By: Valerian Texeira.
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
IT To Root-Out CORRUPTION
(Last Revision on 1st June 2011. First Published in February 2008.)
Abstract: - This Paper basically contends that; ‘almost all economic crimes popularly known as corruption, occurs primarily because of the economic system that makes the surreptitious/illicit money transaction possible. THE CASH MONEY PLAYS THE KEY FACILITATOR ROLE, as it enables the unscrupulous people to make the illicit money transactions and to keep it hiding without leaving any such essential money trail track record evidences necessary to prosecute it under the law therefore escape from its public, legal scrutiny. It is also called as “Willful Hiding” or concealment of money. Thankfully the good news is that the Information Technology (IT) today with its innovative “Digital or Electronic (E)Money Transaction” such as Credit Card, Debit Card including its most recent Near Field Communication (NFC) digital money transactions, if made mandatory in combination with ‘Biometric Identity’ (BID)in all bank accounts, can enable the Governments to root-out almost all economic crimes, which include violent crimes. Only if there is a political will to get it done’.
By: Valerian Texeira.
By: Valerian Texeira.
Thanks to the Information Technology (IT) era that our world galloping in today. With its wide-spreading broadband Internet connections, ushering in a new economic age of E-commerce, E-business, cyber trade. Most important in it is its innovative digital or the e-money (CC, DC, NFC etc) transaction technology, IN WHICH THE MONEY PAYMENT/RECEIPT IN-BETWEEN ANY TWO PARTIES NECESSARILY CONDUCTED THROUGH A “THIRD PARTY”, A BANK OR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION THAT PROVIDES THIS MOST IMPORTANT “FINANCIAL SERVICE” AND IN THE PROCESS ALL ITS MONEY TRANSACTION “INFORMATION” GETS INSTANTLY RECORDED in the digital data storage of this registered public financial institution (Bank). Under which it is impossible for anyone to cheat, deny or hide the true accounts of their money and all its transaction track records. Thereby when ordered for its legal enquiry, public investigation of the economic crimes, all the money transaction records can be made available before the judicial authorities to prosecute and punish the guilty based on the concrete evidence records absolutely behind any doubts.
Traditional Reason For Hiding CASH Money -- Its Main Drawback:
Traditionally the genuine reason for people to keep their money hidden and not to display its true amounts to the public is to PROTECT it from getting stolen, burgled or looted. Most importantly the fear of getting robbed, or lost while carrying it around for the transaction. Nevertheless, from ages the cash money remained indispensable or quintessential for the economy to conduct the value (commodity) exchange or the trade most efficiently. However today this newly emerging innovative digital or E-Money Transaction (EMT) system can fulfill all the needs of the traditional CASH money transaction far more efficiently. Together with, it would entirely remove all such potential threats or the genuine fears of robbery, looting, theft, by this revolutionary digital money transfer system.
By the way, the main drawback of the traditional cash money transaction is that it is impossible practically to keep and maintain the records, accounts of ALL cash money transactions occurring in every place and at every time 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year for all its legal, public scrutiny. Its paper work and storage cost alone would be so enormous let alone its labor cost of keeping the accounts and other maintenance factors. It is only the IT today with its DIGITAL record keeping system, practically enables the society to accomplish it, thereby It will make it almost impossible to anyone to engage in illicit money transaction and falsify or destroy this digital money trail track records evidences any more. This document marks the beginning of this anti-corruption mission.
Money Basically A Public TRUST:
Money is basically a public TRUST. It puts a social responsibility and the legal obligation on all those who owns it over and above a given (taxable) limit that they should maintain and submit its truthful accounts before the designated public authorities, pay its due taxes, keep it open for its legal scrutiny and not to use it for any unlawful, illegal purposes. However in the conventional cash money delivery between any two parties got no such effective mechanism to monitor all the money transaction trail track records and to know all its present locations all the times to prevent it from getting misused or falsified. Thus it becomes possible for the criminals to totally hide or falsify its true account and submit fraud accounting before the legal authorities in breach of its public trust, and engage in all kinds of its “misuse”, clandestine business deals, criminal activities.
