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Banks Accept Dubai Assassins' Stolen IDs 291

Posted by kdawson
from the beyond-naked-in-public dept.
schliz writes "Public scrutiny did more harm than good last week, after Australian police and the media released details of three stolen passports allegedly used in the assasination of a senior Hamas member in Dubai. As if having their identities stolen for an assassination wasn't enough, it turns out the victims' passports had not been cancelled by the government, so the details that were published by the media in fact could be used to open fraudulent bank accounts."
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Banks Accept Dubai Assassins' Stolen IDs

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 28, 2010 @10:36PM (#31311634)

    It seems like every government in the world has something equal to our Social Security Number being used for national identification... and no way to scrub your permanent record of what they want to record about you, or even an easy way toget your record cleaned if somebody should take your identity and uses it. Lifelock is basically selling insurance that if your ID is stolen, they'll do the legwork up to $1 Million in filing paperwork and making calls on your behalf to get things back to normal.

    Israel basically doesn't care about what they've done to these people because for them their war against Hamas justifies anything... they've been doing War on Terror since day one of their existence. The least these people should be able to expect is that their government would cancel their stolen passports... but apparently that's too much to ask.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cougar_ (92354)

      Their passports have not been stolen, they still have the originals in their possession. The passports used for the assassination were counterfeits.

      • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 28, 2010 @10:49PM (#31311728)
        That's "stolen" in the RIAA definition... illegal copying must be stopped!
        • It's ok if a government does it. Didn't you get the mem... oh, not cleared?

          Never mind I said something.

      • by deniable (76198) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @10:50PM (#31311736)
        That's why the GP said ID in the first paragraph. They were counterfeit, but used valid data, hence they're as good as stolen. Oh wait, are you using a subtle piracy isn't theft argument?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WaXHeLL (452463)

        Their passports have not been stolen, they still have the originals in their possession. The passports used for the assassination were counterfeits.

        Actually, some of the involved passports were fraudulently obtained from their respective governments.

      • by umghhh (965931)
        I just wonder about few things:
        • since when do we trust Dubai's security/police/judiciary to deliver results that actually show the reality? Strangely they were not capable of catching a known terrorist before he got victimized by somebody - so how efficient are they really and how much can we trust them
        • is there any evidence that his was done by mossad? Even if we trust Dubai police (which I personally do not but I do not have to either - not living there etc) can they with all their professionalism actuall
        • Israel labels 95% of all Lebonese as terrorists. From what I have read all the passports were stolen from people living in Israel, the Israeli government has their details (which were modified). Mossad are not interested in "finding out" who did it. Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and Ireland are all supporters of Israel, what benifit do they gain from pointing the finger at Israel?

          With the Georgian thing you had Putin strenuosly and IMHO convincingly denying the claim (maybe not in the US media), Is
          • Israel labels 95% of all Lebonese as terrorists. From what I have read all the passports were stolen from people living in Israel, the Israeli government has their details (which were modified). Mossad are not interested in "finding out" who did it. Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and Ireland are all supporters of Israel, what benifit do they gain from pointing the finger at Israel?

            From what I have read only 3 of the 11 were living in Israel. At least two were lving in their home countries at the time of the assasination (they were interviewed by the press at a location in their home country, which was listed in the article about the interview as their home). The biggest reason to think that this wasn't a Mossad assasination is the number of people in the assasination team. Eleven seems like a rather large group for an assasination of the sort that the details so far made public indic

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Now you have the reason why those countries are so upset. Use of fake passports by governments to commit crimes places holders of valid passports from those countries whose passports have been counterfeited at risk. Were the countries whose passports were counterfeited, actually participating in those crimes and, should any person carrying that countries passports now be suspect.

            Just look at the way the US treated people who held passports from suspect countries, people who were profiled based upon their

        • Strangely they were not capable of catching a known terrorist before he got victimized by somebody
          Why should the Dubai police arrest this man?
          why is this a problem if a known terrorist gets killed and it is not a problem when he can travel as he pleases (he was obviously well known in Dubai)?
          Again, why should the Dubai police arrest this man?

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      If it was my passport that was counterfeited and I happened to be visiting, say China, at the time I'd probably prefer the government not just cancel my passport out from under me.

      • But they're your government. They can send you a new one rather quickly.

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          "rather quickly" isn't going to cut it in a lot of cases.

