ML Hidden | Secret Int. Services

Money Laundering Weaknesses

This article was published prior to news that the Government was planning to 'shake up' the ease with which potential money launderers could infiltrate the current system.  Although maybe somewhat prophetic, and pleased that action has finally been taken, the writer will review the actual changes as they come into effect to consider their likely impact.

This particular section focusses on some clearly identifiable flaws or weaknesses in the current system which allows potential money launderers, terrorist networks and criminals to operate relatively easily.  Is intended solely for the benefit of those with a desire to see these processes tightened.  Whether or not these weaknesses and recommendations for improvement are taken on board or not, is entirely at the discretion of the justice system. 

 

Organisations such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, part of GCHQ) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) as well as several other divisions within Law Enforcement and Government, work tirelessly together to combine intelligence and information to tackle all areas of the Money Laundering network.  It is safe to say however, that certain areas attract more funding and resources.  As with any governmental, or 'quasi-governmental' body there is an element of bureaucracy that unfortunately their targets do not have to contend with themselves, despite being 'organised'. 

 

The upshot is that cogs will inevitably move slower sometimes due to their structure and the democratic need for increased accountability and transparency.  Therefore some issues will tend to slip through the net.  Clearly, these agencies are aware of some of the weaknesses as they are public knowledge.  It is not rocket science.  However, in practise if some of these simple issues are addressed by the agencies mentioned above, the results could be exponential and worthwhile, given some modest tweaks.  Not all the weaknesses are highlighted here for obvious reasons, and listing them would simply be counter-productive.  That said, the battle against the launderers or any entity that manipulates our financial or legal systems to finance illegal or terrorist activities which may eventually harm the security of the UK, should always be highlighted and remedies made where possible.  Even if this process starts with increased vigilance in some of the areas described here.  Certainly with exponential technological growth in mind, AI system will inevitably increase the speed of targeted data gathering.

Other sections of this site will provide a wider insight into the sheers scale of the problem and what many of our organisations are here to stamp out.

They say that if a snake comes into your kitchen you don't feed it, you chop its head off.  Somewhat simplistic and pandering to the Hollywood treadmill maybe?  To some extent yes, but the argument holds true.  For many years it has been considered vital to cut off financial fluidity to those individuals and organisations that feed the terrorists threats.  The subject of terrorist financing is huge and one which has been tackled by many of the finest academics, specialists and investigative organisations in the world.  It is the sheer size and weight of the topic that is the very problem itself because the time and resources required to monitor and assess the activities of terrorist financiers means that ultimately something has to give.  Refinement and efficient targeting is therefore of paramount importance and that, inevitably, means that some activities will slip through the net.  It is simply impossible to cover all areas of the network, especially when our enemies continue to develop branches of that network that are nothing more than 'noise' and fabricated to create a diversion of our time and resources.  The one saving grace is that at least in this type of battlefield the boundaries are known and we are able to focus on well known, tried and tested means of laundering funds and transferring those funds throughout the network.  For example, financial institutions are subject to increasing levels of scrutiny as part of the financial and legal framework within the UK to ensure that as many participants are aware of the significant consequences of not adhering to Anti Money Laundering procedures as possible.  In that respect we can use the public and professionals within the banking system to operate within a strict framework, and that can surely only be beneficial in assisting the fight against funding terror.  

The intricate and increasingly sophisticated means with which the criminals (not just terrorists) by pass our security measures requires constant supervision.  Here we outline some of the more recent methods and assets used to facilitate this activity and offer some suggestions as to which route the financing road might take from here on in.

The UK has the most robust Anti Money Laundering systems right?

NO. One would think so, but some significant weaknesses still exist which actually makes the UK an attractive target for channeling laundered funds and creating a 'noisy network' of elaborate distractions.  Probably at the core of the reason for this is the codependent relationship between the City and our Politicians.  If our systems are too robust we run the risk of alienating genuine foreign investment and therefore in turn we frustrate those market participants in search of growth.  The policy makers on the other hand have to cater for both groups namely the financiers and investment houses as well as the public and politicians wanting action against, what is probably the greater threat out of the two, namely terrorist money laundering.  As always they balance tentatively between the two and this, unfortunately, means loopholes will remain un-filled.  A recent example would be the laws and regulations concerning company formations in the UK and their relationship with the offshore businesses.  To understand why this is of particular relevance, it would be useful to provide some perspective as to the scale of the problem as it exists now. 

 

Please note: This information is solely for the benefit of those seeking to improve current systems and is not meant to be used to solicit, or in any way advocate its use for, or engage in, any activities which could result in 'illegal' activity as defined under current UK legislation.  This information is being publicised for these reasons and for educational purposes only. The owners and operators of this site do not gain financially or otherwise, or result in any losses as a result of honest representations (B 2 Fraud Act 2006 (c. 35) made in this site.  Nor are they untrue or misleading.  Please refer to our website terms before proceeding

CURRENT SYSTEM OF IDENTIFICATION

 

Knowing the information or knowing how to bend the rules themselves is not the crime.  It's what is then done with that information that creates the problem.  That said, as with our galaxy of stars (the celestial type), we don't need to see them to know they're there, we can look for what they've left behind as evidence of their existence and in turn establish some clue as to where they might be going.

IDENTITY DOCUMENTS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE

Obtaining a new bank account, passport, drivers license, utility bill, credit history and company, is a relatively easy proposition nowadays, although some recent cases of fraud have exposed areas of weakness in the current system.  It is public knowledge that the Government is looking at ways of tightening the rules concerning name changes and the use of online Deed Poll services to stamp out fraud.  There is a strong argument however, that despite changing the rules the players will remain active and just look for another 'game' to play.  For the secret intelligence services, leaving the snare active and guiding the rodent down a particular route, has its obvious benefits. So, here is the information. Do with it what you will.

