By Martin Bosworth
Following on Gavin’s excellent post about the early adoption of mobile commerce and content pursuit across the globe, this issue actually came up in the course of the second day of the FTC conference on identity authentication and identity theft.
One of the panels discussed global approaches to privacy and security concerns for identity authentication, a welcome respite from the tediously U.S.-focused themes of the conference. Hanne Sijursen, payments exec for Norwegian mobile telco Telenor, discussed the24/7 culture of Norway that demanded convenience and ease of use via mobile banking at all times, to the point where she had to repeatedly remind government officials that Telenor was not, in fact, a bank itself.
Sijursen commented that everyone in Norway has a mobile–to them, it’s an accepted fact of life, and they apparently gleefully toss aside privacy concerns to ensure they can get what they want, when they want it.
Yukiko Ko, electronic commerce policy advisor for Alston & Bird, said that Japan had similar attitudes about privacy, preferring mobility, convenience, and functionality to security and privacy. She commented that Japan tends to place greater trust in its government to protect it, which led to a lot of laughter from the government attendees. 🙂
Another interesting comment of Ko’s was the fact that Japan has no “embedded credit card culture” as the West does, preferring to load up prepaid mobile phones and gift cards for instant commerce rather than pay later via credit. According to Ko, the majority of Japan’s identity theft came from lost or stolen mobiles, as they contain copious amounts of data–but many companies simply store their data on the servers and only enable subscribers to access it on a per-need basis.
In light of our country’s increasing problems with identity theft and the rampant abuse of surveillance powers by our government, this was a fascinating look at how other cultures view values we hold dear, and how their business and culture develops in that respect.