Cash Money Hiding Ability Breeds Corruption:
Of course, most of the cash money transaction, business in our world conducted lawfully. However a significant portion of this cash money amounting to enormous sums kept secretly, hidden, safely away from the legal scrutiny called “black money”. The number one among is the most common ubiquitous economic crime, tax evasion or the tax fraud. Along with its cheating and depriving the enormous amount of public revenue it also puts the rest of the people around into a very disadvantageous position thus pressurizes, encourages or tempts them also to commit the tax evasion economic crime in order to keep up with the economic standard parity competition. Same is true with other economic crimes and the most common among is the BRIBERY.
There are number of other notorious economic crimes like smuggling of precious metals, artifacts, illegal/narcotic drugs, money-laundering, also violent economic crimes like Robbery, kidnapping for ransom, money extortion, contact killings, mafia etc, I will come to list some more of them in the latter sections. All of it mainly due to the cash money (currency) basically having this “concealable” property that gives its possessor the ability to willfully hide it from its legal scrutiny thus amass huge amounts of illicit or black money and wealth. It begins to spoils the entire economic system, start to breed corruption. Corruption breeds more corruption, crime begets crimes including violence.
Digital Cyber Technology Great Promise To Root-Out Corruption:
As the world today speeding fast into the digital money cyber economic era of E-business, Credit Cards, Debit Cards and the most recent Near Field Communication (NFC) money mobiles are getting enormously popular among the growing middle class. Meanwhile however, the cyber economic crime are also on the rapid increase. The most common are the Credit Card fraud or its identity thefts, e-money skimming, e-money pick-pocketing etc. Besides which, the big criminals are able to transfer huge amount of their ill-gotten money by this digital or E-Money transaction from one bank to another banks through their fake or bogus bank accounts that includes the money laundering, all of which giving the world governments a huge nightmares . Fortunately however, the same cyber technology that gives the worlds Governments the nightmare of growing economic crimes at the same time also offer a great cyber digital or the Information Technology (IT) anti-corruption solution to prevent almost all of the economic crimes.
The emerging cyber or digital money transaction technology if combined with another digital information technology known as Biometric Identity (BID) if implemented in the financial, especially in the banking system can effectively deter and get rid of almost all economic crimes and its related violent crimes in the society today. In fact establishment of a digital money based financial network system having the biometric identity social security feature not only plausible but INEVITABLE IN THE FUTURE! In this regard, most importantly the ubiquitous cell phones going to play a major role in making all money payments in the future. As the experts predict “Cashless Future” with the emergence of the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip equipped mobile phones. They are entering the world market in a big way and the digital money can render the CASH money totally redundant in the coming future.
These NFC digital money wallet cell phones combined with the Bio-ID can be the most safe way to carry money compared with the cash money. Along with preventing the e-money pick-pocketing, theft and fraud, it will crucially protect people owning this devises from dangerously becoming the targets or victims of all sorts of violent economic crimes like mugging, looting, burglary, robbery assaults, even from getting murdered in order Rob their money as it happens to people who carry or keep the traditional CASH money. In this connection I have explained more in my another article titled “NFC Money Wallets Mobiles Replacing CASH Eradicate Crimes.” in my blog post http://bit.ly/kOqbmv which I feel most important for the readers to know further on this subject matter.
Overall the Digital Money combined with the Bio-ID technology can bring in the basic TRANSPARENCY in all money transactions in the society. By the way it should have a SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN, most of the world Governments already have it), to make it work more quickly and efficiently I will be explain about the SSN in the latter sections. But first, the two most important IT Anti-Corruption monetary solutions or tech measures to root out corruption in the following:
Two Main IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measures
1).Introduce Mandatory Biometric Identity (MBID) in All Bank Accounts
The first and foremost important IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measure that I call upon the Government to implement is to introduce a compulsory or Mandatory Bio-metric Identity (MBID) in all bank accounts. The MBID should necessarily contains the finger, palm print, face, iris recognition, (DNA if possible)based Social Security number code apart from the persons photo, name address and signature. It should be also extended into the registration of ownership of all valuables, properties, assets, wealth records or documents.