 

DEED POLL

The first stage is they will change their name.  Let's say you are John Smith now and you want to change to Joseph Ward.  This is simple.  Go on line and buy a pre-printed deed poll certificate with a legitimate company changing your name to Joseph Ward.  Keep this on hold for the time being, because there are other changes you will need to make next in order to assist you later, notably the address.  But for the time being, you can assume that the person Joe Ward is soon to exist.

ADDRESS

This is slightly more complicated but nonetheless still relatively easy to do.

There are numerous online company's specialising in mail forwarding (an area Law and Government could also focus on tightening up) and they provide seemingly legitimate residential addresses for a monthly fee.  According to the law, these organisations simply have to carry identity checks to satisfy AML (anti money-laundering) regulations so that the addressees can receive official government documents such as passports, drivers licenses etc.

Approach "Post Company 1" and open an account under the name John Smith and provide them with your Drivers License.  You will obtain an online account which will allow the mail to be forwarded to your actual address for the time being. You can pay for all sorts of fancy additions such as SMS alerts,  have the post company scan a document and email you etc etc.  These are legitimate services often offered to individuals or families moving abroad for a prolonged period of time and require a UK postal address cheaply.

 

It is general knowledge that a typical fraudster, criminal or launderer of funds creates 'layers' during the development of their processes.  It is a classic technique designed to cause confusion.  There are those who argue that that the 'layering' approach is not actually that practical in reality because at the end of the day it only takes some relatively focussed geeks to follow a trail, and the idea of 'layers' is simply building on the notion of laziness.  In reality this should not happen.  

So, let say you (he), John Smith lives at:

 

1 Money Road,

Moneytown,

UK,

M0N 3NY

You have created a 'residential' address now at:

1 Clean Road

Cleantown,

UK,

CL3 AN

But, they have used the name Mr Joesph Ward to set up as the account name.  For really clean flow, they might consider setting up an account with companies such as Pockitt or equivalent beforehand.  In the shuffle and chaos to populate a new and growing market, some of these firms exposed weaknesses in their KYC (Know Your Client) AML rules and allowed customers to set up accounts to obtain pre-paid cards in any name of their choosing.  The apparent check and balance was to limit the account sizes to £200 cash.  This means a person can walk into a shop, pay £200 cash into the card over the counter.  You can then use the card to pay for small transactions such as the Postal delivery set up.  Repeatedly funding £200 into a card will provide sufficient funds to facilitate the process of setting up a new person and eventually, a new company.  So, we should note how easy it was and still is to get a pre-paid mastercard in a new name.  Now, legally, if one decides on a change of name and this is done after sending a simple email off to the deed poll company, and it is done so in the name of Joseph Ward, then there is no issue.  You're not fraudulently doing so.  The honest member of the public often has legitimate reasons for wanting a name change, for either religious, personal or formal reasons.  Having a pre-paid mastercard in that name is simply the next logical, legitimate step.

PS. It is also possible to consider a new mobile phone at this stage too.  Also, it is possible to use the latest services with Bitcoin which in our view serves little purpose other than being a bastardised, poor persons, bearer bond facility for the money launderer.  Trading benefits aside of course, it is clearly an area of weakness and something we believe is currently being 'looked into'.

So an account, "pending" document approval, with the post company in the name Joe Ward.  Everything has been aid for in the name Joe Ward so far with them. All they now require is ID.

DRIVERS LICENSE

At this stage, again it is public knowledge that one can apply to the DVLA for a change of name and address on a Drivers License.  To do this, all that is needed is the completion of the Deed Poll form application using the name Joe Ward and new email address.  If an address is asked for then in this example it would be Moneytown.  The applicant can then receive a sealed copy which is followed by a visit to a local GP, professional or other signatory to get the document signature witnessed.   They are witnessing a signature NOT the authenticity of the information contained within it.

Once an application of this sort is complete it would normally then be sent off to the DVLA who will respond within two weeks.  So, the post company receives the DL in the name of Joseph Ward with the address in Cleantown. In this example, if the post company do want ID verification beforehand in order to open the account, the applicant can ask the DVLA to send it to Moneytown.  Then send the ID to the post company.  Then fill in another form with the DVLA for a change of address to Cleantown.  

The applicant will now have a new license, in a new name, with a new address.  The postal company will still have details and address to Moneytown though.  This is a surmountable problem, however we do not wish to divulge too much information, other than to say it can be done legally.  

POST OFFICE VERIFICATION

This section also further highlights a weakness in the system.  Using the above example, if the applicant now goes to "Post Company 2" and opens a new account in the name of Joe Ward, they can set up the account with a post office as a collection point.  For ID the company will require a drivers license copy sent by email.    

This is a normal procedure and one which is currently used legitimately by members of the public throughout the UK.  Following on from the example above, this is particularly user friendly and easy to administer and  an online residential address would now be at:

1 Final House Rd

Completown

UK

F1N AL

BUT, the post will now be set up for forwarding to a post office so there would be limited (if any) links to the original Moneytown address of Mr John Smith.  The change of name to Mr Joe Ward of Completown is now complete and, doesn't live in Completown or Moneytown, but instead only collects mail from post office. 

UTILITY BILLS

This is a surprising area of weakness in the UK system and one which needs to be tightened up considerably.  It exposes an area that should have been addressed many many years ago and yet still remains stuck in an AML time warp.  The basis of KYC or AML is built on the provision of identity documentation being 100% accurate.  The two main sources of which are, photo ID in the form of a Drivers License, Passport or European equivalent, AND generally a Utility Bill.  So, in reality one cannot be used, or is worthless, without the other and therefore a utility bill is just as important as a passport or drivers license.  So why on earth does the current system make it so easy to obtain proof of residential address from utility company's, which in the day, were only a handful of firms?  Now, there are numerous utility providers and whereas BT was once the only fixed line telephone operator, we now have many other firms in the market who specialise in all sorts of services, the core of which would not fall under the category of a utility firm.  As an example, SKY.  The company once provided broadband and internet which, according to official sources, was not recognised as a fixed utility provider.  Now, the firm offers a fixed land line and the ability (as others) to change details online.  It really is far too easy and if any government were serious about combatting fraud, this relatively low cost loophole could easily be fixed.

