So Ford have a key that lets you unlock your car based on your proximity. Which is cool. And (it appears) their marketing agency decided to promote this by applying the same logic via an iphone app that 'unlocks' your social sites with bluetooth as well. FaceBook, Google, AOL...
And this is an interesting fail. For lots and lots of reasons. But first here's their video:
So. Interesting parts.
1. Mobile tech isn't that secure yet. Bluetooth, RFID, NFC etc have a way to go before having access to your entire digital identity stored on a device that people want to steal - even with second-factor authentication (which you should use, now). Also, unfortunately it is not cool to launch an extension that stores passwords in cleartext.
2. So it's kind of disappeared while they make it better. Cue excellent blog from sophos on why security is a good idea. naked security
3. All this doesn't mean it's not brilliant. Lots of people are also trying to work out how to make something similar work in a secure way. That's why a car company is showing this first rather than everyone you'd expect. (hello Apple, hello password apps). Because for Ford it is an experiment that can #fail. (and sort of did). We will allow them (and their marketing agency) not to understand how the internet works and enthusiastically put people's personal information at risk.
4. BUT. But... But just imagine your invisible, universal proximity-based KEY to everything. Something that logs you on simply by you being there, but also cleans up, wipes, and logs off behind you.
Because it's an interesting fantasy world. (as Paul Ducklin says "more appropriate to a fairy tale" - but let's go there):
Imagine just logging in to websites by sitting near your computer.
In fact, forget the computer. A screen, any screen, anywhere in the world. You walk up, you are automatically logged in, there's your FB, your mail, your friends, your stream....
OK, forget the stream, you walk into your local pizza place, you pick up the tablet and are logged in, the menu is now vegetarian, with your favourites, a one-click-order, and some suggested alternatives.
You get to the cinema. You walk up to the printer. It immediately prints your tickets, and a quick map that shows which theatre - and locates your friends - over getting popcorn.
You get on a bus, or the subway. You are out of credit. So you get off the bus. It begins to rain :(
So let's forget the phone as well. Why do you need a phone? Pretty soon the only thing you'll need to actually carry is an umbrella.
All that tech could be in your watch, or a headphone, or a pair of glasses... OK, it's in a chip. It's in a tiny sub-cutaneous SD card and an aerial that's woven into your clothes. Get over it. It means you don't need a phone anymore, or car keys, or keys, or a bus pass, or a loyalty card, or a walkman(?) or a book...
You pick up the kindle-y device. You are logged in. Game of Thrones o'clock (better read than watched btw).
You turn on the screen-in-the-corner-that-used-to-be-a-TV, you are logged in, Sound of Music starts at the point where you last left the room.
In fact, you're in a shop, you're logged in. Here are your vouchers on the desktop, your offers, everything similar you've looked at previously here, and online. A time-based 'buy-now' offer ticks down. You are you because you are logged in, so why would you need a credit card? You have credit. Credit is just assured identity. You pick up what you want. You walk towards the door. You agree to the transaction with a wave. Happy shopping.
You are at the airport. You walk towards security. You are logged in...