The principle purpose of having a MBID for securing or obtaining the bank accounts is first of all to prevent the fake, fictitious or bogus identity fraud in it. Secondly with the MBID one can immediately identify and find out every bank, financial accounts of a (any) person accused of committing an economic crime (be it a tax evasion, bribery, embezzlement and the whole range of other crime including terrorist financing). Searching it out with a pin-point (BID) accuracy among all those bank accounts, properties billions or trillions of records. It will be impossible to anyone to fake their Biometric Identity. So the MBID based Social Security Number SSN Code in all bank accounts is the most reliable and important perquisite to root-out corruption. Notwithstanding
2).Bring-in Mandatory Digital or the Electronic Money Transaction (MEMT) Replacing The Cash Currency
Make it mandatory or obligatory on all people to conduct their every money receipt/payment ABOVE A GIVEN AMOUNT in the digital or e-money transaction through their bank to the others bank account by replacing the traditional cash paper currency. Most importantly in case if (in some rare cases) they make the cash currency deposits or withdrawals ABOVE THE GIVEN AMOUNT then it should undergo inquiry about its detailed accounts and bills. Notwithstanding, the payments for buying security things, services, materials pertaining to important safety matters like cell phones, credit cards, bookings, rentals, travels, weapons, explosives etc, should be ONLY conducted through the e-money even if its amount remains below the given mandatory money transaction sum. By the way, in this Mandatory Digital or Electronic Money Transaction(MDMT or E MEMT) setup, the money payment in the form of bank paper cheques (provided it having the BID SSN code) to others accounts by all means remains perfectly legitimate.
To make the MEMT more effective as an extension, the Governments needs to phase-out or gradually withdraw the higher denomination currencies from the public circulation. The higher denominations currencies have been conveniently used or grossly misused or end up in committing most and major economic crimes. Taking it out from the public circulation would also greatly promote the MEMT due to its various contributing factors including the enquiry placed on the cash currency deposit and withdrawals and the MEMT in buying and selling of things of security matters (cell-phone etc). Most importantly however the banks may continue to have those higher denomination currencies even of very high values; a hundred thousand, million even a billion (Dollar, Euro etc) denomination currency bills. However they should be restricted mainly to exchange only between the banks, financial or the monetary institutions.
Bio-ID Based SSN Under Universal Central Social Security Office:
The MEMT economic system most importantly requires all people in a nation should be registered and given (from the moment they are born until their death) a single universal Social SECURITY Number (SSN) or Social Surety Number (it is already there in many countries and I leave most of it for the professional experts to formulate) based on each individuals Biometric Identity (BID) mainly to verify, secure or ensuring all their bank accounts, voters id, passports, property documents etc. Of course, a person may have a number of bank accounts in one or several banks in the nation (or many nations) but they all should basically identified with their single undeniable BID SSN along with their name address and signature assigned by the Central USSN Office.
Other than registration and maintaining the records it should periodically (monthly, yearly) check and crosscheck all the BID’s of every bank accounts of the nation registered and updated (birth, death) in its central BID data storage server to absolutely make sure under the professional supervision that there is not any kind of BID frauds (like same Bid having different persons name photo and address) in the banks or the other property sector. (In my previous papers in this section on the second point I further argued that the USSN Office should be given the powers of looking into the peoples income tax matters which now I completely withdraw from this revised edition, because it will be giving too much powers and responsibilities to the USSN office, which can be misused. (Power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely).
This BID/SSN security of the all bank accounts also needs to be applied to all fields of valuable commodity transaction, exchange or the handover including exchange of gifts, donations, aids(commodities above a given value) property ownership transfer etc. No barter trade of property, precious metals, valuable artifacts should be allowed. All valuable items a person, business, organizations, institutions owning registered under the SSN, issued by the central USSN office.
Such a mandatory digital or e-money transaction combined with the biometric identity social security Numbers assigned economic system can truthfully keep the accounts of almost every money transactions which would make all individuals and the businesses financial accounts completely open or transparent before the legal or the public scrutiny. It would basically dissuade or deter people from engaging in any form of economic crimes because that essentially leaves the electronic money trail track records evidence as clear as the day light that could be impossible for anyone to get-rid-off.
Some Main Economic Crimes MEMT Could Prevent:
Tax fraud and the bribery are the two major economic crimes that this MEMT can undoubtedly prevent. Apart from it, grafts, kick backs robbery/looting/theft/ ransom kidnapping will become a thing of the fast in a fully pledged MEMT system. Smuggling, human trafficking, narcotic or illegal drugs, weapons trade, mafia, money laundering, ‘Terrorist Finance’ etc., every one of those accounts will be absolutely exposed in the BID based MEMT economic system as explained before.