So, using the above example, the person starts with SKY and British Gas bills under the name of John Smith at the original address in Moneytown.  Access their account online.  They have the choice of adding an additional service such as a fixed land line package.  Speaking to Sky online and asking them to change the account name and address to Joe Ward at Completown but send out a hard copy to Cleantown is a fairly standard, well known and active request.  It is normally relatively simple to explain why should they ask.   If there are any issues then the applicant would simply have them change it and send it to Cleantown and do the process again, or go online.  The quickest way is to ask the online help team to email a copy.  This is done quickly in normal circumstances and a copy  is received of a landline utility bill in the name of Joe Ward with the Completown address.  The same is as simple, if not simpler, with British Gas.  These company's are all too quick to use online help and outsource operations to countries such as India, but the reality is the staff are not trained to the same degree as staff within Financial Services in the UK when it comes to AML.  Again, another systemic failing which could be cleaned up very easily and cheaply.

At this point an applicant is able to print off a post office certification form and go to a local post office with the original SKY or BG bill.  One can have three certified for a fee of £7.  

At this stage the applicant now has a new address, traceable to a post office, under their new name of of Joe Ward and a drivers license and certified utility bills.  This is all fairly standard in terms of current procedures and provides sufficient documentation for a person to open a company account for example.

SUMMARY - Opinion

All of the above can easily be completed within three weeks.  So all the potential money launderer has to do is decide what entity to have the bank account named under.  If this is done twice by two separate people, then the process is insanely undetectable by then creating an LLP company registered in the UK.  An offshore bank account can easily be set up using new ID's and in the normal course of events, this is where traditional 'layering' kicks in as the firms create a network of accounts, individuals and firms spread across countries ranging from Hong Kong, Columbia and the Cayman Islands.  In theory it is easy to trace and logically one would have expected Artificial Intelligence systems to have already found their way into this process of detection.  If we assume that the money laundering professionals don't have similar access to exponential technology then the vast majority will be running the above 'layering' process as a full time job with hundreds or thousands of people working to create more and more layers of deception.  As the end is, in theory, easy to establish, then the issue for intelligence networks and criminal justice systems is TIME.  This is where AI comes in and by now we would expect that the intelligence services are well underway with exponential digital technological development to already have this within their sights.  By far the biggest barrier to identifying and controlling criminal money laundering activity (apart from greed) is time and number.  The sheer scale of these operations means the intelligence services have to rely on highly accurate zoning of resources to counter act the effects.  This is bound to lead to leaks and escapes and of course, it only takes one well constructed and highly 'padded' network, to become responsible for a huge atrocity or attack on our nation or allies.  This is not rocket science.  They refer to organised crime.  Well that's really all it takes...organisation.  A government body has its advantages certainly in terms of resources and funding.  In reality, a government body is slow, cumbersome and bureaucratic.  With transparency comes delay.  Compared to the terrorist or criminal body, it cannot react as quickly, certainly not in the current guise.  For this reason there will always be conspiracy theories and talk of people working in the 'shadows', non-accountable but effective. The reality is that this is where the 'territorial army' versions of SIS kick in and the experienced professional or agent (self-employed) is able to act alongside their official SIS counterparts but with the benefit of plausible deniability and independence.  Without these operations at our disposal, the battle would be un-winnable. Combined with the resources, financial and operationally, it is an efficient counteraction.

SISS Recruitment

2019

Politcal but more importantly, public, changes in Europe, notably Italy, Poland, Germany and others over recent years are causing increasing concern.  The rise of the far right 'neo-fascist' movements is gathering momentum and the usual diplomatic routes to entry are not having enough success.  When compared to the US, Europe in terms of size and number of (federal' like countries) is tiny.  However, the difference in political ideology goes much further than any Route 66.  Their brains tick differently and their histories are such, that even the closest of their neighbrours, struggles to learn what drives them, although clearly in the case of Poland, religion is a huge driver.  One well known far right rperesentative recently told his members that the reason Poland did not have much in the way of terrorism was because of their belief in God and more importantly, their family values.  Seemingly in a time warp, these are commonly held views and ones that will drive the current movements.  On the flip side, the country is riddled with alchoholism, drug related crime and (as with nearly all mainly Catholic countries) has a burgeoning and influential organised crime network.  Which is quite possibly more responsible for low terrorism levels than God himself?  Either way, there is a vast difference between Poland and even its more tech savvy neighbour Estonia and friends across the river in Helsinki.  Many of their neighbours are moving forward and constantly looking to reform and develop, as opposed to the Poles who remain very much a defensive nation.  One, which quite understandably, still bears the scars of both wars.  So, in these sorts of countries, especially ones with such strategic geo-political importance, intelligence gathering on the ground will prove more successful than current conventional cyber strategies.  Let's not forget also, it was not that long ago that the UK had its own issues with the trade unions and, in our case, far left movements which also required physical infiltration, a long time before cyber-surveillance.  So there are comparisons.  If the time bombs are ticking in countries like Italy, Germay and Poland, then the Intelligence Agencies will have planned and prepared for these events well before now.

Publications

Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Terrorism Index 2019: Measuring the Impact of Terrorism, Sydney, November 2019. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/reports

The latest Global Terrorism Index data shows Incidents of far-right terrorism have been increasing in the West, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania and the three largest politically motivated terrorist attacks in the West in the last 50 years have been perpetuated by far-right extremists.

