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Australian Watchdog Frets Over BitCoin, MMOs' Money Laundering Potential 134

Posted by timothy
from the brought-to-you-by-silk-road dept.
angry tapir writes "Australia's anti-money laundering watchdog AUSTRAC believes that money laundering using digital currencies such as Bitcoin and virtual worlds (such as MMOs) are possible 'emerging threats'. The organisation's latest 'typologies' report earmarked virtual worlds and Bitcoin as two areas that the agency would be monitoring, although at this stage no-one seems sure to what extent they are being used (and some of the issues with Bitcoin, such as the fluctuating exchange rate and limited options for transferring value to real-world currencies through conversion to non-digital currencies or using it to pay for goods or services, mean that it's unlikely it's being used for money laundering on a significant scale)."
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Australian Watchdog Frets Over BitCoin, MMOs' Money Laundering Potential

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  • Non-traditional methods of money laundering still pale into insignificance compared to the more conventional means. Just take a look at the banks recently served subpoenas in the US. It's the same as programming, building something new with the latest technology will usually be far more effort and result in far less return than sticking with established techniques. It's just easier to look like you're "doing something about it" when you're not targetting multinational organisations which have significant
    • LEEEEROOY JEEEENKINS!!!
    • by camperslo (704715)

      Yes, it seems the closer one looks, the more there is to find with dirty deeds in the banking industry. And it's not just what has been done, but the scale of it.

      "In 2010, Wachovia, now owned by Wells Fargo, settled out of court for the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act in US history. They paid a fine of $160m for laundering a whopping $378.4bn from Mexican currency exchange houses between 2004 and 2007. Much of this cash is thought to have been drug money, moved without proper documentation from C

      • by bmo (77928)

        " They paid a fine of $160m for laundering a whopping $378.4bn from Mexican currency exchange houses between 2004 and 2007. Much of this cash is thought to have been drug money, moved without proper documentation from Casa's de Cambio in Mexico to US banks.

        And given the size of that fine, they're still doing it. Cost of doing business. No more than getting nailed by a red-light camera.

        --
        BMO

        • by infodragon (38608)

          More like getting a single parking ticket in some small city for $7 when you make over $1m/year for over 10 years and consistently park, in the same spot, in violation of the rules. The scale of the fine is but pocket change. Or in Monty style "Tis but a scratch"

      • Re:Easy target (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:04AM (#41011321) Homepage Journal

        Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has agreed to pay the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) $340 million to settle charges that the British bank concealed over $250 billion in transactions with Iranian clients and deliberately lied to New York banking regulators.
        But SCB is not an isolated case. In 2009, Lloyds Bank and Credit Suisse were fined $350 million and $536 million, respectively, for allegedly removing or altering information to conceal prohibited transactions with Iranian clients and customers from other sanctioned countries.
        In 2010, ABN Amro and Barclays were docked $500 million and $298 million, respectively, for allegedly committing similar crimes. Then, this June, ING Bank paid the largest ever fine -- $619 million -- against a bank for allegedly moving billions illegally through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Iranian and Cuban clients...

        While five banks have entered into deferred prosecution agreements with the DOJ and agreed to pay fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars, no bank official has been criminally prosecuted and punished.

        http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/16/opinion/banks-too-big-to-prosecute/index.html [cnn.com]

        • Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has agreed to pay the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) $340 million to settle charges that the British bank concealed over $250 billion in transactions with Iranian clients and deliberately lied to New York banking regulators.

          I wonder what their profit margins were on those transactions... I'm guessing it was higher than 0.136%, in fact, given that they knew what they were doing was illegal (and therefore risky) I'm guessing it was probably well over 1%. So how is a piddly $340 million fine going to deter anyone?

          • Good question;

            An equally good question, if the (incorporated) banks are being fined less than 1% of what they knowingly stole/laundered, wouldn't that mean that, under the 14th Amendment, [wikipedia.org] any individual who steals/launders money should be fined a similar amount?