Credit card fraud/fake/theft, or the fear of getting it lost and its misuse mostly will mostly disappear. Counterfeit currency would be a thing of the fast. With the BID/MEMT financial network system it will be highly difficult for the fraudsters to buy things online with complete anonymity or to commit any of the credit card crimes and to get away with it. After all in such e-money network system all proceeding digital money transactions can be immediately traced back to its preceding accounts and all the other accounts which it transacted with revealing its all round true connections.
Corporate business scams, misappropriation, misuse of public project funds, siphoning money from the public distribution, aid, relief system, developmental project money embezzlement, poverty scheme money swindling, lobbying, buying of the bureaucracy, police, judiciary, politician for money, none can escape from this constantly vigilant digital money surveillance or scanning MEMT technology economic system. On the other hand it could also effectively prevent those malicious, false accusations, allegations crimes and will immediately exonerate the innocent.
It is not possible for me to list in this paper all those crimes that the MEMT can prevent however I should mention a fundamental point in this regard. Most of the VIOLENT CRIMES, attacks, assaults, including the murders that we see in our world today is committed mainly to ROB MONEY or to PREVENT the money robbery crime or to REVENGE the money robbery crime! It primarily happens because when the money robbed from a person by the other person, it does not leave any of its concrete money trail track records to link or connect it to both the persons accounts. This ideally provides all the ENTICEMENT or INDUCEMENT to commit all money ROBBERY or the illicit money transaction crimes. It also further extends to property crimes, sex crimes, environmental degradation crimes, mainly committed to make or get the illicit money. Many of the public demonstrations violent protest retaliations most of the times, directed against social injustices having its roots in the economic crimes, corruption.
Overall, CASH MONEY IS THE KEY FACILITATOR OF ALL ECONOMIC CRIMES, because it enables people to keep the money hiding stashed in secret places and to FALSIFY its accounts. Replacing the CASH with the mandatory digital money transaction economic system can prevent most of those crimes. Besides all of which, as a bonus the MEMT can also provide the government with an entirely new kind of financial control device to check INFLATION, stock market crash etc. Not to mention, many (if not most) times the main cause of all those ECONOMIC CRISIS’S lies in the corrupt or unscrupulous business, trading practices economic crimes. However one should not misunderstand me as claiming that the MEMT can prevent all crimes, it won’t, for example ‘Drunk Driving’ to mention one.
Anti-Terrorism: MBID/MEMT To Track Down Terrorist:
Besides combating the economic crimes, a fully pledged MBID/MEMT can also work as powerful Anti-terrorism machinery, which can tremendously help the government law enforcement or security agencies to track down the criminals specially the terrorist. When a terrorism investigation ordered, this digital MEMT system can concretely trace back every day PHYSICAL movement, travels, food, rents, phone call, location of the suspect based on his/her every day buying and the money payment for things, services, material that he /she had made, which includes any such things that the suspects left behind the crime scene. This MBID/MENT network leaves behind an unmistakable physical evidence electronic trail on whatever things it touches, which is impossible to get rid off.
By the way, the MBID/MEMT system works quite differently or more effectively in combating terrorism than in combating corruption. In the former the entire money transaction (or the absence of it) in the suspect bank account can show the concrete evidence physical location to prove or disprove the involvement in the given crime but in the latter it is only the illicit money transaction that can prove or disprove the illicit money transaction corruption.
Poverty Eradication Achievable Within Few Years:
Poverty eradication would become a definitely possible and achievable goal under this MBID/MEMT system within a few years. First of all as I mentioned it before, the prime purpose of the USSN is along with eradication of corruption to completely eradicate poverty, specifically to provide the basic social security, employment, the minimum income guaranty, basic food, shelter, education health for all people. Just imagine the amount of money when almost all tax revenues gets collected by the prevention of most of the tax evasion or black money alone! It could provide more than enough money for poverty eradication programs besides the USSN system with it biometric ID, mostly prevent the middlemen siphoning from the poverty eradication programs. Moreover when the basic ground of all those economic crimes gets removed, most of the money that used to drain into that corruption channel, now redirected into the legal economy and into the social welfare programs, economic developmental programs.