Recruitment

في Focus Feb 2019 MI6 والتنوع العصبي

المجتمع ، متجهين إلى أن يكونوا صائغي وموصلين للفكر الأسي؟ إن التصريحات الجريئة في الحقيقة ، ولكن بالنسبة للمشاركين في المعرفة ، هي "صعوبة في التعلم" حقا مصطلح مناسب لوصف قسم كبير من المجتمع حيث التعلم بعيدًا عن الصعب ، ولكن في بعض الأحيان سهل أكثر من اللازم؟ أين تشير "الاحتياجات الخاصة" بشكل أكثر دقة إلى الحاجة إلى مزيد من المعلومات أو الألوان على لوحة فنية في مشهد أحادي اللون؟ قد لا يكونوا قادرين على الاندماج بشكل جيد في المجتمع ، لكنهم يستطيعون القيام بذلك ، ويساعدون في حمايته. جيمس بوند ليسوا كذلك ، ولكن إذا اضطررت للذهاب إلى كازينو حقيقي رويال ، فستأخذ Rain Man أكثر من 007 في أي يوم. قراءة المزيد.

Technology

The concept is not particularly new, but as with all concepts, it takes time for the technology to catch up.  In the 1960's the battle was on for Space.  Now, the battles are fought daily and in boardrooms and labs from East to West.  With DARPA on the one hand facilitating research into Neurprosthetics in the US, on the other the "Military-Civil" fusion in China works on Research through the China Defence Universities, a concern for most Intelligenvce Agencies, and undoubtedly doing the same.  Somewhere inbetween, the 'cash-strapped' Russians play catch-up.  Of course the UK has had its own waterered down version of DARPA through Innovate UK (sorry...but it is).  This  is set to change and has been on the cards for many years, but on this occassion it looks like Boris Johnson will be the one to unveil the new entity.  Whatever form it takes, it really needs to ensure the seals are tight on this one, as there are no room for leaks in todays Innovation Wars.The real challenge as we see it is in succesfully coordinating the vast number of current projects.  The 'visionaries' will have to harvest the key successes in a variety of fields and squeeze the very best out of each, to suit their purposes. 

For Intelligence Orgnisations such as the CIA or MI6, this will focus on linking communications technology, data in secure cloud based environments maybe using advanced blockchain tech, financial technology (to securely and 'discreetly' fund the research) and of course the science itself.  These do not even scratch the surface on what is involved.  The marketing, not forgetting that sometimes looking as though we are ahead of the game, can be just as important as actually being ahead. The thorough Legal processes involved such as patent protection (also including diversion), the Political ramifications in terms of developing succesful cross-border partnerships etc.  The list is almost endless so the task would daunting to even the most accomplished Project Manager (no wonder MI6 is expanding the sc-called 'Change Management' department.  The prize however is a huge 'leg-up' in the next war(s) where, as Mr Younger puts it, Espionage 4.0 will play a pivotal role.  How our friends the Amercians, and their sisters MI6 will meet this challenge, will be interesting indeed.

The UK Defense Secretary only just admitted, in a rather dramatic fashion, that the retreat from overseas entanglement by the US, now keeps him awake at night.  That is probably doubtful and is probably merely another political soundbite to ring loudly at the next funding drive.  It did however highlight the more serious point that the UK has been beholden to the US for far too long and especially in the air, and also in matters of intelligence.  So, as always when a poorer, less celebrity laden team comes to the pitch, the owners have to spend wisely and ensure that every pound spent is carefully considered if they (we) stand a chance.  We are in the same game now.  So, although it might be nice PR and propaganda to talk of increasing troops and increased spending on tanks and hardware etc., the real victory will depend on which technologies the UK can harness control of faster and more effectively than its foes.  To continue the sports analogy, the UK is simply not in a position to buy all the top strikers around today.  It has to look way beyond and look at toddlers with technique and take a considered gamble on what technology will prove the most valuable in the future.  One area we are particularly focused on at the moment are applications available from visual neuroprosthesis technology.  This technology is not the next step, and maybe not even going to be of any real benefit the step beyond that.  However, looking three steps ahead and this is where we are heading.  If the age old innovation/imitation battle between the Western inventors and their Chinese counterparts is anything to go by, then nothing much will change. The idea itself is no particularly recent.  In 2014 for example, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering carried our work for DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) on a project aimed at developing a wireless, implantable brain device that could help restore lost memory function in individuals who have suffered debilitating brain injuries.  So, aside from the more well known hearing aid implants, the work on other implants, to work on other functions, has been widespread in several private, government and academic science labs. What we are seeing now, is advancement in the practical application and success of neural implants which are having profoud effects on congitive functions.  Regular readers may recall our articles 18 months ago which focussed on another element i.e sub-cutaneous chip research, in which we also referenced the digitzed manipulation of the Amygdalla (the brains 'emotion' regulator) and the potential implications on patients with severe psychopathy.  It was and is representative of a pattern of growth which has developed for some time and brought us where we are now.

 

Bringing the focus back on the battle between competing countries however, for the UK, industrial espionage will continue to feature highly on its agenda both in terms of defender and aggressor.  The dilemma is, does the UK feed off the US (who seem to be distancing themselves in various ways) and leave the funding of this innovation in the hands of the US Government, or does it do it itself?  If it is the latter, then secrecy and IP protection (for what its worth) will be key factors in protecting their investment and also the security of the nation.  We certainly have the talent and know how and pedigree to compete against the likes of Huawei or, more pertinently, the companies already being groomed by the Chinese State to step in as Huawei 2.0, 3.0 and so on.  So the hope is that the current blip caused by a temporary 'off the hip' Trump administration, is very much just that, and plans will have been in place well before now to have planned for such events.  Although the politicians might have us believe there is trouble at the ranch, the financial ties and intelligence bonds go far beyond the 'hype'.  Trump and the US are unlikely to "fire" the UK just yet and for us, the canary in the mine is his hairdresser.  Whilst she has a job, we know we are safe.

