Daily question: In the back seat?

In the last six months alone, 31,544 mobile phones in New York and 55,843 in London were left behind in taxi cabs, says a new survey by Credant Technologies.

Now to be sure, Credant is a security software vendor with interest and this survey was done on 300 licensed taxi drivers each in NYC and London, but still, that’s a pretty shocking number if true.

Other things were also left in the back seat:

The research also found drivers discovered other strange objects in the back of their cabs, including a sawn-off shotgun, 12 dead pheasants, two dogs, toilet seats, a casket of funeral ashes and £2,700 in cash.

But mobile devices can contain sensitive personal and corporate data, as BBC indicates:

A survey by credit reference agency Equifax in April suggested 16% of its customers put PIN numbers on their mobile devices while 24% recorded birthday dates.

It wouldn’t be a wild guess then to extrapolate from this survey that perhaps a million mobile phones are annually left in taxi cabs all over the world.

How likely is it then that the West will embrace the mobile-phone-as-wallet concept?

4 thoughts on “Daily question: In the back seat?

  1. In the future, our wallets WILL be our cell phones and vice-versa.

    Of course, it will be years before we see this happen. Heck, it’s going to take 10 years alone just to make this mobile device comform to your but.

  2. This gets even more dangerous when cellphones can be used for one factor of authentication, such as holding certificates or providing SecurID numbers.

    I would like to see stronger, multi-factor authentication in a smartphone, but convenience of use will make this difficult. Perhaps a tiered model where answering calls, making calls, accessing data, transferring data can have different levels of security. Hard to do in practice: I visualize constant interruptions with Vista UAC-like prompts while using the phone, and people setting the lock timer to infinity for convenience. Perhaps convenient biometrics like eye/fingerprint/voice recognition can help, but this will take a lot of technological and social adaptation.

  3. Berend: “I guess wallets are left behind in taxis.”

    I’d be shocked if an equal number of wallets were left behind.

    “why would the risk of loosing a wallet be any different from loosing a phone?”

    Well, phones can contain far more data/info about a person and other people related to that person, including his employer, and worse, they are actually transactional devices. If all our private financial, social and health data are to be funneled into a single, all-purpose device, capable of making remote transactions on our behalf or accessing corporate databases, it could be quite problematic when they are left behind.

  4. So what is the difference?

    I guess wallets are left behind in taxis. I don’t know any numbers but why would the risk of loosing a wallet be any different from loosing a phone?

Comments are closed.