            If "corporations are people, too," then doesn't it also parse that people are corporations, or at least that corporations should be held to the same legal standard as people?
        • by sjames (1099)

          Funny how nobody from those banks has gone to Gitmo like the terrorists they are

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Of course, the best way to launder money for the government, is to allow the banks to traffic dirty money, and then "fine them" thus producing "clean money".

      • Re:Easy target (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:36AM (#41011813)
        If you give a man a gun he can rob a bank, if you give a man a bank, he can rob the world.
    • by sjames (1099)

      Yes, we wouldn't want to accidentally come up with proof that a 1%er has ties to drug gangs and terrorists.

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:15AM (#41010463) Journal
    The best money laundering vehicle remains the USD denominated in good old $100 greenbacks.
    • by _merlin (160982)

      Please enlighten me on how converting to/from USD would serve as a money laundering strategy. Note that I'm not agreeing with people who fret over the "threat" of Bitcoin - I just fail to see the point of your post.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The federal reserve note is NOT legal tender and never has been a real form of money. The constitution states that gold and silver are the only legal tender. Just because Corp US says something is right doesn't mean it is.

        • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:33AM (#41010777)

          Offtopic, but see the Legal Tender cases [wikipedia.org].

        • The constitution states that gold and silver are the only legal tender.

          (citation needed)

          My copy of the Constitution doesn't seem to have that statement. Maybe I just don't have the double-secret probation edition.

          • And to forestall the incoming ignorance, yes, I know about Article I, Section 10. It prohibits the *states* from issuing legal tender that is not gold or silver. The Federal government is under no such restriction.

            • That is to say, you have a certain interpretation as to the meaning of the words, and are not completely unaware of the words.

              In the future, it might be best to just lead with your interpretation instead of snark about "double-secret probation editions" of the constitution. It would be more conducive to productive conversation that way.
              • Any alternative "interpretation" would be pretty stupid unless the person who held it also believed that the federal government was also disallowed from entering into Treaties and Alliances

                any snark is fully justified.

                • Well, yes. I think everyone must concede that the text of the section applies to the states and not the federal government. I was talking about interpretations stemming from the interplay of state and federal obligations related to money, not this passage by itself.
              • by sg_oneill (159032)

                Its not an interpretation. It literally says "States". And since the constitution is very speciic in language about states vs the fed, there isn't any scope for "alternative" interpretations.

                No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Tit

                • by trout007 (975317)

                  Here is my interpretation. First you have to realize the US was created by the states and the states wrote and passed the Constitution to try to balance powers. It also enumerated the powers of Congress. If the power isn't written there they don't have it.

                  So as you wrote the Federal Congress has the power to coin money, and regulate the value of it and foreign coins.

                  OK that is pretty simple. Congress is granted the power to coin money and regulate it's value and foreign coins. This doesn't prohibit the stat

            • by djlowe (41723) *
              Hi,

              And to forestall the incoming ignorance, yes, I know about Article I, Section 10. It prohibits the *states* from issuing legal tender that is not gold or silver. The Federal government is under no such restriction.

              Actually, it is, by virtue of the 10th Amendment, which just about everyone in the US Federal Government ignores these days.

              The reasoning, which you will no doubt find specious, is as follows: The 10th Amendment explicitly states that if a right isn't *granted* to the US Federal government by

          • A believe he's referring to Article 1, Section 10:

            "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

            • by egamma (572162)

              A believe he's referring to Article 1, Section 10:

              "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

              You bolded the wrong section. It should looks like this:

              "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal;coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

              • I wasn't making an argument one way or the other; I was clarifying what the AC was talking about. Your snark is appreciated, however.
        • by shentino (1139071)

          Reread the constitution, and double check to see if that's referring to the federal government or the states.

      • by pla (258480)
        Please enlighten me on how converting to/from USD would serve as a money laundering strategy.

        Because cash has no history, simple as that. You have no way of knowing if the last person to spend that $20 bill the ATM just gave you bought diapers, or heroin, or bullets for the Taliban with it.