So, what is a visual neuroprosthetic? The audio version is probably more well known as the Cochlear Implant i.e. a relay between the hearing aid and neural network in the Cochlear to aide hearing.  The same is the case with a visual neuroprosthetic. It is an artificial way (at the moment) of stimulating the visual pathways present in the eye and the visual sensations in the brain.  In doing so, it opens up the possibility of removing artificial devices such as lenses altogther. Rather than having a prosthetic implant to improve or restore vision, its purpose will be to enhance already perfect vision and add further information directly to the retina.  Scientists in The US and Netherlands have already experiemented with implanted chips to regulate the release of chemicals to the Amygdalla.  Sub-cutaneous chips have been available and tested now for many years in order to transmit information to externally and via cloud technology.  Combining visual neural systems with AI and IOT systems, will expedite intuitive and command driven action through prosthetics.

 

In terms of visual technology and where we stand with mainstream innovation at the moment, it is fairly well known what is on offer from Google and a growing fraternity of augmented reality/virtual reality firms and their glasses (called ‘smart glasses’).  They are cheaply priced and will probably feature well in the Christmas stockings of many teenage gamers.  The next step which firms such as Virtualenses   (the VL Project) and others are working on, are digital contact lenses.  The technological link from glasses to the third-generation wear of neurologically based enhancements.  The race is on for sure.  With digitized contact lenses, google enabled, recordable, cloud linked  and fully interactive already being tested, the race is on for the neurological link between man and machine in the form of a prosthetic.  The potential uses, even with just digital contact lenses or military grade glasses, is exceptional.  The advantage will be, as with all future moves in technological development for the intelligence community, in more accurate targeting.  Transforming 2D maps into 3D real world imagery containing millions of data points all converging and integrating in an intelligence/military ‘cloud’ to instantly disseminate visual information.  Those of you of a certain age will recall the war films where planners turned building plans into actual buildings in warehouses to train their soldiers and provide as much realism as possible.  The warehouse is gone now, and the maps are instantly relayed into screen fed information to the recipient.  When the neuroprosthetic technology comes online, it will remove the need altogether for both learning about the target as well as even having to physically be at the target.  The symbiosis between human, biological and physiological, and the cloud-based world will be seamless.  It may well represent the final steps before the AI journey reaches its singularity and when the games really begin.  But that’s another story.  For now, it is a race and a race the UK is going to have to compete in on its own.  The roots of the tree run deep and have many twists and turns.  Funding will continue to be an important element but will still only be one of the branches of the whole tree.  That has always been the case.  The fight against the money launderers will continue, or should we say, appear to continue to rage.  Overall however, the actual objective of ensuring the right funds hit the right accounts will be crucial in feeding the roots which will eventually allow the UK to blossom in full, with or without the US.

See a demonstration of how Visual Neuroprosthetics linked with IOT technology, will tranform even basic Intelligence Surveillance and Counter Surveillance operations for organisations like MI6. Click.

The Iconic Vauxhall building is often referred to as the Ziggurat. An ancient architectural design from the region of Mesopotamia by early Babylonians.  Parts of an area more recently referred to as the middle east, covering Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran.  Was the construction of the building designed in that way by Farrell in the nineties coincidentally emblematic of architerural history in that region of Babylon?  Or was there some thought given to this, knowing that references would be drawn to the Ziggurats origins of design?  Was this symbolism being used to link the mutlutude of Mesopotamian rivers, to the grand old River Thames?  Given the nature of the beast and a general feeling that events are on the whole, not coindicences, then perhaps it was the latter.  According to much more revered and esteemed experts the design has received some criticism and that its inspiration came from the Mayan or Aztec regions and may even have been inspired by buildings such as the Battersea Power Station.  But that wouldn’t be anything quite as romantic as this idea now would it?  Come on we can do better than that.  Think of the top as a shrine, not a platform for sacrifice... hmmm? We have a structure in the middle of our capital, arguably inspired by a design from the original “fertile crescent” and sitting on our very own fertile crescent, the Thames. What better nod to our apparently adversarial cultures than to plonk a clearly middle eastern, Babylonian inspired design in the heart of London.  Or is that one idealistic sentiment and overly romantic thought too far?  You decide.....

في Focus Feb 2019 MI6 والتنوع العصبي

المجتمع ، متجهين إلى أن يكونوا صائغي وموصلين للفكر الأسي؟ إن التصريحات الجريئة في الحقيقة ، ولكن بالنسبة للمشاركين في المعرفة ، هي "صعوبة في التعلم" حقا مصطلح مناسب لوصف قسم كبير من المجتمع حيث التعلم بعيدًا عن الصعب ، ولكن في بعض الأحيان سهل أكثر من اللازم؟ أين تشير "الاحتياجات الخاصة" بشكل أكثر دقة إلى الحاجة إلى مزيد من المعلومات أو الألوان على لوحة فنية في مشهد أحادي اللون؟ قد لا يكونوا قادرين على الاندماج بشكل جيد في المجتمع ، لكنهم يستطيعون القيام بذلك ، ويساعدون في حمايته. جيمس بوند ليسوا كذلك ، ولكن إذا اضطررت للذهاب إلى كازينو حقيقي رويال ، فستأخذ Rain Man أكثر من 007 في أي يوم. قراءة المزيد.

Technology

في Focus Feb 2019 MI6 والتنوع العصبي

Replace “Human Being” with “Data Packet”.  You may well have heard the oft used phrase that ‘data is now as valuable as Gold’.  The question is how and if so, where is this heading?  We will come on to that a little later, but for now it would be useful to familiarize ourselves with some other key issues in the world of human data first. 