          Now visiting China might see me playing by a different set of rules, but I have *never* "registered" with an embassy/consulate or told my government where I was when I've been traveling overseas.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Taco Cowboy (5327)

          But they're your government. They can send you a new one rather quickly.

          Wanna bet?

          Bureaucracy knows no bound, especially if your passport has been used by someone to assassinate a terrorist.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bertoelcon (1557907) *

            Bureaucracy knows no bound, especially if your passport has been used by someone to assassinate a terrorist.

            But they assassinated a "terrorist", not one of the "good guys".

            That has to mean something, right?

            Right?

            • by stdarg (456557)

              It means that Dubai is not willing to arrest known terrorists but is willing to go to great lengths to go after unknown assassins.

              Presumably when they find the real identity of these assassins, Dubai will not expect any other country to help arrest them.

      • If your government has an embassy in the country, you can simply go there and they will help you.

        If your government does not have one, what the hell are you doing there?

        And China is a bad example, I mean, don't tell me the only thing they don't counterfeit in China is passports.

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          How is china a bad example?

          I imagine the consequences of trying use an invalid Australian passport in China would be worse than doing so in New Zealand. It should all turn out fine, they contact the Australian officials who explain the situation - but things don't always work as they should.

          The problem isn't getting a new passport, that's simple. The problem is not knowing you need to and trying to use a passport that comes up on the canceled list (hopefully without any further explanation like, "used in sp

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LukeWebber (117950)

      It's actually not that hard to get a new Australian passport issued, especially if you have as good a reason as these people. It's not even slightly analogous to the American SSN.
      The big problem here is that the relevant authorities simply didn't think to cancel and re-issue before publishing the details to the world.

      • by zill (1690130)
        What's the point of getting a new passport? We're talking about identity here. These Innocent people will have their names associated with terrorism forever unless they change their names. Getting a new passport won't change that fact.

        The No Fly List does not include passport numbers or any other government issued ID number for the obvious reason that any number or ID issued by the government can be re-issued (even the SSN). For example I had my passport stolen before and it only took $100 to get it rep
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:34PM (#31311958) Journal

      It seems like every government in the world has something equal to our Social Security Number being used for national identification..

      The problem is not the issuance of a government ID, the problem is that businesses are allowed to ask for it and use it as a form of ID.

      I don't recall telling banks in the UK any government-issued ID numbers, but I haven't opened a bank account there recently.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by shabble (90296)

        I don't recall telling banks in the UK any government-issued ID numbers, but I haven't opened a bank account there recently.

        Money laundering requirements in the UK generally take the form of 2 or more pieces of documentation that prove both who you are, and where you live. (Drivers licence or passport for who you are, tax notices, benefits letters, utility bills for address.) Used in conjunction with data held by Experian/Equifax (which includes electoral information as backup for where you live.)

        The closest you'll get to explicitly handing over a government issued ID number to a bank is if you open an ISA (Individual Savings Ac

    • "War of Terror"

      Fixed that for you.

      Both sides justify their dirty tactics by the existence of the other.
    • Israel basically doesn't care about what they've done to these people

      That hasn't been proven and the last known whereabouts of two of them were boarding a ship for IRAN [richardsilverstein.com].

      Why would Israeli agents be doing that? You know very little about middle eastern politics if you think only the Israelis want people dead.

    • This is _NOT_ a problem with social security numbers (or national identification numbers). What this is about is the lack of strict regulation on their use and proper oversight.

      If you can open a bank account just by having the information that is on a passport the there's a failure in procedure here, not an intrinsic security risk with national identification numbers. That is to say; any procedure that uses information found on a passport to authenticate that you are who you claim to be are relying on secur

    • "It seems like every government in the world has something equal to our Social Security Number being used for national identification.

      In Australia the Tax File Number (TFN) is similar to the US SSN. However your TFN is used for tax purposes only, not as a catch all national ID. In no way is it connected to passports, drivers licenses, medicare card, ect. In fact it's illeagal to ask [ato.gov.au] for it except for very specific uses.
    • Israel basically doesn't care about what they've done to these people because for them their war against Hamas justifies anything...

      Ahh... without a single shred of evidence, you would still judge and convict Israel.

      Lefties and their selective morality...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2010 @10:44PM (#31311694)

    That makes me think that Hamas and Isreal deserve each other.

