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United States Patent Office
Patented Feb. 28, 1967
3 307 147
TELEPHONE VERIFICATION SYSTEM
Robert N. Goldman and Ronald A. Katz, Los Angeles,
Calif., assignors to Telecredit, Inc., Wilmington, Del., „
a corporation of Delaware
Filed Apr. 12,1962, Ser. No. 187,051
10 Claims. (CI. 340—150)
The present invention relates to a verification system, as for use in telephonic communication to verify that com- Jq munication is established with a telephone station as represented.
Telephonic communication has come into widespread use for many business transactions wherein the proper identification of the communicating parties is important. 15 For example, information is sometimes provided by telephone to clientele, who pay for the information. Credit information services, as a specific example, often provide credit information to persons calling by telephone, with virtually no assurance that the calling party is a paying 20 client. Therefore, unauthorized persons may sometimes avail themselves of a service intended to be provided to a select group, by simply telephoning the station from which information is obtained, and identifying themselves as an authorized client. In a specific example, a former 25 employee of a subscriber company may desire credit information on a person registered with the credit service. To obtain such information the former employee may simply call the credit service company and identify himself as representing his former employer. In such situation, 30 the inquiring person normally obtains the information he desires at the expense of either the credit service company or his former employer.
Of course, the expense of providing information to unauthorized persons can be avoided by the use of a private :,5 communication system. However, in general, the expense of such a system, relative to the cost of using regular telephone communication, normally requires such an arrangement impractical.
In some situations of this type, various codes have been 40 assigned to identify authorized persons in telephonic communication. However, these codes often become well known to unauthorized persons, and furthermore, considerable time and effort is required to determine the validity of each assertedly-valid code. As a result, the 43 use of code systems have at best only discouraged a few . unauthorized persons from using the service.
Still another proposed solution to this problem has involved the provision of coded information to the inquirer. However, again, the codes become well known if used for 50 prolonged periods of time, and additionally they cause considerable confusion. Therefore, in spite of this and various other proposed solutions to the problem as return calling, a need remains for an accurate, economical and effective system to verify that persons inquiring by tele- 55 phone are authorized clients.
In general, the present invention comprises a verification or identification apparatus for use in conjunction with a conventional telephone system, which apparatus is provided at the data station and functions with a plurality of approved inquiring stations, to verify the inquiring stations at the data station. In the system, a plurality of registers are individually associated with the inquiring stations for registering code signals which identify each particular in- ^quiring station. Plural register means are also present at the data station for registering the code signals identifying each of the data inquiry stations. The system then incorporates means for varying these code signals during telephonic communication between an inquiry station and 70 the data station, so that the code signals are repeatedly changed. The system may also include apparatus to com
pare the code signals from the inquiring station and the code signals registered to identify that station. Of course, a conicidence in the two sets of signals indicates that the inquiring station is the authorized client.
An object of the present invention is to provide an improved system for use with conventional public telephone apparatus, for verifying one telephone station at a second telephone station.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved apparatus for verifying the existence of communication between two telephonic stations.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a telephonic verifying system which is economical and simple to use.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a system for verifying at one telephone station that communication is established with another select telephone station, which system is reliable and economical.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following description, taken in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a block diagram of a system incorporating the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a block and perspective diagram of a detailed portion of the system of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 3 is a block and perspective diagram of an alternative embodiment for the system of FIGURE 1.
Referring initially to FIGURE 1, there is shown a data station D served by a telephone system T which system also serves a plurality of inquiry stations IX through IY. The data station D may, for example, comprise the location of records containing information which is provided on request to the inquiry stations IX through IY which are controlled by a select clientele. Of course, a large number of inquiry stations would be present in an actual system, and as information is provided from the data station D to the inquiry stations through conventional telephone facilities of the system T, essentially the communication needs within the system are provided simply by each of the stations having a telephone.
In the operation of the system of FIGURE 1, the inquiry station IX, for example, may call the data station D and request certain information as for example the credit status of a particular individual. Thereupon, the desired information ■ is located at the data station and given to the inquiry station IX. In the operation of the present system, the inquiry station IX is verified to the data station D whereby to establish that the inquiry station IX is a true subscriber to the service provided by the data station D. Considering the details of an exemplary inquiry station and data station, reference will now be had to FIGURE 2.
Referring to FIGURE 2, there is shown a handset or telephone instrument 12 located at the inquiry station IX, which instrument is connected in a conventional manner to a telephone system 14 through which, the instrument 12 may be connected to virtually any other telephone station. Specifically for example, the telephone 12 may be connected as by dialing or other means to a telephone system 16 located at the data station which is in turn connected to a telephone instrument 18.
The telephone instrument 12 at the inquiry station IX carries a transducer 20 affixed adjacent the ear piece 12a of the instrument and capable of converting an inaudible sonic tone (e.g. 20,000 cycles) into an electrical signal of similar frequency. The signal from the transducer 20 is applied to a band-pass filter 22 which discriminates against all signals excepting the above-mentioned inaudible frequency, which is passed to energize a relay 24 that controls a binary counter 26 incorporating a visual display panel 28. These elements may take the form of various
well known devices interconnected as shown in FIGURE 2.
