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#1: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-21 18:04:54 by albertleng

Should producers of software based services such as Automated Teller
Machines (ATM) be held liable for economic injuries suffered when their
system fails?

I'm not sure about other countries. For my country Malaysia, there's no
such law which acts against those service providers when the system
fails.

So, what's your view?

Albert

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#2: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-21 20:04:12 by roberson

In article <1119369894.390318.273080@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
<albertleng@gmail.com> wrote:
:Should producers of software based services such as Automated Teller
:Machines (ATM) be held liable for economic injuries suffered when their
:system fails?

What kind of "economic injuries" ? Is it an "economic injury" if an
ATM takes itself out of service and the customer has to spend
4 cents on gas to get to the next one down the road? And if that
next one down the road turns out to have less expensive surcharges,
so that the total amount the user pays turns out to be -less-, then
should the owner of the first ATM be able to claim a share of the savings
on the grounds that something they did (i.e., took the ATM out of service)
saved the customer money (a value-added service) ?


There are many different forms of "economic injury", and
responsibility for the "injury" is not always clear-cut.


For example, suppose a customer shows up at 23:56 and the system is
running slow so there is a small lineup and the customer is not able to
get to the ATM to complete a deposit before midnight, thus becoming
"late" on a payment. If the system weren't slow (or if all the ATMs
at the site were working) then maybe an ATM would have been free and
the customer would have been able to complete by 23:59 . Or maybe not,
because the ATM might be right by a bar and there might be a lineup
anyhow. Has the ATM owner economically "injured" the customer by not
in some manner not -immediately- being able to serve the customer?
Or is the customer responsible for the economic injury to themself
by not taking reasonable precautions to ensure that the transaction
was complete well before the last possible moment?


Suppose a gang of theives has installed a full set of information
capturing devices -- e.g., a very thin card reader in front of the real
slot, perhaps a set of micro force sensors and data recorders to
record key-presses. The theives obtain the card and PIN information
by stealth in a way that an ordinary consumer would have had trouble
detecting. Is the ATM owner then responsible for the "economic injury"
of (say) a bounced cheque, on the grounds that the ATM owner
"made it possible" for the theft to occur by "failing to take the
reasonable security precaution" of installing an on-the-spot
DNA analyzer ? [That such devices aren't practical yet doesn't change
anything in this question.]
--
Ceci, ce n'est pas une idée.

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#3: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-21 20:16:12 by unruh

albertleng@gmail.com writes:

>Should producers of software based services such as Automated Teller
>Machines (ATM) be held liable for economic injuries suffered when their
>system fails?

Liable to whom? The bank that installs it? I am sure that there are already
product liability laws in place that the providers would be held
accountable. To the consumer-- almost certainly not. HOwever the consumer
could hold the bank liable.


>I'm not sure about other countries. For my country Malaysia, there's no
>such law which acts against those service providers when the system
>fails.

I am sure that there are.


>So, what's your view?

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#4: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-21 20:22:47 by unruh

roberson@ibd.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca (Walter Roberson) writes:

>In article <1119369894.390318.273080@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> <albertleng@gmail.com> wrote:
>:Should producers of software based services such as Automated Teller
>:Machines (ATM) be held liable for economic injuries suffered when their
>:system fails?

>What kind of "economic injuries" ? Is it an "economic injury" if an
>ATM takes itself out of service and the customer has to spend
>4 cents on gas to get to the next one down the road? And if that
>next one down the road turns out to have less expensive surcharges,
>so that the total amount the user pays turns out to be -less-, then
>should the owner of the first ATM be able to claim a share of the savings
>on the grounds that something they did (i.e., took the ATM out of service)
>saved the customer money (a value-added service) ?

None of these would be regarded as economic injury by any court I do not
believe.



>There are many different forms of "economic injury", and
>responsibility for the "injury" is not always clear-cut.