Legitimate Businesses Nothing To Fear:
People who conduct honest, responsible business practices have nothing to fear from this BID based MEMT economic system. In fact, it can very much fulfill the vision of the UN Human Rights Principles particularly the UN Global Compact tenth Principle, which specifically sates: “ Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery”. Responsible businesses would rather greatly benefit from it, because it would create a very conducive atmosphere to practice a corruption free, progressive economy in the absent of the corrupt, criminal enterprise (tax fraud, bribe, extortion, etc.) as the latter are the worst enemies of the honest businesses and the economic developments. Most important of all is that there will be no restrictions or limits imposed on people in their legitimate money earnings; profit making or owning money or property of any huge amounts. One can be a billionaire or a trillioniar, provided all their businesses money transaction remain “TRANSPARENT” open to the public, legal scrutiny and they pay all their taxes duly. In fact the Government should encourage businesses, small and big, by providing them with more opportunities, removing many of those trade barriers, hurdles and most importantly by lowering the taxes.
Only Unscrupulous People Will Get Terrified:
It is only the unscrupulous people who engage in the economic crimes, corruptions, illicit business, will get terrified of the MBID/MEMT because it will leave behind the concrete money trail track records of the digital money as clear as the day light so they can no longer cover-up hide or falsify its records to conceal their crimes. Anyone doing it will be caught with its clear evident made available by the MBID/MEMT and get duly prosecuted and sent to prison.
Both Are Complimentary For Each Others Success:
Of course this MBID/MEMT economic system perhaps may face some difficulties in its infant or initial stages. It also depends upon place-to-place from countries to countries. It will depend on their social economic and the political system and its development. Of course it is far easier to implement in the developed countries as its basic infrastructure already there in place so ultimately the developing countries obliged to follow it. In fact it is far simpler to implement compared to those tens of thousands of those cumbersome anti-corruption laws! The fundamental difference between the two is that the MBID/MEMT is a single anti-corruption IT digital Monetary solution while the latter are hundreds of years old antiquated cumbersome laws, which mainly aims at punishing those who are found guilty by the courts if there is concrete evidence information records made available. But we know most of the corruption does not leave behind any such essential information record evidences necessary to prosecute it under the law so most corruptions go scot free. On the other hand the MBID/MENT mainly works to make all economic crimes to leave all its essential evidences necessary to prosecute it under the law. Surprisingly therefore they both seems to work complimentary to each other’s success while the one provides the essential evidence of corruption and the other intends severely punish corruption under the law.
It Needs “Political Will” To Get It Done:
It would not intrude in the peoples private or personal life as such compared with the other electronic devices that are being used in social security for ex; the CC camera's , infrared security body check even the phone taping. It would be more like making people to have a genuine (Bio-ID) numbers in their cell-phones. In fact there are already laws in place that obliges citizens to submit all their property, money transactions, true accounts before the public or the legal authorities and not to engage in the economic crimes. TRANSPARENCY in every money transaction deals is its basic purpose. Today there exist this innovative Bio-ID combined with the digital or e-money transaction technology to make it happen. It is now for the concerned people in the society to see to it that this innovative IT developed and used to its fullest potentials that includes its deployment in the prevention of economic crimes, what is really needed is the political will to get it done.
Future of Potential Growth:
Along with the Government its concerned legislatures, departments, the private sector mainly the financial institutions, banks, credit card and specially the NFC promoting companies along with the E-commerce/businesses combined with the Biometric Identity technology sector have to take the pivotal role in the construction of the building blocks of this MBID/MEMT system. They will have the enormous potential for growth and a great social responsibility as well to encourage people to participate more and more into this economic system of the future.
A SOCIALIST Revolution Without the Abolition of PRIVATE PROPERTY:
Abolition or banning the cash (paper) currency replacing it with the bi-ID digital or e-money transaction can root out all the economic crimes including the violence would bring in a more “just” economic system. A new kind of Democratic Republic Socialist Revolution without the abolition of 'private ownership of means of production' or the "Private Property". A blend of benevolent capitalist/socialism.
(Last revised on 1st June 2011.)
Special Reading on E-Money
‘The Potential for a Cashless Future’. BBC Click On Line .
Anti-Corruption UN Agencies
Anti-Corruption. Tenth Principle-10 http://www.unglobalcompact.org/AboutTheGC/TheTenPrinciples/principle10.html
UN Office on Drug and Crime: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/index.html
© Copyright 2008 –2011. First published on the month of February 2008. In <i-opininon-about.blogspot.com> All rights of this publication reserved by the author. This document material information can be freely used for anti-corruption educational , social awareness and other such purposes by mentioning its authors name, except for the commercial use one must obtain permission from the author. Valerian Texeira. St. Joseph Nagar, Jeppu Mangalore –575002 INDIA.