    • Yeah... it seems life was better here when we let those in arguments that will never be settled fight among themselves instead of letting them fight us in their home land.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:51PM (#31312050)

      Well, .... aw heck, I got karma to burn. I'm pretty sure not too many would care about their struggle, just wake us when one of you remains and have at it. What bothers most of the world is just that they can't keep to themselves and pull us into their struggle. It's a bit like two kids fighting in the sand pit under your window. Would you care if they didn't scream louder than you can turn your TV set?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by alchemy101 (961551)
      The heartless person in me has always thought that the rest of the world should just step aside and let themselves wipe each other out from the face of the Earth and let it be an important lesson to the rest of us.
    • by ja (14684)
      What exactly did the Palestinians do to deserve being deported by Jewish terrorists?
    • by blind biker (1066130) on Monday March 01, 2010 @02:46AM (#31312934) Journal

      OK, let's see: the Dubai police has, so far, incriminated 26 suspects which have fled the country, two of them to Iran. The only individuals actually captured by the Dubai police are 3 Palestinians. (That would make the number of operatives equal to 29). Additionally, the police actually found succinylcholine (a muscle relaxant) in Mabhouh's blood (so he wouldn't fight back when, allegedly, smothered with a pillow). Some of the passports used by the alleged operatives belong to Israeli citizens (7 of them, IIRC).

      You don't see any problem with these?

      First of all, 29 operatives - that's a recipe for disaster; the more people involved, the higher the likelihood for an error. Mossad has used two to four people in the past, even for much higher profile targets (we know this from the few botched missions). As for how much does adding people to the operation increase the likelihood for error, it's given by the formula 1 - (1 - q)^n, where q is the likelihood that one agent will screw up, and n is the number of participating agents.
      Secondly, no Israeli agent would flee to Iran - because it's a paranoidly tightly controlled police state.
      Thirdly, Mossad would never use identities stolen from Israeli citizens, as that would endanger the lives of said citizens (and protecting lives of Israeli citizens is one of Mossad's raison d'etre), AND it would point a giant flashing sign at Israel. Mossad doesn't need to use Israeli citizen's identities.
      Fourthly, Mossad does not leave traces behind them. Their targets have historically been either shot or their death defied forensics.
      Fifthly, the only captured people are Palestinians. This would point at the involvement of Fatah rather than Israel.

      The whole operation, while successful, seems mired in sloppiness (having such a large group of people involved, all of them identified - WTF? And leaving evidence at the scene etc. etc.), which should be enough to discredit the claim that Mossad was in involved.

      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Monday March 01, 2010 @03:47AM (#31313234)

        ... Mossad has used two to four people in the past, even for much higher profile targets (we know this from the few botched missions) ... which should be enough to discredit the claim that Mossad was in involved ....

        You've confused propaganda about Mossad activities spread by Israel and US-dwelling Israeli citizens (many of them in positions of great power in US media and entertainment industries) which was until not so long ago the "dominant" view in the absence of the Internet and ubiquitous digital cameras, with reality.

        The truth is that Mossad (and most other intelligence agencies) was always this sloppy, but they operated in a very forgiving environment, where all the successes could be safely exaggerated and all the screw-ups completely swept under the carpet.

        The Dubai situation is simply what happens when the terrain on which Mossad had chosen to operate differs significantly from a typical impoverished, inept, technologically in the dark-ages back-water where they usually do their dirty deeds.

        And it is a sign of things to come. Mossad is being put on notice: your usual shit will not fly anymore and no amount of selective propaganda will compensate for the realities of the digital age and Orwellian police-state mass digital surveillance that is becoming the norm in the Gulf states.

        • by jabuzz (182671)

          Still does not explain two of the alleged operatives fleeing to Iran. If that is accurate it would make Mossad involvement seem very unlikely, especially given that Hamas have plenty of other enemies.

        • I think I listed plenty of reasons, and each argument by itself is enough to discredit the claims by the Dubai police. (e.g. Forged Israeli national's passports? Please.).

          All you have as a retort is a handwaving argument about secret services being all sloppy. Well, I know the CIA has been sloppy, there is proof of it (like the double-agent in Afghanistan that blew up 7 american FBI and CIA agents), and there have been unsuccessful Mossad operations, but there is no proof of sloppy Mossad executions. Your h

      • by u38cg (607297)
        You are assuming independence. Given they probably all receive similar training and have similar cultural backgrounds, I would reckon Qn has a positive covariance and hence the chances of a fuckup are even worse :p
      • by Xest (935314)

        I think it probably was Mossad, but the whole situation is a little odd.