        Now, the converting to/from part may present something of a problem in itself - But once you start dealing in bills instead of bits, the IRS/Treasury/DoJ lose any ability whatsoever to track that $100k from question
        • by oakgrove (845019)
          While, yes, Bitcoin transactions by necessity have to be verifiable to stop double spending, etc., any user can have as many pseudonymous wallets as they want so there is no way to know if any particular entity has 1 1Billion dollar wallet or 1Billion one dollar wallets. The only thing tying an individual to a particular pseudonym is the account credentials so tying money to any particular individual withing the system itself so far hasn't been possible. Of course if somebody does something stupid offline
          • by pla (258480)
            While, yes, Bitcoin transactions by necessity have to be verifiable to stop double spending, etc.,

            Don't take my comment the wrong way, I love BitCoin, and sincerely hope it succeeds to the point of driving every fiat currency on the planet into nothing more than an obscure quirk only used for paying taxes in legacy-currency-holdout nations. I won't hold my breath on that one, though. :)

            But yeah, I agree, the transaction history doesn't seriously jeopardize anonymity, which most of the haters don't see
            • by oakgrove (845019)
              I'm fairly new to the whole bitcoin concept though I do like the idea a lot. In the scenario where someone follows the transaction chain, how would you go about intimidating any particular wallet holder? It seems like in order to do that, you'd need their identities which is about as feasible as getting a tor using AC poster's identity on Slashdot from geek.net brass, e.g., pretty much impossible. If I'm off base, I'd really like to know.
            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              Don't take my comment the wrong way, I love BitCoin, and sincerely hope it succeeds to the point of driving every fiat currency on the planet into nothing more than an obscure quirk only used for paying taxes in legacy-currency-holdout nations. I won't hold my breath on that one, though. :)

              You do realize that BitCoin will become and new fiat currency right? And since it has some severe flaws in it (notably, it's ripe for deflation), you're just going to end up with a currency that speculators are going to g

              • by Jeremi (14640)

                And considering people "roll back" bitcoin transactions every time there's a hack that "devalues" the value of it versus current fiat currency (like how NYSE rolled back stock trades). All those hacks that steal bitcoins cause the price of it to crash, those transactions get rolled back because if you own a lot, suddenly they're worth less, etc.

                To my knowledge, nobody has ever "rolled back" a bitcoin transaction, because it is not possible to roll back a BitCoin transaction. Not unless you've gained control over more than half of the computers on the BitCoin p2p network, anyway.

                What you're probably thinking of is various BitCoin-related trading sites getting hacked, and rolling back the state of their databases -- which is indeed troubling, for users of those sites, but it's a problem specific to those sites and not to the BitCoin protocol itself

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:37AM (#41010861)

      The best money laundering vehicle remains the USD denominated in good old $100 greenbacks.

      Not really, no. The biggest problem with drug cartels is what to do with all those damn physical dollars. They take up a lot of space and complicate logistics considerably, even fatally. So they use bank accounts, credit cards, etc., to purchase supplies and cut checks to their employees, just like any other business. But to do that, their financial records have to look just like any other business too, or the money will be seized.

      Money laundering is not a simple process like people believe it is, especially when the sums become non-trivial. It's actually very complicated, since every financial transaction is recorded electronically. Nobody shows up with a fist full of hundred dollar bills to buy a house, or a car -- those that do immediately get added to a dozen different watchlists. You pay with a guaranteed check, a credit card, or other financial instrument. Nowhere is the old adage "When in Rome..." more true than in money laundering. Your records have to look the same as any other legitimate business. Even the smallest discrepancy, the most benign mistake in your record keeping, and a forensic accountant could flag you -- and then the government comes and throws you in a black van and you're never seen from again.

      Most drug dealers are busted on money laundering charges, not drugs. And for good reason -- it's a lot easier to hide drugs than money.

      • by swb (14022) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:17AM (#41011505)

        Isn't this the "old school" way of laundering money?

        Either through outright purchase or, more commonly, strongarm, gain control of a business that does a lot of cash transactions -- bars, restuarants (cheap ones now), vending companies, taxis, anyplace people spend cash. Also gain control or create a business that acts as a vendor to that business on a regular basis (food wholesaler or other supplier).

