As HWS considers implementing a student card system, I wanted to discuss the student ID card system here at Yonsei University here in Korea.
Student ID cards are not full T-money cards, however they share some functions.
During Orientation this August we were all given your U cards. These cards are designed to be used for banking although for some reason using this feature is not recommended. It has a viable chip on the fount just like Asian style ATM cards and on the back we learn the card is issued by Woori Bank which has a branch on campus for those needing to open a new account. Also of convenience, the U cards can be used to add value in order to ride the city transport buses and trains in Seoul, however they do not have full T-money capacity, so they can not be used in stores or on taxis. T money cards can be purchased for a few dollars and provide a 100Won (9 US cent discount) on each subway ride, however opening up a bank account is way to get the cards for free. Of course since the U cards are a student ID our pictures, submitted beforehand online, are included along with the university name, logo, and colors. Another added bonus is the listing of our birthday’s because this allows for the ID to be accepted (in most cases) on the rare occasion that one is requested for drinking at a restaurant or more frequent to enter a club. The drinking age in Korea is 19 (what Westerns would consider 18) so almost all college students benefit without holding another document proving they are too young to drink.
This is not however the full one card system for campus however because a separate key card is required to enter the dormitory. (Yonsei also does not have meals plans so each meal is purchased separately without needing to confirm identity.) I view this as a disappointment because I was hoping to only have to carry around one card in high tech Seoul, however we are still a way off for the paperless, wallet-less future. Of course the technology, expect for acceptable exist to run our entire lives from our mobile phones including banking and passport controls however safety and implantation become the biggest concerns. Converting every part of our economy from street vendors to police records online would be extremely costly even for a wealthy tech savvy nation. If that one device becomes lost or malfunctions a person would be in a terrible situation. While added a dorm key to the U card system is not so dramatic, the loss of this card would become marginally worse. Also could it be considered safe to have all of that information in the cloud and no back up copies existing or the only copies being in the hands of the government? A hacker could ruin lives and shut down society since deleting data or causing blackouts could prevent people for obtaining necessities and accessing there homes, unless the system was perfect and humans can be perfect. The government could also very easily suspend the ability of criminals and political dissidents to operate by shutting down commence and tracking them down. They could delete citizens from there records and deny there rights. Currently paper money, apartment keys, and physical passports prevent these harms. While the additional convenience can help speed up daily lives along with the economy and usually sometimes provide for greater security and accountability a sufficient Plan B must remain in the hands of everyday people. As we look to Korea as an example of advancement, let us also remain alert about the possible harms.