03 March 2010

Fronts and Face Values

How do you know when someone is who they say they are?

Who do you trust?

In light of an international passport scandal, ongoing espionage, arms deals, an assassination and now yet more evidence of the historical use of aid money for the purchase of armaments, we all have to be careful, even with those individuals who may seem to be well meaning.

Over the past week, I have been exploring the issue of front organisations. Where is the rule of law in all of this? Are law enforcement authorities sometimes involved in the opposite?

Wikipedia - Article about espionage

Wikipedia - Article about front organisations

Even media organisations and academic institutions have been known to give out people's personal details unwisely. Take, for example, the unfortunate individuals who had their passports copied and then had their names, passport numbers and dates of birth shown to the world through the media:

A recent news article from Australia - itnews.com.au

An older news article from the Guardian UK about stolen blank passports

Here is some information about security breaches in academic institutions:

An article from universitybusiness.com

Just recently I received an email from a research service I use, stating that there had been a breach of security there and that I needed to change my password. I was told that my financial details have been stored on a separate server and are not at risk.

However, I am glad that I use VISA giftcards now for most of my online transactions. These can be purchased in small denominations so that the total amount of money on the card is unlikely to cause alarm if there is a problem.

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