One Smart Card For Everything
In Taiwan, millions use the Easycard for everything from riding a bus to opening a door to buying a snack. Other countries are considering adopting the technology, which comes with both pros and cons.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Since 2002, residents of Taipei and other parts of Taiwan have been able to reduce an increasing number of transactions to a single smart card with an embedded RFID tag. Originally restricted to public transportation, the Easycard can now be used as a debit card for purchases, a library card, an office entry key, and even as an ID. One family demonstrated how they use their Easycards in a typical day; for example, when the daughter checked into her school using her card, her parents received a text message notifying them that she had safely arrived.
What's the Big Idea?
Despite the convenience, there are several risks involved in having a multifunctional smart card, which the Easycard company says it covers as best it can. The amount of data accessible through the card is limited, although the risk goes up when the card is used as an ID. As of right now the Easycard cannot track every move a customer makes, largely because of the type of RFID tag used, but a switch to a different type of tag could cause privacy concerns. Still, enough interest has been generated such that the company is in talks with smart card manufacturers in other Asian countries, including Hong Kong and South Korea.
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