One of the paradoxes of modern life is the conflict between convenience and security. Advances in technology simultaneously usher in progress and pain. The development of mobile and smartphone technology will have a significant positive impact on financial transactions and the average consumer’s access to financial services. Nevertheless, there are several reasons to secure mobile technology and financial transactions in the United States. First, cell phones increase the risk to personal security and most U.S. wireless carriers are using outdated encryption technology. Second, many cell phone users are more concerned with convenience—caring more about the availability and functionality of smartphone applications—than with potential security threats. This will change as more consumers use their phones for financial transactions. Third, evidence from other developed countries, including Canada and several nations in Europe, has shown that it is possible to provide additional security protections for consumers.
Americans rely on their smartphones to transmit financial data about themselves, their work places and families. While some privacy laws have been interpreted to cover the unique threats posed by mobile technology, most do not, and security and privacy issues in regards to mobile banking have been largely unheralded.
This Article identifies existing privacy laws and security regulations that have been applied to mobile technologies by federal and state governments, by courts, and by various regulatory agencies. The Article then analyzes the shortcomings of the current regulatory framework in the United States. After examining several policy recommendations, as well as current standards in the telecommunications industry, the Article concludes with several suggestions for mitigating the risks posed by emerging mobile technology. Without entirely upending the current system, U.S. laws can be expanded and streamlined to address future challenges.
9 Berkeley Bus. L. J. 139 (2012).