Everybody's Coupling With Encryption Alliances

As the retail industry quickly moves to embrace some kind of tokenization, middle-to-middle encryption or a related scheme to reduce how long card data is lying around retail networks waiting to be stolen, vendor alliances are popping up like crabgrass. (By the way, don't say anything nasty about crabgrass. It's the only thing on my lawn that will grow.)

You'll note, however, that no one is announcing deployments by major retailers or releasing detailed trial results showing that any of this stuff actually works. Vendor alliances are easy because no one has to show or do anything for them. That said, these partnerships are a start.

On Tuesday (Oct. 27), Chase Paymentech, VeriFone and Semtek said they would be working together on middle-to-middle encryption. Also on Tuesday, Voltage Security pushed its middle-to-middle encryption tactics by stating that it would be opening its encryption package to all POS vendors (as if anyone expected the company to refuse to accept money from any POS vendor offering it?) and a "zero-cost licensing program for integration" of its technology.

"It will be no cost to do the port and no cost when they distribute the device," said Wasim Ahmad, Voltage’s vice president, Marketing. Given that Voltage had never intended—nor was it expected—to charge for those services, it seems an odd announcement.

Rounding out the latest alliances is a pledge from Hypercom and Heartland Payment Systems to jointly push the Heartland encryption package.