        Fleeing to Iran is weird certainly, the inclusion of Palestinians is odd. I don't see the use of Israeli citizen's passports as odd though, as the passports used were of people with dual citizenship and as such probably aren't seen by Mossad as "true citizens" such that they were probably treated as fair game, the fact they had British passports etc. was a bonus.

        There were other odd things though- as was said, they didn't bother to do a

  • Obscure the details. (Score:4, Informative)

    by deniable (76198) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @10:45PM (#31311700)
    I thought that the details had been obscured by the government when it made the release. It appears that the ABC and Seven blurred the important numbers. Others broadcast the details without editing. I thought we had enough of these on Media Watch last year to teach them a lesson.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jamesswift (1184223)

      Blurring often isn't enough to remove the information.

      http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/how_to_recover.html [schneier.com]

    • I thought that the details had been obscured by the government when it made the release. It appears that the ABC and Seven blurred the important numbers. Others broadcast the details without editing. I thought we had enough of these on Media Watch last year to teach them a lesson.

      That's not particularly foolproof - after all if the stations have to blur out the numbers that means that the materials that were released to the stations (and thus presumably to the public at large) weren't blurred out. So, it helps reduce but in no way eliminates the further spread of the info, but the real source of the problem is whoever gave the stations the information in first place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by deniable (76198)
        That was my point. I only saw them on the ABC and the details were redacted. I wrongly assumed this was done at the source. Instead it was left to the media to protect these peoples' privacy.
  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff&gmail,com> on Sunday February 28, 2010 @11:03PM (#31311784) Homepage Journal
    Recent IT events have suggested that the Australian government is below par as far as their critical thinking skills go, so this is a surprise?
    • Recent IT events have suggested that the Australian government is below par as far as their critical thinking skills go, so this is a surprise?

      Not very far below par.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Their NSA skills are loved by the USA.
      That part works.
      Their domestic 'tap' all and sort at a federal packet level works.
      A small population with a few pipes in and out.
      Below that is Unix trained, MS using junk on a low budget trying to make a faith based web reality.
      Passports should pass a points system, with face to face security :)
  • Slowly we lose sight of how a nationally recognized ID was not always required to do mundane things like opening a checking account.
    Australia (like many other Western nations) is slowly becoming a police state. That somebody's identity card was used to assassinate someone in the middle east is not the problem here.

    • I'm Australian, and don't have a passport. I've also had a number of bank accounts in my life. To open an account, you need proof of identity. There's a whole list of things that can satisfy this - driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc. There's hardly a unified ID system.

      Besides, you think fraud is bad now, try it when there's no way to uniquely identify people.
      • by Barny (103770)

        Funnily enough, you only need that ID when initially opening your business with a bank, if you continue to patronise their business you will likely need nothing more than your keycard and a bit of easily obtainable information to open accounts, loans, etc.

        In fact, I organised, established and paid off a personal loan with the National Australia Bank without even owning a piece of primary ID (photographic) "just sign here and here...", that deficit in my own recognition paperwork has since been rectified of

  • opening an account doesn't really get me anywhere. now if i can borrow a little money...
  • Enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveime (1253762) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:59AM (#31312326)

    Getting tired of kdawsons scaremongering bullshit.

    Can we have it corrected please, the headline reads like it has already happened ?

    "Banks Could Conceivably Accept Dubai Assassins' Stolen IDs"

    (And then only if they'd been living under a rock).

    • by JimBobJoe (2758)

      Technically they did open two accounts but I believe what you said still stands.

      Opening a bank account isn't exactly a path towards identity theft. Money laundering, perhaps, but large transfers in and out of the account will raise flags and investigations will ensue.

      Besides, I hear hotels in Europe often photocopy the identity pages of passports. Does this mean that hotel clerks all over Europe could run to Australia and open up bank accounts in other people's names, and if that's true, what are they going

    • by Swampash (1131503)
      Three days ago journalists from an Aussie IT magazine opened bank accounts using passport details published by the news media. http://itnews.com.au/News/168273,banks-accept-dubai-assassins-stolen-ids.aspx [itnews.com.au]
  • by tsotha (720379)
    Oh, sure, these criminals may think they're getting away with something, but in Australia the penalty for such things is the boot [wtso.net].
  • ... to check on the status of things [hasthelarg...rldyet.com]

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