        The dirty money goes in as revenue to the cash-heavy business as bogus sales. Some money comes out "clean" as the business profits, but probably more of it comes out "clean" as payments to the suppliers. This allows you to offset your fake sales revenue (which is dirty cash input) with fake supplier sales so you don't have to account for, say, a million cans of coca cola or a couple of tons a beef a week.

        Anyway, I've always been told that this is why the mob has been big in vending.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:09PM (#41014031)

          So you put an extra 10 bucks of 'dirty' money into a business each month. Since all the operating costs are already paid, this money goes right to the bottom line. This extra 10 dollars a month increases the bottom line by 120/year. Now it is time to sell the business. It sells at a multiple of earnings. Let us say 5 times.

          So $10 x 12 months x 5 P/E = $600

          That 10 bucks a month has increased the sale value of the business 60 times.

          Pretty cool, eh?

          And IF the 'dirty' money is what pushes the business from loss to profit, ouch, that new owner has got some real problems. Buyer Beware.

          The numbers might be a bit off, but it illustrates the concept.

          Moral of the story is that you need a good accountant. He will find stuff like this. He knows all the tricks. He has too. He would not be a good accountant if he did not. They don't put these tricks in books or on the internet. Find a really old guy that has done audits on Governments and Megacorps. If he has a non-assuming ten year old car that goes really really fast, you have your guy.

          If you have ever seen Yodi the Beancounter do an audit on some amateur bookcooker, the most terrifying thing is how fast he finds the frauds. He will walk right up to exact one of the myriad of filing cabinets, and pull out the exact file, and poof, you're busted. It is indistinguishable from magic.

          The Government has some really scary good auditors. Some of the best.

          Guns, God and GAAP. The three pillars of civilization. Laugh if you like. But when you reach a certain point in the game, when you violate GAAP with a crooked set of books, in many people's minds, you have violated one of the 3 holy of holies. Expect wrath and retribution of biblical proportions. You have been fairly warned.

          Oh, and don't do drug deals over the phone. Ever.

          Don't do drug deals over the internet.

          You are doing something illegal and then the police do something illegal to catch you, you get all holy with the righteous indignation? What is that? That is unclear thinking. If you chose to break the law, do not whine. Be a man about it. There are no safety nets.

          When you break the law, you are a 'Bad Guy'. This means the 'Good Guys' can do 'whatever it takes' to bring you to justice. The good guys are holy, doing God's work. You are evil scum slime, with no rights at all. You deserve to be punished. Cast into a lake of fire. Zero Tolerance. The means justifies the end. This is how they think. GOT IT?

          Seems obvious, but here we are discussing it. Maybe their parents did not teach them. The police are not your friends. The government is not your friend. The Establishment and the Man are out to get you and fuck you up. The media is out to deceive you. The law is there to keep you in your place, to exploit you, to steal the fruits of your labors. It always has been, It always will be.

          None of this is on the internet because it is illegal stuff. There is no 'How to Launder Money' site. There is no 'Making a safe dope deal' site. There is no 'Dial A Doper App' with encryption and good data retention laws. The dope vendor is a felon and you cannot call the cops or take him court.

          When you break the law, you are going past the point on the map where it says "There be Dragons". There is no app. Jail sucks. You friends will rat on you faster than you can say "Mark Zuckerberg"

          Maybe dope should be legal. Maybe tax rates should be low enough that nobody needs to launder money. Or put it offshore so a greedy debt ridden governments do not seize it. Maybe if there were enough good paying jobs people would not need to do so many crimes. These are the real issues.

          So to close, there is a whole dark world of knowledge on how to survive and prosper when the system gets corrupt from top to bottom. The price of failure in this world however is Jail and Death.

          But I would rather spend my time pushing back the darkness, and focus on saving this civilization. I would rather the system worked, that is stays honest. That stupi

          • by iiiears (987462)

            ÎÏÎÎÎÏZξÎÎ ÏfÎÏÎα in the modern world of commerce this translates
            "To infinity and beyond!"

        • by zlives (2009072) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:51PM (#41014673)

          launderer legitimately own a casino.
          launderer or a hired hand shows up with a suitcase full of 100 bills.
          bet it all on black and double down until lose.
          profit

      • Just take the drug money buy WoW gold with it then sell the gold to someone else and voila you're now in the gold farming business; which is legitimate.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Check your churches first. Biggest tax evasion/money laundering loop hole in existence.

