It's a mystery that's better suited for a schlocky Hollywood thriller starring Harrison Ford, but it's all too real — the stealthy cancellation of thousands of debit cards from various banks, due to a data breach involving a still-unidentified "third party retailer."
Avivah Litan, security analyst for the Gartner research firm, has called the data breach the "worst hack ever," saying it represented a new and dangerous frontier for identity fraud: the mass theft of personal identification numbers (PINs) used to authorize debit card transactions.


For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats

Telecom stuff

Okay, my calls on what's gonna happen this year in telecom. Let's see how right I'm gonna be, since I called the AT&T+Bellsouth thing months ago in IRC. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, AT&T/Bellsouth merger gets lots of press, then basically blanket signoff by the regulatory agencies by Q3, with token amounts of transfers of various areas to Alltel and Sprint landline.

Alltel's landline spinoff stays normal. The wireless part of the spinoff gets eaten by Verizon, Q3. No regulatory issues, because they forwent the landline stuff, which is a lagging market. Verizon won't want their landlines. They're all rural, and everyone's switching to cell phone anyway. Verizon's footprint goes from huge to superhuge. They buy the 40% stake Vodaphone PLC has in Verizon Wireless out finally, making it wholly owned by Verizon. The combined network, without Vodaphone's european/english interference, becomes even more encumbered than ever, as if that that were even possible. You can do anything on their network, as long as it's profitable for verizon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Boost mobile builds into Sprint's prepaid reseller platform, Q2. New handsets, direct competition with Virgin mobile.

T-Mobile brings up HSDPA, charges $75/mo unlimited for the first year, Q4 – just in time for christmas. Video capable phones abound.
They'll also do something interesting regarding unlicensed mobile access. It's an interesting way to add coverage. woo.

Cingular would roll out HSDPA before T-Mobile, but due to the buyout of Cingular by AT&T fully, and the impending rebranding of Cingular as AT&T wireless lags out Cingular's deployment, and it hits the market big time at the same time, or slightly later than T-Mobile. The advertising messages will be really muddied and vague, leading more people to use T-Mobile, who will undoubtedly have better pricing.

Nextel finally rebands into 900Mhz. Sprint uses the 1.9Ghz PCS block that Nextel got as part of their spectrum swap deal to deploy even more capacity, and expand EVDO coverage to compete with Verizon for business customers who want wireless data.

Verizon vies for UHF TV bands in certain areas to add capacity in heavily loaded areas. TV special interests win, and they won't get it.

VoIP 802.11* phones with integrated GPS chips hit the scene, and a major carrier rolls out with E911 support on wireless VoIP phones. Vonage?

PS: I'm kinda pulling all this out of my ass here, don't sue me if I'm wrong. Don't sue me if I'm right. In fact, don't sue me at all.