>For example, suppose a customer shows up at 23:56 and the system is
>running slow so there is a small lineup and the customer is not able to
>get to the ATM to complete a deposit before midnight, thus becoming
>"late" on a payment. If the system weren't slow (or if all the ATMs
>at the site were working) then maybe an ATM would have been free and
>the customer would have been able to complete by 23:59 . Or maybe not,
>because the ATM might be right by a bar and there might be a lineup
>anyhow. Has the ATM owner economically "injured" the customer by not
>in some manner not -immediately- being able to serve the customer?
>Or is the customer responsible for the economic injury to themself
>by not taking reasonable precautions to ensure that the transaction
>was complete well before the last possible moment?

Nor would this be. The customer has the duty to make sure that if some time
is important to him that he take into reasonable sources of delay. A lineup
at an ATM is a reasonable and forseeable source of delay. Now if the atm
held the transaction in its memory for two weeks, that might well be
regarded as an unforseeable source of delay which could attract liability.



>Suppose a gang of theives has installed a full set of information
>capturing devices -- e.g., a very thin card reader in front of the real
>slot, perhaps a set of micro force sensors and data recorders to
>record key-presses. The theives obtain the card and PIN information
>by stealth in a way that an ordinary consumer would have had trouble
>detecting. Is the ATM owner then responsible for the "economic injury"
>of (say) a bounced cheque, on the grounds that the ATM owner
>"made it possible" for the theft to occur by "failing to take the
>reasonable security precaution" of installing an on-the-spot
>DNA analyzer ? [That such devices aren't practical yet doesn't change
>anything in this question.]

The bank could be held liable in this case, especially if the ATM is at the
bank. If the ATM is in a mall or something like that the liability I
suspect could be less. It certainly would not be held responsible for not
installing a dna analyser. But might be for allowing all that apparatus to
be installed on their atm.
(None of the above is legal advice. It is worth what you paid for it, or
maybe less.)

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#5: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-21 21:25:55 by "GEO" Me

On 21 Jun 2005 18:22:47 GMT, Unruh <unruh-spam@physics.ubc.ca> wrote:

<snip>
>
>>Suppose a gang of theives has installed a full set of information
>>capturing devices -- e.g., a very thin card reader in front of the real
>>slot,.
.....<snip>

>The bank could be held liable in this case, especially if the ATM is at the
>bank. ...
<snip>

What was the response of the Canadian bank whose ATM was altered
this way? Didn't they just say that the customers are responsible that
no camera could record their information? I know that my bank put
stickers indicating this ('Use your other hand to cover the hand
punching the keypad').

Geo

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#6: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-22 00:27:18 by unruh

"GEO" Me@home.here writes:

>On 21 Jun 2005 18:22:47 GMT, Unruh <unruh-spam@physics.ubc.ca> wrote:

><snip>
>>
>>>Suppose a gang of theives has installed a full set of information
>>>capturing devices -- e.g., a very thin card reader in front of the real
>>>slot,.
>....<snip>

>>The bank could be held liable in this case, especially if the ATM is at the
>>bank. ...
><snip>

> What was the response of the Canadian bank whose ATM was altered
>this way? Didn't they just say that the customers are responsible that
>no camera could record their information? I know that my bank put
>stickers indicating this ('Use your other hand to cover the hand
>punching the keypad').

Did it ever go to court? The case of the person in the UK who was thrown in
jail for fraud because he claimed an atm transaction had not been made by
him was ultimately thrown out of court when the bank's blatantly self
serving statements were challenged. Just because the bank says it does not
make it true.

Mind you their advice is good. If you have to go to court to prove the bank
liable, it will cost far far far more than was ever removed from your
account by the scanners. It is far better not to get involved than it is to
prove another person liable after the damage has been done.

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#7: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-22 00:31:27 by roberson

In article <d99ltn$dh6$2@nntp.itservices.ubc.ca>,
Unruh <unruh-spam@physics.ubc.ca> wrote:
|roberson@ibd.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca (Walter Roberson) writes:

|>In article <1119369894.390318.273080@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
|> <albertleng@gmail.com> wrote:
|>:Should producers of software based services such as Automated Teller
|>:Machines (ATM) be held liable for economic injuries suffered when their
|>:system fails?

|>What kind of "economic injuries" ? Is it an "economic injury" if an
|>ATM takes itself out of service and the customer has to spend
|>4 cents on gas to get to the next one down the road?

|None of these would be regarded as economic injury by any court I do not
|believe.