 

We have already written about the problem, and what will likely be, the increasing problem of Bio Spoofing or Bio Leaks.  In short, this is the stealing of a person’s biological identity in order to gain illegal access to money, data, facilities etc.  The most well-known forms are recognition systems which use retinal imagery, facial or fingerprint identity, and perhaps fewer known sources such as your veins, heartbeat speeds and the DNA from your blood.  All these systems are currently either being used or are in the testing stage.  The “Spoofer” is simply a person who will try to pass themselves off as you in order to assume your identity for various reason. Bio spoofing is a term which refers to slightly more specific forms of identity theft.  In our opinion there are only a very few, select forms of identity recognitions systems which can provide high levels of security, and this will be covered another time.  Put simply however, fingerprint, retinal imagery, voice and even blood identity recognition systems are vulnerable to some degree because ultimately, they are easy to steal.  It sounds crude but chopping off a finger or forcing someone to use ‘it’ or even an eyeball is not particularly demanding.  Although maybe not as common as some sci-fi films would have us believe.  Possible, nonetheless.  Our article on “Blood Leaks” also highlights the vulnerability there. The point of mentioning this, at this stage, is to highlight how data (personal information) security is not only important, it may well define the quality of data sold on the open market at some point.  To continue the Gold analogy, or indeed any other precious metal or substance, the value can be determined by grading it, which in turn is dependent on quality.  So, as Data becomes a tradable commodity, so will the methods used for grading its quality, hence its price.  Almost everything that is tradeable, has to have a value attributed to it.  Even in the traditional sense where stocks and shares are traded on the various stock markets.  Their medium to longer term value is, in the main, determined by what they refer to as “fundamental analysis”. A process of analyzing a company by looking at its accounts, management, profit and trading forecasts and other factors.  In doing so, the company is given a fair price, often calculated on its earnings, and called a yield which in turn has a ‘multiple’, allowing a level comparison against its peers.  Pretty mundane stuff maybe, but it is how systems have worked for centuries and therefore, it is highly likely it will continue to do so in the future.  So, in the new cyber world, the tradeable commodity will be you.  Or more precisely your data.  Who knows, maybe after the trading of your data becomes regulated or legalized, we will find analysts in some form who specialize in valuing niche areas of that market.  For example, the NASDAQ is a US market trading stocks in Technology only companies.  What if we have a “UKYME” or a UK Youth Market Exchange?  Let the imagination run wild if you like, but the concept is there.  A tradeable market in data focused on ages 16-24 for example.  There might be a Car Market or even the development of another form of “off exchange” transaction like Bitcoin which will attract illegal trading of data through 100% anonymous Blockchain (they should have cracked it by then).

 

So, these are just ideas of what may or may not happen.  Some however are really almost there already.  We only have to look at what has been in the press on the last few years with controversies surrounding Cambridge Analytica, and general fears over privacy brought to our attention by Messrs. Snowden and Assange.  Looking at how things stand now however, one can already map out good quality or bad quality data based on the various commonly used sources such from the FANG consortium (Facebook Amazon Netflix Google).  OK throw in Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for a better acronym (answers on a postcard please).  By constructing a detailed map of personal data flow, it is fairly easy to attribute value to the quality of the data, or in these cases, the quality of the algorithms.  So, as well as seeing the stocks of Google and Facebook trading on the exchanges, we could easily see their data traded (spun off) separately.   When it comes to the illegal market for trading the commodity of privacy then, in the same way to how heroin might be graded, the ‘cut’ of the data will be valued too (as well as demand and supply of course).  Will we have Data Quality Certificates in the near future?  It might seem unlikely because it would depend on acceptance by the public that this is ok.  In reality that is the easy part.  One only needs to look at the re-legalization of alcohol after prohibition or marijuana in Europe and some US states.  Liberalization is such that it will sit well alongside the factual arguments for legalization and regulation.  Once people accept that having their data traded underground is bad for them and society, it will be an easy sell to have them accept regulated data selling.  It is after all already happening anyway.  It is just that the conglomerates and governments have to be discreet and more covert in doing so.  That will not continue for much longer. There is one simply reason why exchanging private data will never stay private and remain a process carried out behind closed doors…. that reason is Money!  It is generally how nearly all markets of some description, over time, have started out.  By commoditizing data, giving it a grade, and therefore a price, market forces will determine fair values.  It will create a new source of liquidity that will be of use to all…especiallythe intelligence agencies.  We all know the best lies are the ones that are nearly all based on truth….so credibility is the intelligence agencies (and therefore the criminals) best friend. 

 

We have produced a comprehensive report on the methods for valuing data for the purposes of sale titled "The Human Stock Market - everyone has their price"..  For a free copy of the report please click here.

Recruitment

There are many ways to recruit a spy.  Certainly too many to cover in an article such as this. It really depends on who the particular intelligence agency is looking for, which organization, and what its objective is.  It will come as no surprise that some methods are more or less well publicized than others.  For SIS in particular, given that the organization did not officially exist until 1994, many of the methods used for recruitment are, for obvious reasons, still closely guarded secrets.  Graduate recruitment is one thing, but developing a potential (currently operational) agent is another, especially if they are already in full time professional employment or indeed, working for another intelligence agency. 

 

The PR stance at the moment may well be to promote a progressive, modern image, and in many ways it most definitely is.  However, the traditional ‘tap on the shoulder’ approach was really symptomatic of a desire to retain control of the recruitment process.  To that end, things have not really changed.  SIS has, and always will be, more cautious about the ‘walk in’ candidate and will have entirely different, and more complex, processes in place to evaluate such a person.  Furthermore, the complex recruitment cycle is now refined to the point where SIS can recruit individuals without them even knowing.  Now that’s surely the recruiters’ holy grail.  As with all things ‘intelligence’ orientated, there is a constant focus on resources and purchasing power.  SIS needs to maximise the value of each pound spent and therefore, long and complex targeting of individuals used to gain information, has to be considered against the costs of recruiting those intelligence officers charged with interpreting that information.  So, in essence, a balancing act in the same way as any other modern-day commercial organisation.  Let’s not forget however, that despite the budget allocated by the Intelligence Committee and oversight of section 5, 6 and GCHQ, there are still relatively few intelligence officers out there. Especially in the ever-changing competitive world of private intelligence agencies and their corporate counterparts which compounds the problems caused by the brain drain and external temptations.

