News from Anguilla
This issue contains articles found in other magazines/sources. Please contact the source with a view to taking out a subscription (some of them are free) if you want to obtain more of the same. Also check out the other lists at topica.com; some are announcement lists and others are discussion lists there will be at least one of them that will be to your liking! Please feel free to contribute to, reply to, comment on or (Heaven forbid) correct any item in these newsletters. Send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Your input will be discreetly disseminated.
Speaking of which, we had these observations concerning issue #9, which is a cue for:
MATTERS ARISING . .
For one thing, it was pointed out that there has been (for a long time!) a typo in paragraph 1, penultimate word, which should be "discreetly", not "discretely". The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines the former as "judicious, prudent, circumspect ..., unobtrusive..."; the latter as "separate, individually distinct, discontinuous". Unfortunately, the spell-check can't handle homophones (and there has to be a joke in there somewhere). So now we're all a bit more erudite and that's been taken care of, we'll go on to the next item....
You'll recall the item in the last issue on "Echelon" which went on to say that "...In a 100-page report submitted recently to the French defence ministry's strategic intelligence arm, DAS, the software giant Microsoft is accused of colluding with the US intelligence services to spy on foreign businesses, amid suspicions that the company planted "back door' spy holes its MS-DOS operating system and Windows software. According to Le Figaro, the spying devices would enable the NSA to penetrate a company's networks and read top-secret documents. Microsoft said it had never, in France or any other country, installed a system allowing the NSA or other US government agencies to decode encrypted data coming from a computer equipped with Windows."
This drew the comment: "Well, Microsoft probably could say they never installed a system that allowed the NSA to decode data coming from a computer equipped with Windows. It's a bit like a telephone company- in the UK the Home Office would place a wire tap and not the telephone company - hence the telephone company could quite legitimately say it does not tap anyone's phones".
This is a very important aspect - indeed I recall getting something from one of the readers to this newsletter a couple of years ago who reported that there had been a lively thread on certain mailing lists and discussion groups on this very matter even then. I will try to get an update from this individual on the matter.
Until asked to the contrary, we'll keep this newsletter in (boring) plain text rather than fancy HTML - that way there will be no problems in deciphering it for anyone. As mentioned last time, my involvement will be limited to putting section heads in capitals.
Still nothing from the other two banks yet on credit cards etc.
LATEST NEWS FROM ANGUILLA....
The various Ministers are now busy at their respective workplaces and have already come good on at least one of their election pledges. There's a section of the island (Tanglewood/Farrington for those in the know) which has become something of a traffic black spot. It's a crossroads where traffic on the major road often exceeds the 30 m.p.h. speed limit. Vehicles coming from one of the side roads are almost "blind" because of the proximity to the road (we're talking inches here) of the "John-John" building (used to be Dr. Sutton's practice) which has been something of a ruin since Hurricane Luis in '95. Well it seems the politicos contacted the off-island owners and, as a result, it has already been demolished. So that's one less item on the "to-do" list, and many lives/injuries will be saved into the bargain.
As mentioned before, Tuesday sees the arrival of Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh or, to you, HRH Prince Andrew (Albert Christian Edward). He'll meet with representatives of the tourism and financial services industries as well as the students who have successfully pioneered the glass recycling project. He'll be accompanied by his minders, staff and a few journalists and other media types (mostly from the U.K.). There will be a reception for him at Government House on Tuesday evening which will be attended by a large cross-section of the populace who have been given the customary protocol advice; it is also noted that when asked by HRH what it is that one does, it is appropriate to stick to the truth and not to introduce oneself for laughs as a "professional terrorist" or "adult entertainment web-site operator". The Tourism Association will be hosting a lunch for him (all you need to attend is to be a paid-up member of the Association) at Cuisinart on Wednesday after which he's off to check out the new police station and then walk the short distance to Companies Registry to examine the ACORN system (perhaps, as His Family have now volunteered to pay tax in the U.K., he may make a mental note of how this can be used) and meet some of the members of the Financial Services Association. Meantime it is probably coincidental that there has been a lot of pothole-filling on the roads in Anguilla this week. Not all the roads (yet) mind you; but a high percentage of the ones along which the motorcades will be passing. He leaves these shores on Thursday to visit Cayman.
Anguilla's been visited by the Royal Navy ship RFA Black Rover from Friday to Sunday of this week. There have been courtesy visits, receptions and training courses involved.
CLIPPINGS FROM MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS
The following material is courtesy of various publications (which also holds the Copyright) please contact them for subscriptions:
AEGON CAUTIONS IN INTERNET HYPE
("The Financial Times" )
Aegon, the Dutch insurance group, Thursday took a swipe at the high valuations attached to dotcom companies when its chairman warned investors off putting their money into internet stocks.
Kees Storm, chairman, speaking at a news conference to announce a 26 per cent gain in full-year net earnings, added his voice to a growing lobby counselling caution over dotcom investments.
Citing World Online, the Dutch-based internet provider set for a public listing next week, he said: "I accept it is a fact of life that its share price gets more attention than ours, but Aegon's is the share investors can trust. We keep our promises and we generate an awful lot of profits." Returning to the subject in a later interview, he added: "It is fascinating that people are prepared to pay the prices that are being talked about [for World Online shares]. We will see whether it is hype or not but profitability is the only reliable driver of a share price."
World Online has been valued at between E9.87bn and E12.12bn ($9.54bn-$11.72bn) ahead of its flotation, but investor enthusiasm for the stock suggests its opening price might be double the price of E35-E43 per share. By comparison Aegon's shares have under-performed the blue chip Amsterdam index by one-third in the past three months. Its shares closed down 0.15 per cent at E67.15 Thursday. It is to conduct a two-for-one share split in May to attract a broader range of investors. Mr Storm acknowledged the importance of the internet and said Aegon anticipated generating 5 per cent of earnings from that source within three years. "It is a sparkling new medium to communicate with investors, clients and user groups."