    • by swillden (191260)

      The best money laundering vehicle remains the USD denominated in good old $100 greenbacks.

      Right, because when you show up with a briefcase full of $100 bills and say you want to buy a house, no one will have any problem with it.

      Untraceable funds is exactly the problem that money laundering is intended to solve. In order to be able to spend your ill-gotten income, you need to be able to somehow make it traceable to some sort of legitimate origin. Greenbacks are no help at all. Oh, sure, you can buy groceries and beer and stuff with them easily enough, but trying to buy large-ticket items wit

      • by sjames (1099)

        Exactly, because operating a terrorist organization or selling drugs to kids is one thing, but evading the 'bank tax' is unconscionable and must be stopped at all costs!

        • by swillden (191260)

          Exactly, because operating a terrorist organization or selling drugs to kids is one thing, but evading the 'bank tax' is unconscionable and must be stopped at all costs!

          What bank tax? I don't pay any money for my use of banks. The reason for the monitoring of bank transactions is to catch people who are operating illegal businesses.

          • by sjames (1099)

            You've never heard of bank fees?

            • by swillden (191260)

              You've never heard of bank fees?

              Of course I've heard of bank fees. I very carefully avoid banks that charge them! The only bank fees I've in my life have been loan-related and wire transfer fees. I do buy checks occasionally, but I don't buy them from the bank.

              • by sjames (1099)

                If you had less money OR you needed the money you have laundered, you would face much more significant bank fees.

                • by swillden (191260)

                  If you had less money OR you needed the money you have laundered, you would face much more significant bank fees.

                  Actually, if you have lots of money it's even easier to avoid bank fees. There are lots of banks that offer not only zero fees but pretty decent interest, as long as you promise to keep at least $25K in your account at all times.

                  And for people getting their money laundered, bank fees are an irrelevancy anyway. The launderers typically take a large percentage of the money they clean.

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    Actually, if you have lots of money it's even easier to avoid bank fees. There are lots of banks that offer not only zero fees but pretty decent interest, as long as you promise to keep at least $25K in your account at all times.

                    Exactly what I said, if you had LESS money, you'd have more fees.

                    The launderers typically take a large percentage of the money they clean.

                    And when the launderer is a bank, it's called bank fees.

                    • by swillden (191260)

                      Actually, if you have lots of money it's even easier to avoid bank fees. There are lots of banks that offer not only zero fees but pretty decent interest, as long as you promise to keep at least $25K in your account at all times.

                      Exactly what I said, if you had LESS money, you'd have more fees.

                      Ah, sorry, I didn't read carefully. However, I disagree. I never paid any fees when I was a starving student, or when I was working my first low-paying jobs and struggling to make ends meet. It's not hard to avoid them, you just have to pay attention. Oh, and I don't qualify for any of the high-balance account types.

                      The launderers typically take a large percentage of the money they clean.

                      And when the launderer is a bank, it's called bank fees.

                      How do you launder money through a bank? That makes no sense.

                      I realize you have some sort of deep-seated anger at banks and their fees, and you're trying to find a way to connect that out

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      Apparently you haven't kept up with the news. The latest is Standard Chartered but HSBC and several others have been involved in the laundering of Mexican cartel money and shuttling money into and out of Iran despite economic sanctions forbidding it.. Essentially they have been looking the other way when large transfers take place without the legally required documentation of where it came from and where it's going in exchange for collecting some nice fees.

                      That's how you launder through a bank. While they h

  • This is an old and dead issue since any reputable MMO will have locks in place to prevent large scale money laundering. Also i would put odds that The Treasury Department has folks "in world" just so they can monitor things.

    • by BMOC (2478408)

      from the home of a Treasury Department agent:
      "Hi Honey, how was your day?"

      "ah, Tough day, first the WOW servers crashed, then LOTRO's Draigoch bugged on us twice, then I couldn't find anyone to group with in SWTOR."

