International News Desk – At Home: WestJet disables credit card readers amid fraud concerns – In Foreign News: IOC bans Iraq from Beijing Olympics

International News Desk – At Home: WestJet disables credit card readers amid fraud concerns – In Foreign News: IOC bans Iraq from Beijing Olympics

At Home: WestJet disables credit card readers amid fraud concerns

WestJet passengers arriving at some of Canada’s airports may need to leave a little extra time for checking in and catching their flights.

Amid security concerns with the self-serve check-in kiosks, WestJet has disabled the credit card readers on the units, although passengers will still be able to use their ticket reference numbers or passports at the kiosks.

The move is purely a precaution, according to Ken McKenzie, executive vice-president of operations for the company.

?Obviously, It’s not something that we want to introduce,? he told reporters. However, he noted that customer safety includes ?both their physical safety [and] also the safety of their identity, and we thought that this was a very prudent step to take.?

Although few details are being released about what triggered the fraud concerns, the CBC reports that Visa Canada has confirmed they are conducting an investigation.

?Visa Canada is currently investigating isolated reports of fraud that have a correlation with air travel, in particular at a Canadian airport,? a Visa spokesperson said. ?We are working with airport officials and the airlines to investigate the situation.?

Specifically, The Globe and Mail reported earlier this week that Visa is investigating occurrences of fraud believed to be linked with kiosks at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

The concern over possible credit card fraud at the kiosks isn’t likely to help consumer confidence in the wake of high-profile data breaches in recent years. In June, Canada’s federal privacy commissioner singled out the data breach at TJX Companies, Inc. (the parent company of Winners and HomeSense) as being especially ?staggering? and the ?largest-ever online burglary.?

In that case, more than 94 million credit and debit cards were exposed to fraud after a major computer security breach, in part because the company ?collected too much information, kept the data for too long and relied on weak WEP encryption technology to protect its wireless local networks.?

In Foreign News: IOC bans Iraq from Beijing Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on July 24 that, because of interference from the Iraq government, Iraqi athletes will be banned from competing at the 2008 Beijing Games. Iraq’s Olympic committee contravened the IOC charter in June and was placed under suspension.

As the CBC reports, the IOC charter requires ?national Olympic committees to be free of political influence.?

However, in June the Iraq government replaced several of its Olympic committee officials with its own appointees, who had not been recognized by the IOC. Iraqi officials claimed the old committee was no longer legitimate after ?four of its 11 members were kidnapped in Baghdad in 2006.?

Hussein al-Amidi, general secretary of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, confirmed news of the decision. ?This morning we were informed of the final decision of the International Olympic Committee to suspend the membership of the Iraqi Olympic Committee,? he told reporters.

A team of five Iraqi athletes was scheduled to complete in Beijing. However, amid the impasse with the IOC, Iraqi officials missed the July 23 deadline to submit a squad for the Games.

The places of the Iraqi athletes will now be offered to athletes from other countries.

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