The company has 20 internet-related schemes under development, including a link up with a customer loyalty card operated by a Dutch supermarket chain. [snipped]
UK TAX RULES PROMPT THREAT OF IT WORKER EXODUS
The United Kingdom Treasury is under pressure to reconsider new tax rules governing contract IT consultants following reports that 40,000 of them are ready to leave the UK. The new rules require the consultants to pay full national insurance premiums, which they claim is effectively a tax funding state benefits.
A survey of consultants by Computing Magazine estimated the number willing to leave at 40,000, which comprises 18% of Britain's independent IT freelancers. The Treasury said it is not convinced the "threatened exodus" will take place. It also stated the tax rules ended the practice of employees leaving a company on Friday and returning the following Monday as "independent consultants" to do the same job but with new tax breaks.
ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING INITIATIVES MAY BE EXTENDED
The 26-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is examining whether it should go further than its previous proposals to "name and shame" countries it deems uncooperative in the fight against money laundering. FATF may put more pressure on such countries to increase due diligence and reporting of dubious financial transactions. Patrick Moulette, executive secretary of the task force, said that as a last resort the body might stop financial transactions in problem countries from going ahead.
Peter Crook, director general of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, said few jurisdictions were so bad as to merit the FATF's ultimate sanction. The FATF expects to draw up a list of uncooperative jurisdictions by June, and it will soon decide whether to make public the criteria it is using to make its choices.
US LOOSENS ENCRYPTION EXPORT RULES
The United States government has published new rules for exporting encryption technology, marking a major departure from past regulation. All specific technological limits have been lifted and replaced with rules governing what types of customers and countries can receive the technology.
The new rules make it much easier to sell computer security systems overseas, in many cases without a license. Reporting requirements for some transactions, however, still require the US government to be notified. Some restrictions on the sale and publishing of source code, the text of the programs that make up software products, remain in place, particularly when it comes to countries the US has declared to be terrorist states. The US also requires notification when any source code is published. However, the US has abandoned plans for an encryption key repository. Such a repository, previously demanded by US Defence Department officials, would have given the US back-door access to most computer security systems.
It was strongly opposed by the computer industry and civil liberties groups.
.... staying with the matter of encryption/security....
This is from "Interface", the Internet supplement to The (London) Times
Secrecy is key issue
The British Government is accused of ignoring Europe's pro-privacy stance and emulating American attempts to give police access to decryption keys. The European parliament has thrown out an amendment to a draft resolution that included e-mail tapping powers, a move in stark contrast to the (British) Home Office's Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) bill. It would give authorities powers to demand decryption keys and require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to give police interception facilities.
SCAMS SECTION. THIS WEEK World Currency Cartel Your Money Is At Risk!
If you encounter the following offer online, stay as far away from them as you can - you'll never see your money again. As they change their names and locations quite frequently, look for "common traits". If in doubt, forward us a couple of messages and we'll look into it using our contacts etc.
(This information found on the OPC website - further details available on request).
The World Currency Cartel scam is promoted by spam and first appeared in late 1997. It has made a resurgence over the past few months. It all starts with you receiving an email full of hype describing a secret way to make money. Something like this: "We are glad to announce that for the first time and for a very short period of time, WORLD CURRENCY CARTEL will instruct a LIMITED number of people worldwide on 'HOW TO CONVERT $25 INTO ONE HUNDRED OF LEGAL CURRENCY'.
We will transact the first conversion for you, after that you can easily and quickly do this on your own hundreds or even thousands of times every month." Note - they say one hundred of legal currency.
They don't say that it's US dollars! Next, the spam promises: "While currency does fluctuate daily, we can show you 'HOW TO CONVERT $99 INTO $580 AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT'.
That means, you will be able to EXCHANGE $99, AMERICAN LEGAL CURRENCY DOLLARS, FOR $580 OF THE SAME. You can do this as many times as you wish, every day, every week, every month. All very LEGAL and effortlessly!"
So, what do you get when you send $25 (or, in some versions, $30 or even $35) to the PO box listed in the spam?
You might not get anything - several people have reported sending money off to them and never hearing from them again. If you're lucky, when you send them your money, you get back one hundred units of currency from some far-away land where they still sell leaded gasoline and the water may or may not be drinkable - perhaps from a third-world country like Guinea Bissau or Eritrea.
You might get a hundred Burundian Francs, which have a total value of about twenty-five cents. All LEGAL CURRENCY! And how do you turn $99 into $580 as many times as you want?
You might have already figured out how they expect you to do this: by replicating the scam! It works like this: You rent a PO box. You spam the ad. When suckers mail you their $35.00, you go to the bank and buy, say, $100 in Guinea-Bissau Pesos, which will cost you somewhat less than the price of a Snickers bar. You mail the suckers $100 Guinea-Bissau Pesos each, along with a copy of the instructions you received. You emit a fiendish cackle and go spend the $35.00 on a Playstation game.
So, like the plain, boring version of the envelope-stuffing scheme, it's victim-spread. And what about the "secret flaw" that the original spam repeatedly mentions? Although it's heavily implied, nowhere does the spammer explicitly state that this is a "secret flaw" in the currency exchange process. The secret flaw to which the spammer refers is probably that flaw in human nature which ensures that scams like this will continue to proliferate throughout all eternity: That flaw is called "being a sucker."
As mentioned before, the web page of C.E.G. has been redesigned and rebuilt. Check it out at http://www.ceg.ai