This week, the Central District Court of California saw Pavel Valkovich, a convicted identity theft mastermind, plead guilty to trying to hire a contract killer to ‘off’ one of the witnesses against him. Valkovich, originally found guilty of trying to transfer $440,000 from a victims bank account (via PayPal fraud) will face a statutory 50 years in the clink – 20 years for the murder-for-hire and 30 years for the fraud?
Shouldn’t those two be the other way around perhaps? Read more…
For those interested in the “big picture” of privacy and technology, I’ll be at the PbD conference in Madrid this year, 2nd November, talking about privacy enabling technologies such as data protection, identity protection etc. You can get details about the conference from the PbD website, which is being run just ahead of this years 31st International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy.
Privacy by Design is a concept promoted by Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D, Information & Privacy Commissioner Ontario, Canada which aims to promote the idea of systems and processes built with privacy in mind, rather than retrofitted afterwards. I encourage all readers to browse her site which is quite informative, and gives you perhaps a “bigger picture” view than IT alone.
This week the Ministry of Commerce for The Peoples Republic Of China joins Korea in announcing a new initiative to implement controls on the conversion of virtual to physical currency. The press release on the MOFCOM site highlights the scope of the problem:
According to media reports, the virtual money trade topped several billion yuan (￥1B=US$146M) last year after rising around 20 percent annually.
Though this move seems to be targeted towards individuals bypassing tax payments by transacting online money for real goods and services, it also touches on the greater problems of CyberLaudering and Gold Farming. Read more…
Last week in England Lord West (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Security and Counter-terrorism) indicated that the UK has the ability to launch cyber-attacks. Though his interview was very thin on facts and details, he made some interesting comments that GCHQ (The British Government’s communications and information systems arm in Cheltenham, UK) have former “naughty boys” in its employ, and that:
“It would be silly to say that we don’t have any capability to do offensive work from Cheltenham, and I don’t think I should say any more than that”
Interesting indeed, but I’d liked him to at least tell me something about what the government could do that the average hacker could not. Do they have more resources than the average bot net for example? Read more…