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      This is an old and dead issue since any reputable MMO will have locks in place to prevent large scale money laundering. Also i would put odds that The Treasury Department has folks "in world" just so they can monitor things.

      I can see the Fox News headlines now: "Federal Government Hires People to Play Video Games."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I can see the Fox News headlines now: "Obama Administration Hires People to Play Video Games."

        ftfy

      • by g1zmo (315166)
        Or, depending on the current White House occupant: "President Backs High-Tech Initiative To Combat Terror Network Funding"
  • They track conduits that could possibly carry large amounts of money from questionable sources, and Australian police seem like they've been particularly interested in MMOs for a while. Here's a /. article [slashdot.org] on a 2011 investigation.

    Previous weakest-links have included cell phones [slashdot.org] and gullible humans [slashdot.org].

    • They track conduits that could possibly carry large amounts of money from questionable sources

      Actually the point of AML is to track all "intermediations of value", to use the American regulators turn of phrase. The communications equivalent would be requiring everyone to present multiple forms of ID to get an internet connection, banning/requiring strict regulation of proxy providers and imprisoning people whose computers were involved in proxying (regardless of whether a crime was committed using the proxi

  • How come when the drug cartels use creating financing, governments get so upset but when banks do the same thing, they are rewarded by having their debts pay off for them?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course alternative currencies are an emerging threat. Anything which gives people more power, whether it's owning their own computers, tech advances in solar energy, having the right to vote, (let's throw in some "darker" examples), owning weapons, having access to crypto, etc, is going to be an "emerging threat" to someone.

    Fortunately, this is the good kind of threat, from the point of view of citizenry. All "money laundering" means, is that transactions are harder for central authorities to track.

  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:35AM (#41010827)

    ... grass is green, the sky is blue, and the sun will come up tomorrow.

    The entire Silk Road operation is dependent upon bitcoin being used as a method of money laundering.

    Any transaction obfuscating the exchange of value for illegal goods is ipso-facto money laundering.

    US law: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1956 [cornell.edu]

    Australian law: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/tcb/1-20/tcb004.aspx [aic.gov.au]

    And both laws encompass "known or should have known" concepts - that if it's obvious and you wilfully or negligently turned a blind eye, you're in trouble anyway.

    --
    BMO

  • Just wait until they find out MMO fortunes are built on more corpses than WWII.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Sounds like an interesting premise for a novel. Stereotypical gamer geek raids and loots another group in his MMORPG, and is surprised by the size of the haul. Then he finds out he's pissed off some very bad people in the real world...

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
        "Halting State" by Charlie Stross has a pretty similar premise. Real world cops are called in to investigate a bank robbery in an MMO.
  • by ravenscar (1662985) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:53AM (#41011133)

    Aussie watchdog starts reading Neal Stephenson novels in hopes that he'll find more things to fret about.

  • "Threat" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:29PM (#41012601) Homepage

    Yeah, it's a "threat" all right. It's a threat to their control over people. But then again, privacy and the freedom it brings is always a threat to governments, isn't it?

    • Depends on the "government", really.
    • Yeah, it's a "threat" all right. It's a threat to their control over people. But then again, privacy and the freedom it brings is always a threat to governments, isn't it?

      Too much privacy is a real threat to law enforcement and the quality of life of law abiding citizens. As much as you don't want to believe it, the govt is net good for those of us who aren't psychopaths. There is an easy demonstration of this, go visit Ivory Coast or Columbia and see how you get on with very little govt "control".

  • Take your ill-gotten monetary gains and anonymously deposit money into a bitcoin wallet
    (If you have a lot, pay a team of people to just go to Walmarts and banks and deposit money, yes anonymously, for now)
    Tumble/fog your bitcoins a bit. Never use the same address twice and make sure your wallet has the "Use TOR network" checked.
    Buy gold and silver with them (there's a website that takes bitcoins for gold/silver and they are not that much over spot. Comprable to gettting them off Ebay.)
    If you really are cha

  • Those are a threat alright, they are a threat to the government's ability to steal money, and when I say money, I mean purchasing power. These are the threat to the ability of the governments of the world to steal from you via currency printing and interest rate manipulation.

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