WILLIAM M. RANDLE Senior vice president Huntington Bancshares Columbus, Ohio
I HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT BANKS entering the so-called information superhighway. Currently there is something called the payment system, which banks have had control of for some years. I think the concern that all bankers should have is losing control of the payment system to entities that do not have the same concern for security control that financial institutions do. Bankers should first explore the electronic payment system currently in place and find ways to improve on that connectivity for our customers.
In the present system, the bank is at the center of the equation and the customer deals with a financial institution. My concern is that if somebody else owns the gateway or the network, then the bank is no longer in control of the customer relationship. The bank becomes just another tick mark on somebody else's menu card. Hopefully we'll create a forum to address these issues.
JAMES M. ROCKETT Partner Ropers, Majeski, Kohn, Bentley, Wagner, Kane, San Francisco
MY PERSPECTIVE IS AS A LAWYER. First of all, I think payment transactions will be dramatically impacted in areas like check processing where you will have instantaneous transactions. The commercial code that banks have been bound by is going to have to be adapted to those instantaneous transactions. It's going to be a learning process for banks to resolve that.
The existence of hackers, though, will be a major concern as more and more of these transactions take place on the highway. It's going to create a whole new generation of specialists in that area who understand the security aspects of these transactions. Banks have to be more sophisticated because transactions will happen faster. They won't have the luxury of time in making decisions that they've had in the past.
JONATHAN PALMER Chief technology executive Barnett Banks Inc. Jacksonville, Fla.
WE'VE BEEN SECURING financial transactions for years. Wire transfers and automated teller machine transactions are secure. Standards such as the Data Encryption Standard have been developed. Given the interest that banks and everybody else have in doing business on the Internet, I expect that standards are going to become law in some respect.
In the meantime, banks are just doing their own thing. We will encrypt on our end. Our customers and business partners will encrypt on their end. Hundreds of thousands of customers are on line to Barnett. We secure their data and secure access to their data using what have become industry standards. But those standards simply don't exist yet on the information superhighway. The short answer is standards need to be developed. I know the Open Systems Federation is working on it. I expect American National Standards Institute is working on it and will adopt some standards. As this evolves, we'll just do everything we can do individually.
KAWIKA DAGUIO Federal representative American Bankers Association Washington
BANKS HAVE A TRADITION OF helping people who don't know each other engage in commerce with each other. The information superhighway is a possible extension of that tradition. Our systems will provide for strong encryption, digital signatures, and trusted certification authorities. We also expect to provide these services to anyone wishing to engage in electronic commerce. When you look at trusted-third-party certification, for example, there is a whole range of possible standards that people are working on. Certification will ensure that people are who they say they are, that messages are authentic, that you are in a position to make deals you want to make.
GARY S. ROBOFF Acting president New York Switch Corp. Hackensack, N.J.
IF YOU FOCUS IN ON THE CONSUMER, my own belief is that the best way to secure transactions in an environment like this is through some kind of smartcard transaction that represents the equivalent of an electronic handshake between the card itself, a security algorithm that is in the card, and the specific host at the other end of the line.
I think it is going to be tough, at least internationally, to enable this kind of security without the creation of basic standards.
The second thing is that there has got to be a significant development of hardware at the consumer level that will enable this type of interaction at very minimal incremental cost to the consumer. I anticipate a smart phone or a future derivative of a smart phone like a box sitting on top of a TV. Many people think the TV itself with have the box in it. Within two or three years, I think these kinds of devices will be available at Caldor or K mart. But, they have to be affordable.
JAMES E. BARLETT Executive vice president MasterCard International St. Louis
WE ARE ASSUMING THAT AS BANKS begin to participate in the information highway, they will do so in the manner they did in the past. Their component of the highway will be secure from a communications point of view, such as a personal identification number, password, or encryption device.
For example, the Cirrus Network is a fully encrypted debit network for automated teller machines and the switching is PIN-based. Cirrus is a secured network from terminal to bank and from bank to terminal. If these networks are deemed to be in the information highway, they will carry along with them all the prudent control mechanisms that are required for financial transactions for their consumers.