing transactions; a wave of the hand will suffice. No more showing passports when you travel or your driver’s license to a cop. And since microchipping would facilitate a cashless society, there’d be no more worries about cash loss or theft, and it could put an end to black-market drug and other illegal transactions; identity theft could be eliminated, too (though any technology could conceivably be circumvented).

And as Iain Gillespie wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, “The implants send a unique ID number that can be used to activate devices such as phones and locks, and can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses and health records.”

Gillespie also mentioned cybernetics scientist Dr. Mark Gasson of the UK’s University of Reading (UR), who made history recently:


After implanting a chip in himself in 2009 to control his office’s electronic gadgets, he became the world’s first human infected with a computer virus. “The virus was replicated on the swipecards of staff accessing his building and infected the university's database,” writes Gillespie.

Yet Gasson remains enthusiastic about what he characterizes as an inevitable and imminent new technological normal. He says, “It has the potential to change the very essence of what it is to be human.” He believes that microchips’ acceptance will mirror that of mobile phones and that a situation will develop wherein it “will be such a disadvantage not to have the implant that it will essentially not be optional.”

But it gets even stranger. As Gillespie also wrote:

Last year [2013] the line between man and machine became even more blurred, when Stanford University announced its scientists had created the first purely biological transistor that was made entirely of genetic material. Stanford assistant professor of bioengineering, Dr Drew Endy, described the breakthrough as the final component needed for a biological computer that can operate within living cells and reprogram living systems.

And to some degree the future is now, with biometric technology already being used in certain wide-scale applications. As writer Michael Snyder informs us, a hand-scanning payment method is being tested in southern Sweden, biometric scanners/RFID tracking devices are already used in college dining halls and some amusement parks, and the technology is even “being used in Africa to keep track of who is being vaccinated,” he writes.

But how will this transition from new and novel idea to mandatory mark of the beast? There is precedent for acceptance of such intrusion; after all, your cellphone has an RFID chip and can be used to track your every movement, and its camera can be remotely activated by authorities. And we all have Social Security numbers. But the move toward mandatory status will begin like this, writes Mac Slavo:

First, the technologies will need to be generally accepted by society. It’ll start with real-time consumer based products like Google Glass. The older generations may reject it, but in a couple of years you can bet that tens of millions of kids, teens and younger adults will be roaming the streets while sporting cool shades, interactive web surfing and the capability to record everything around them and upload it to the internet instantly.

Remember that young people especially like the feeling of being “with it,” on the cutting edge, and don’t want to have outdated technology any more than out-of-style clothes; they will leap to be chipped just as they snatch up the latest smart phone. And not only will the technology be convenient, but it will lend an illusion of power. With just a wave of your hand doors will open for you — literally and figuratively.

“Eventually, once the concept is generally accepted by the majority, it will become our new ‘social security number,’” writes Slavo.

You’ll thus need a chip to avail yourself of government services and, sooner or later, to make a purchase (again, society would no doubt become cashless).

At that point circumstances may compel a person to accept an implant even if the government doesn’t. And the implications of this are grave, say many critics. For instance, University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael warns, reports Gillespie:

“RFID microchips are essentially a unique ID embedded in your body, and, as we know, numbers can be stolen and data can be hacked.... They point to an uber-surveillance society that is big brother on the inside looking out. Governments or large corporations would have the ability to track people's actions and movements ... and ultimately even control them.”

Also note that with the government developing the capacity to predict an individual’s behavior with computer algorithms and with science starting to create technology that can decode thoughts and intentions (mind-reading), the future looks, well, quite revelatory.

So will a day come where we dare think only doubleplusgood thoughts? Will 1984 and Brave New World transition from fiction to news? Whatever the case, we can without hesitation now say something about the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”:

We certainly do.

Citation: Selwyn Duke, May 3, 2014, "Will Microchip Implants in Humans Become Mandatory?", The New American,

Please note: I was never contacted directly about my involvement in this article.