The telephone instrument 18 carries a transducer 30 adjacent the mouth piece 18a which is capable of forming an inaudible sonic signal (e.g. 20,000 cycles) from 5 a received electrical signal of the same frequency. The frequency of the electrical signal coincides to that passed by the filter 22 at the inquiry stations of the system and is provided from an oscillator 32 as shown. The oscillator 32 has an output connected to a gate 34 qualified by a signal in a conductor 36 which results in the passage of the oscillating signal to the transducer 30. The gate 34 may take the form of various "and" or coincidence gates which function to pass one signal upon receiving a high level of another signal to be qualified. 15
With the above preliminary consideration, the system of FIGURE 2 may now best be explained by assuming certain initial conditions and describing the operation coincidentally with the introduction of the other elements in. the system. TherefoVe, assume initially that the 20 counter 26 at the inquiry station manifests a binary number 10110 1011 currently identifying that subject or station. The latter four digits in this number, e.g. 1011 are the fixed identification for the inquiry station and do not change as inquiries are made. However, the first 25 five digits of the number, i.e. 10110, represent the dynamic portion of the number and change during each call to maintain the reliability of the verification system.
Assuming now that a person at the inquiry station IX desires to obtain data from the data station, the telephone 30 instrument 12 is raised and telephonic communication is established in a conventional manner between that instrument and the instrument 18 at the data station. Upon initially establishing communication, the operator at the inquiry station reads the number manifest by the panel 35 28, i.e. 10110 1011 and this information is transmitted through the telephone system 14 and the telephone system 16 to the operator using the instrument 18. Thereupon, the operator at the data station with the instrument 18 punches the received numbers on keys 38 and 40 of a 40 binary register 42 to initiate a test. The keys 40 accommodate the first five digits of the received number and the keys 38 receive the second four digits. Therefore, the binary register 42 (which may comprise a series of flip-flop circuits) is set to coincide with the register 26 45 at the inquiry station in communication. The digits of the number are presented by the register 42 as binary signals, the latter four of which are applied through conductors 44 to the address input of a memory 46. The memory 46 may take various forms including a coincident- 50 current magnetic-core memory as well known in the prior art.
After the number has been set in the binary register 42, the operator presses a start "test" or "go" button 48 which is connected 'to provide a high signal to the "read" input 55 of the memory 46 and commands the memory 46 to provide the contents of the location addressed by the input signals to an output register 50. That is, upon receiving a "read" icommand signal, the memory 46 selects a location determined by the signals received Qq on the conductors 44, and provides the contents of that location to the output register 50. The contents of the output register in the form of five-bit parallel binary signals are applied simultaneously to a comparator 52 and an adder 54. The comparator 52 also receives 6g signals representative of the first five bits of the identifying code number punched into the register 42. These signals are received through conductors 56. Therefore, the comparator 52 receives a five-bit binary number as registered in the register 26 at the inquiry station, and similarly re- 70 ceives a five-bit binary number from a location in the memory 46 identified with the register 26. The coincidence of these two binary numbers indicates the current inquiry station to be valid as asserted.
Various types of known comparator circuits may be 75
employed as the comparator 52 to provide a high output signal in a conductor 58 upon receiving signals indicative of similar binary numbers. One form of the comparator 52 may comprise simply a series of cascaded "and" gates.
A high signal indicating coincidence from the comparator 52 is applied to a signal device 60 which may comprise a light, a bell, or various other devices to indicate to the operator of the instrument 18 that the inquiry station with whom he is communicating is a verified inquiry station. Upon observing the signal from the device 60, the operator with the instrument 18 proceeds to accept the inquiry and provides the desired information or other material. Of course, it is to be understood that the verification operation by the data station is performed so rapidly that no apparent pause exists in the conversation. During the course of the conversation, subsequent to verification, the data station system functions to increment the value indicated by the register 26, and the associated value from the memory 46, preparatory to the next inquiring call. The manner in which this operation is accomplished will now be considered in detail.
The signal indicating an approved inquiry station appearing in the conductor 58 is also applied to a randomnumber generator 64, a single rotation motor 66, and a delay circuit 68. Upon receiving the signal, the randomnumber generator 64 provides a signal-represented five-bit binary number on five output conductors 70 which are connected to the adder 54 and to a rotary distributor 72. The random-number generator may comprise various devices including a magnetic drum with a plurality of random numbers thereon, which are provided to the conductors 70 upon receiving a signal as from the conductor 58.
The random-value number carried by the conductors 70 and applied to the adder 54 is added to the numerical value manifest by signals in the conductors 62 from the memory 46. Therefore, these two values are added and returned to the addressed memory location through conductors 78 upon the appearance of the approved signal from the delay circuit 68. As a result, the variable value in the memory location of the memory 46 associated with the particular inquiry station in communication is altered by a predetermined random number. That is, the adder 54 which may comprise a conventional binary parallel adder additively combines the signals from the randomnumber generator and the signals from the memory 46 to form a new set of signals which are returned to the memory 46 when the memory receives a signal from the delay circuit 68 commanding a "write" operation.
To maintain the remotely registered value in coincidence with this alteration, it is necessary to alter the contents of the register 26 at the inquiry station. To accomplish this operation, the signals from the randomnumber generator 64 are converted into a series of pulses by a distributor 72 passing through a single revolution under control of the single-rotation motor 66. The distributor 72 has a plurality of stationary contacts 73 which are sequentially engaged by a rotary contact 75 driven by the single-rotation motor 66. The first contact 73 engaged by the rotary contact 75 is connected to the conductor 70c which carries the least-significant binary digit. The next two stationary contacts 73 are connected to the conductor 706 which carries the next least significant digit. The next four stationary contacts 73 are associated with another conductor, as are the next eight and the next sixteen. Therefore, as the rotary contact 75 passes through a cycle of rotation it receives a number of pulses which is equal the binary value from the random-number generator 64. This series of pulses is received by the conductor 36 to qualify the gate 34 and permit a series of burst signals to ibe applied to the transducer 30. These burst signals are transformed to a sonic form by the transducer 30 then sent through the telephone system 16 to the telephone system 14 and received at the ear piece of