 

SIS Chief Alex Younger said in his speech at St Andrews that “If you think you can spot an MI6 officer, you are mistaken. It doesn’t matter where you are from. If you want to make a difference and you think you might have what it takes, then the chances are that you do have what it takes, and we hope you will step forward.”  Clearly this is a nod to the future and the recognition that with Espionage 4.0 around the corner, intelligence agencies need to invest now and allow time for the training and development of new individuals.  Individuals that could take two or more years to develop before assuming roles of increased responsibility and clout.  This is the likely reason and not, as some cynics have suggested, merely PR propaganda developed for the benefit of our adversaries to suggest that UK intelligence is growing.  The argument here being that even if the funds are not available, and even if the organisation is cutting costs, creating the illusion that the funds are there is just as effective.

 

So far the common denominator is money.  Whether it is the level of funding, or the maximisation of value for each pound spent.  Mr Younger’s comments clearly pushes ideology as a motivator and driver for potential candidates, and one can hardly blame him.  Let’s face it, it would be hard for SIS to push the financial incentive when faced with free market competition.  So, it is a given that the organisation has to, regardless of whether it is true or not, sell the notion of ‘making a difference’ as the key driver.  So, enter the ‘buddhist spy’ i.e. someone who has forsaken all desires of financial or materialistic rewards in favour of….that little bit more.  Here, the idea that freedom is power is never more true, but by god it’s a tough one to find, especially in the younger recruits.  Money can never be the sole motivator in this profession, but the complexities of life, youth, character and practical issues, means it simply is important.  One cannot really attribute this simply to youth either.  Yes, the younger recruits may well be ambitious and dazzled at the prospect of financial reward, but then again so is the 42 year old married man with three children.  So its not that.  Indeed, the tap on the shoulder system which focussed on the Oxbridge folk probably worked largely because they were the elite and on the whole from upper middle class affluent backgrounds where they always has the family vault to nudge open in times of desperation.  Ironically, this student and the buddhist spy are similar in that they are both free from financial pressures thereby making them more effective. 

 

So, they key thread to pull from the above is that there is power to be had from the freedom of external influences.  Without wanting to drift down the spiritual or philosophical road too much, a successful spy in todays world could be the one who can happily remove any influence, both positive or negative.  In the case of the honey trap, it would be rendered useless if the person did not attribute so much influence to sex.  In the case of financial reward, bribery or extortion, if one truly has zero desire for money then it is powerless.  In the case of power itself, if one is sufficiently self confident to the point where the affirmation from power is not needed, then that too is rendered useless.  So the buddhist spy almost becomes machine like.  Perhaps this is another case for the advancement of the neurodiverse, or those people less emotionally driven to some extent, in favour of the ‘safety’ of the binary world.  In essence, the buddhist spy is simply a person who cannot be bought, and therefore cannot be compromised.  Could you be that person?

 

Research

في Focus Feb 2019 MI6 والتنوع العصبي

It's funny how things work out.  If there are planners at the main foreign intelligence agencies and they do look much further ahead to where things could be heading, there has to be some acknolwedgement that the individual, as a tech powerhouse, could be a game changer.  Sir Alex Younger refers to an Industrial Revolution 4.0 and he may well be right if technological changes and exponential growth produce the seismic shift in ALL aspects of our lives that we can expect.  Banking in the traditional form is gone.  It's on an App. Fintech security is now on our apps...look at 'almost anonymous' blockchain tech.  We have an AI Robot which is officially now a citizen in Saudi Arabia and legal systems in Europe that are years behind the curve on that one.  So a democratically elected AI MP maybe on the cards?  Why not? Instead of manifestos we get sleaze, corruption, mistrust, even death...so of course it's possible.  Information gathering.  Previously the preserve of the Intelligence Agencies and Law Enforcement.  We have more processing power in our pockets now, on our phones, than Clinton had as President. 

 

What is it historically that makes a government intelligence agency?  Financial Resources, Technology, Experience/Training and Information. How many of those are now quickly replaceable?  In turn. Financial resources.  Well it depends on the job in hand, but in essence, mutual societies have existed for years so its relative and replaceable.  Technology.  Most tech is privately owned with the Govenment being the main customer.  Technology is already more wideley and easily  available.  Experience?  Well, that can be a weakness.  There is a reason why many Foreign Intelligence organisations do NOT hire ex-military.  They are too regimented and set in their ways and generally less creative or flexible.  The same can be said for an experienced IO with twenty years under their belt.  The battlefield changes.  So, there are less and less barriers to entry and if the move to individual power is more than just a blip and is a seismic shift on a par with an Industrial Revolution, then changes of some description are certainly afoot.

 

The startling rise in the size and number of Private Intelligence Agencies is surely a by-product of this shift away from centralized government control of a nation's intelligence operations. Sophisticated vigilante groups already seek out and construct complex cases against criminals on behalf of the Police...why?  Because they can.  Just three examples where the power is shifting more and more to the individual.  To the extent that ironically, the free markets that have enabled the development of such innovative radical systems and now causing shifts that socialists dreamt of for years.  Less Government power and more power to the indviduals in society.  One cannot deny it is happening and based on the current trajectory of change and assuming Sir Alex's words are accurate, I hope MI6 has plan B ready to roll out when it happens, because if they have not, then there may well be a few out there already planning for such a scenario. Maybe small groups or individual power houses on an equal footing in almost all areas to pick up the security torch when it is dropped. Not founded on any particular ideology or beleif system....just better!.We should make it clear we have no political agenda (as per our Statements of Principle), we are not religious in any way and do not support or condone any form of radicalist action, but what we are, are realists.  There are lots of IF's and we assume that an organisation such as MI6 considers all these IF's, but we also know damn well that it does not have the time or resources to cover all bases.  Maybe this tech, AI, IOT, 5G, Blockchain thingy is just a blip and it will come to nothing! Maybe it won't all have a signficant long term effect on society or affect, and possibly fuel, the increasing renewed moves back to extremist views we are witnessing in countries like Poland, Italy and Germany.  Hey, it's probably not even worth thinking about...gulp. Full article.