It would be an "economic injury", it just isn't one that the courts
are likely to find the ATM company to be at fault for. But that's
under -current- laws, and the OP was asking a hypothetical question
about a potential future in which "economic injuries" had stronger, more
explicit, legal protections. Before we can comment on whether such
a thing would be just, reasonable, or politically realistic, we need
to know what the OP meant by "economic injuries".

:Nor would this be. The customer has the duty to make sure that if some time
:is important to him that he take into reasonable sources of delay. A lineup
:at an ATM is a reasonable and forseeable source of delay.

IMHO, the possibility that the ATMs might be out of order completely
(or locked for the night, or removed from service the morning before)
would also be "reasonable and forseeable". I know, though, Bill, that
you've done quite enough computer work to know that users/customers
develop very different perspectives about "reasonable" than developers.

I am sure you've experienced for yourself that the more reliable
you make a program or network or computer system, that the more
upset people become when it is temporarily non-functional or
mal-functional. And probably you've observed yourself that some of the
people you work with no longer know how to do their work without email.
A -relatively- reliable technology becomes a crutch, and people start
suffering "economic damage" when teh crutch slips, because the people
have forgotten what things were like before.

I hear that cable TV companies really get an earful when the cable signal
goes out...

--
Any sufficiently old bug becomes a feature.

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#8: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-22 06:42:48 by "GEO" Me

On 21 Jun 2005 22:27:18 GMT, Unruh <unruh-spam@physics.ubc.ca> wrote:

>>>>Suppose a gang of theives has installed a full set of information
>>>>capturing devices -- e.g., a very thin card reader in front of the real
>>>>slot,.

>>>The bank could be held liable in this case, especially if the ATM is at the
>>>bank. ...

>> What was the response of the Canadian bank whose ATM was altered
>>this way? Didn't they just say that the customers are responsible that
>>no camera could record their information? I know that my bank put
>>stickers indicating this ('Use your other hand to cover the hand
>>punching the keypad').

>Did it ever go to court? The case of the person in the UK who was thrown in
>jail for fraud because he claimed an atm transaction had not been made by
>him was ultimately thrown out of court when the bank's blatantly self
>serving statements were challenged. Just because the bank says it does not
>make it true.
>Mind you their advice is good. If you have to go to court to prove the bank
>liable, it will cost far far far more than was ever removed from your
>account by the scanners. It is far better not to get involved than it is to
>prove another person liable after the damage has been done.

I did not hear what was the final outcome in that case, but I
believe that it is the same bank that refused responsability when a
Mexican millionaire was defrauded of a few million dollars by one of
its employees.
I don't think that saying 'do not get into an accident because the
car may burst into flames' would excuse an organization for improper
design. I would think that the banks should take some responsability
for ensuring the security of its ATMs. Of course, now that many ATMs
belong to independent operators I am not sure who would be
responsible.


'The cameras capture your hand motions and then the criminals can
read your secret code and empty your checking account. Even worse,
when this happens banks shrug their shoulders and say there is
nothing they can do.'
<http://clarkhoward.com/library/tips/banks.html>

Of course some people take it into their own hands:
'A man apparently angered after an ATM transaction went wrong fired 10
shots into the Fendalton Westpac Trust branch in Christchurch,
Australia with a .22 rifle early April 5.'
<http://www.atmmarketplace.com/news_story.htm?i=19054>


Geo

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#9: Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

Posted on 2005-06-23 19:35:53 by Frank Slootweg

"GEO" wrote:
[deleted]
> Of course some people take it into their own hands:
> 'A man apparently angered after an ATM transaction went wrong fired 10
> shots into the Fendalton Westpac Trust branch in Christchurch,
> Australia with a .22 rifle early April 5.'
> <http://www.atmmarketplace.com/news_story.htm?i=19054>

If they can't get the country [1] right, then I doubt the rest of the
story.

[1] Christchurch is in New Zealand (and there is none in Australia).

> Geo

You don't say! :-)

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