Banks Badger Whiz Who Found Credit Card PIN Flaw

Industry demands Cambridge whiz remove thesis on security problems
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2010 3:44 AM CST
Cambridge wouldn't dream of censorship, says prof.   (?dterei)
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(Newser) – British banks are badgering a top Cambridge math student whose doctoral thesis exposes security flaws in bank credit card payment systems. Omar Choudary reveals how easy it is to use "chip-and-PIN" credit cards (similar to a US bank debit card) without a PIN number. Now banks are complaining that he has essentially written a how-to manual for fraudsters, and they're demanding his thesis be removed from Cambridge's website. The thesis "oversteps the boundaries of what constitutes reasonable disclosure," said an industry spokeswoman.

Choudary's supervising professor is aghast at the very idea of censorship, notes the Independent. The industry seems to "think we might censor a student's thesis—which is lawful and already in the public domain—simply because a powerful interest group finds it inconvenient," he said. "Cambridge is the university of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin. Censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values." (Read more banks stories.)

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