CurrentC isn't exactly easy for the customer to use - the winner is the merchant who gets to harvest and potentially sell user data and avoid credit card company fees.
Using it involves selecting CurrentC on the payment terminal; manually launch a special app on your phone; manually select a payment function; aim phone camera at a QR code displayed by the terminal. There are exceptions where where you have to make your phone display a QR code then and aim it at the cashier’s camera, or you need to manually enter a special code number generated by the phone app. A credit card may be the easier option.
There are privacy and security issues. Merchants don't have a stellar record protecting customer data. In this case it isn't your credit card number (remember your credit card is insured against theft and abuse - many of us have had our card numbers stolen courtesy of careless merchants, but it doesn't matter that much as the credit card company insures us against this). CurrentC gets around the card companies by requiring direct access to your bank account. They haven't said anything about insurance.
So CurrentC is hard to use than the Apple and Google mobile wallet solutions. It is less secure than credit cards (which are at the core of Apple and Google) . You have put your bank account into the hands of a new entity. And your usage data is shared by members of the consortium.
Apparently the merchants in the consortium are not allowed to accept other forms of mobile payments.
I'm guessing the merchants may offer discounts to get people to use it. For some of us the downsides are large enough that these discounts would need to be very large. Perhaps a better option is to shop at competitors who don't use it or just use cash or a credit card.
Verizon Wireless has been subtly altering the web traffic of its wireless customers for the past two years, inserting a string of about 50 letters, numbers, and characters into data flowing between these customers and the websites they visit.
The company—one the country’s largest wireless carriers, providing cell phone service for about 123 million subscribers—calls this a Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH. It’s a kind of short-term serial number that advertisers can use to identify you on the web, and it’s the lynchpin of the company’s internet advertising program. But critics say that it’s also a reckless misuse of Verizon’s power as an internet service provider—something that could be used as a trump card to obviate established privacy tools such as private browsing sessions or “do not track” features.
Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wants Verizon to stop using the UIDH. “ISPs are trusted connectors of users and they shouldn’t be modifying our traffic on its way to the Internet,” he says. He calls the UIDH a “perma-cookie,” because it can be read by any web server that you visit and used to build a profile of your internet habits.
You can check to see if it is happening to you here (be sure and run the test with wifi turned off). There are reports that other providers are doing this with some accounts. I use AT&T and find they are not doing it to me.
This is something to complain to the Federal Trade Commission about as well as your representatives in Washington. It would probably be a good thing if access providers were only allowed to provide access. Everything else would be a service you would add or not at your choice.
By keeping the development of new satellite technology in the CIA, Wheelon was able to guide the direction of the technology. To him, the solution seemed obvious. Television stations could beam live images of football games across the country instantly, why couldn't the CIA's satellites transmit reconnaissance images from orbit?
The image tubes that TV cameras of the day used were too fragile and low resolution to use in orbit, but he found a promising new technology in AT&T's Bell Labs. Charge-coupled devices, or CCDs showed immense potential as electronic image sensors, but at the time the technology was still in its infancy. To keep the research alive, Wheelon started directing agency funds to support the lab's work on CCDs.
Wheelon left the CIA for the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1966, but his legacy continued as the CIA continued to support Bell Labs's CCD cameras. In 1976 the KH-11 KENNEN spy satellite was launched carrying the first electronic eye into orbit. It revolutionized the way we looked at Earth which revolutionized how we look at the rest of the universe.
Which is where the Hubble Space Telescope comes in because it's almost certainly a modified version of the basic KH-11 design. Though no official photos of the KH-11 satellites have been released, it's widely believed to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Hubble, with a long tube and a big curved mirror at its base to focus incoming light onto a CCD camera. When NASA was first designing the space telescope, they had originally planned on a mirror three meters across, but opted instead for one that 2.3 meters across to take advantage of mirror building machines built for spy satellites.