 

What is it historically that makes a government intelligence agency?  Financial Resources, Technology, Experience/Training and Information. How many of those are now quickly replaceable?  In turn. Financial resources.  Well it depends on the job in hand, but in essence, mutual societies have existed for years so its relative and replaceable.  Technology.  Most tech is privately owned with the Govenment being the main customer.  Technology is already more wideleyand easily  available.  Experience?  Well, that can be a weakness.  There is a reaosn why many Foreign Intelligence organisations do NOT hire ex-military.  They are too regimented and set in their ways and generally less creative or flexible.  The same can be said for an experienced IO with twenty years under their belt.  The battlefield changes.  So, there are less and less barriers to entry and if the move to indivudal power is more than just a blip and is a seismic shift on a par with an Inductrial Revoltion, then changes of some description are certainly afoot.

 

The startling rise in the size and number of Private Intelligence Agencies is surely a by-product of this shift away from centralized government control of a nation's intelligence operations. Sophisticated vigilante groups already seek out and construct complex case against criminals on behalf of the Police...why?  Because they can.  These are just three of maybe thirty examples where the power is shifting more and more to the individual.  To the extent that ironically, the free markets that have enabled the development of such innovative radical systems and now causing shifts that socialists dreamt of for years.  Less Government power and more power to the indviduals in society.  One cannot deny, it is happening and based on the current trajectory of change and assuming Sir Alex's words are accurate, I hope MI6 has plan B ready to roll out when it happens, because if they have not, then there may well be a few out there already planning for such a scenario i.e small groups or individual power houses on an equal footing in almost all areas to pick up the security torch when it is dropped. We should make it clearm we have no political agenda (as per our Statement of Principle), we are not religious in any way and do not support or condone any form of radicalist action, but what we are, are realists.  There are lots of IF's and we assume that an organisation such as MI6 conisders all these IF's, but we also know damn well that it does not have the time or resources to cover all bases.  Maybe this tech, AI, IOT, 5G, Blockchain thingy is just a blip and it will come to nothing! Maybe it won't all have a signficant long term effect on society or affect, and possibly fuel, the increasing renewed moves back to extremist views we are witnessing in countries like Poland, Italy and Germany.  Hey, it's probably not even worth thinking about...gulp. Full article.

في Focus Feb 2019 MI6 والتنوع العصبي

المجتمع ، متجهين إلى أن يكونوا صائغي وموصلين للفكر الأسي؟ إن التصريحات الجريئة في الحقيقة ، ولكن بالنسبة للمشاركين في المعرفة ، هي "صعوبة في التعلم" حقا مصطلح مناسب لوصف قسم كبير من المجتمع حيث التعلم بعيدًا عن الصعب ، ولكن في بعض الأحيان سهل أكثر من اللازم؟ أين تشير "الاحتياجات الخاصة" بشكل أكثر دقة إلى الحاجة إلى مزيد من المعلومات أو الألوان على لوحة فنية في مشهد أحادي اللون؟ قد لا يكونوا قادرين على الاندماج بشكل جيد في المجتمع ، لكنهم يستطيعون القيام بذلك ، ويساعدون في حمايته. جيمس بوند ليسوا كذلك ، ولكن إذا اضطررت للذهاب إلى كازينو حقيقي رويال ، فستأخذ Rain Man أكثر من 007 في أي يوم. قراءة المزيد.

Northern Ireland: The lull before the storm?

 

Or did the Good Friday agreement do its job and will it stand the test of time?  At the risk of alientating most of the worlds population, its seems that poverty and unemployment always seem to go hand in hand with radicalization and religion.  The two have been strong partners since the beginning of civilization.  One does not neccessarily cause the other, but the two, low incomes/unemployment and religion/radicalization give each other what the other needs.  Certainly one is very much in control and one could aruge that as a human construct, religion was always a way of controlling the masses in some way.  The question is to what end?  Signs of a resurgence of the conflict between paramilitary organisations such as the New IRA versus the PSNI have been growing steadily in recent years.  Some have said that Brexit was the cause.  We would submit that maybe Brexit is simply being used as a justification rather than a cause.  With radicalization througout the world always of concern and more so now in todays environment than ever, the claws of those with sinister intentions are digging deeper into the younger, disenfranchised and poorer members of Northern Ireland, to help further their cause.   Although the statistics do seem to substantiate these observations, it would be naive to suggest that simply pumping money into the towns and cities of NI will eradicate these powerful forces.  That is a decision best left to the politicians and academics.  In the meantime however, from the perspective of national security, did the battle ever really go away?  Resources will bound to have been reallocated to the threats posed by IS, Iran, Iraq, Africa, Syria, the list is endless.  That said, it would be remiss (and very surprising) of the Intelligence and Security services if this has been at the expense of resources spent on maintaining  an on-the-ground presence in Northern Ireland.  Especially in well established operations which have simply requested they keep the  meter running for now.  It is no secret that agencies such as MI5 have dedicated immense resources and personnel (risking their own lives) working in the region for many years and so one wonders how those people are hodling up.  To some extent having the worlds spotlight not shining so brightly on them for now must be some help, but they more than anyone,. will know the true state of play on the pooer innerc city environments.

Politics

New threats, old enemies

Disclaimer

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