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WANT INFO? FEDS HAPPY TO SHARE
The government should examine its own privacy practices before pointing a finger at the commercial sector, a report published Monday said.
"The Federal government is the largest collector and user of citizens' personal and private information," said Jim Harper, operator of Privacilla.org. "It's hard enough to control your personal information in the commercial world -- it's impossible to protect it in the governmental world."
While legislators debate information-privacy guidelines on Capitol Hill, few have criticized information sharing by government, Harper said.
A survey by Privacilla found that new government information-sharing programs were announced 47 times within the last 18 months, or a little more than once every two weeks.More on this story here.
PM: BARBADOS NOT EASING UP ON OECD
THERE will be no easing off by Barbados in its quest for justice from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Prime Minister Owen Arthur has given this assurance once certain outstanding concerns cannot be dealt with by way of consultation.
The Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Finance, made the comments in an update on the pace of negotiations involving the OECD.
That Paris-based organisation has blacklisted several offshore jurisdictions over what it said are harmful taxation practices by these countries. Arthur has been piloting a campaign to get the OECD to amend its stand on the issue.
Leading off debate on the Estimates of Expenditure in the House of Assembly yesterday, the Prime Minister said there are international conventions which speak to economic sanctions and Barbados was "prepared to take the matter to the international courts of justice."
"My hope is that this matter can be resolved, as it affects the viability of Barbados’ second largest sector, the International Business sector," he said.
Arthur said all Barbados and other countries have been asking for is to have the same systems obtain for all countries in relation to cross-border activity.
"There must be a process of review and compliance to ensure all of us can monitor each other. Any programme must be under the auspices of a global forum," he said.
"What we are saying is while we agree on co-operation across boundaries, we have to sit down with you and decide how far you can go," Prime Minister Arthur stated, adding that there must be transparency in the process.
Arthur also noted that the cross-border exchange of information should be limited, as countries should not be allowed to go on "fishing expeditions."More on this story here.
RED-HOT KIWI CYBER LAW DEBATE
New Zealand might be in breach of its bill of rights if it decides to pass into law legislation that allows security services to intercept electronic communication, a representative for the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties said today.
The proposed law "is ill-conceived and Draconian in regard to its interference with rights," Michael Bott told parliamentarians undertaking a review of the proposed laws.
Bott was one of many lining up to critique a proposed amendment to New Zealand's Crimes Act, which on one hand wants to outlaw computer hacking, and on the other exempts law enforcement and security agencies.
Minister of Communications Paul Swain argues that these exemptions are necessary to catch criminals who are using new technology. But many witnesses at Friday's committee hearing protested at the proposed exemptions.
Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane supports the proposed tightening of laws to prevent cyber crime but is nonetheless concerned at the prospect of security services gaining access to computers remotely and too easily.
"It seems to me that law enforcement officials secretly snooping on peoples' computers, in circumstances where it will be a crime for others to do so, paints a highly distasteful picture," Slane told the parliamentary committee. "Any covert policy hacking should only be allowed in the most extraordinary circumstances and certainly not as a routine matter authorized by a simple search warrant."
"I think we are taking a very big step into secret policing rather than open policing," he said.More on this story here.
AMERICAN TAX PROTESTERS PLAN WASHINGTON MARCH ON APRIL 9TH
US citizens who believe that the Federal Government has no legal basis on which it can assess Americans to income tax are planning an IRS “Walk-Around” for 9th April. The “We The People Foundation” (see http://www.givemeliberty.org) wants 1,040 people (the code number of the US income tax return) to encircle the IRS headquarters building in Washington.
Close examination of the facts does seem to show that US federal income tax collection has a decidedly shaky legal basis, but the US anti-tax brigade is a motley assortment of people, with genuine libertarians at one end of the spectrum and free-riding tax evaders at the other. So far the movement has been little more than an irritant to the Government, especially at a time when the IRS is short of resources and there is a massive budget surplus. But it can't continue: sooner or later the Government will have to respond, and when it does, the response will be to put in place the legislative certainty which currently seems to be lacking.
What is interesting, though, is how such a legislative endeavour would play in a divided Congress with a Republican President hell-bent on a tax-cutting agenda. Administration planners can't relish having to cope with a situation in which a bill is put forward tacitly admitting that all Federal tax collection since 1913 is possibly illegal.
This is all probably just a good game; but it could get serious!More on this story here.
More Shenanigans in the Bahamas
Bahamas officials have shut down a second bank, a Lloyds TSB subsidiary, based on unproved accusations against the bank in a US Senate Democrat staff report alleging money laundering.More on this story here.
CAYMANS BANKING SECRECY CRUMBLES
GEORGE TOWN, C.I. The Grand Court freezes US$33 million in accounts held by Peru's ex-presidential aide, Montesinos, and other Peruvians.More on this story here.
Last week we reported the Ansbacher Cayman bank was seeking to turn over names of its Irish depositors to Irish tax investigators. Now this sellout of clients is being opposed by a local Caymans' attorney with Irish connections.More on this story here.
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES M.L. WORRIES
ST. MAARTEN, N.I. The governor is concerned about gambling casinos being used as covers for money laundering. All bets are off?More on this story here.
VANUATU MONEY LAUNDERING CONCERN
VILA. Fears about Vanuatu's anti-money laundering resolve are being expressed as a top official watchdog's contract is not renewed.More on this story here and here.
JERSEY REJECTS CORRUPT CASH
ST. HELIER, Jersey. The Financial Services Commission investigates all financial institutions and their dealings with high profile customers.More on this story here.
TALK ABOUT “OFFSHORE” ACCOUNTS!
The paper trail of MILOSEVIC’s billions now stretches to Beijing, Moscow, Johannesburg, London, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Lebanon and Chile.More on this story here.
SWISS OFFICIALS E.U. TALKS
ZURICH. Swiss and EU officials plan to continue talks on new bilateral treaties as early as next month. Referendum be damned!More on this story here.
The beauty of Swiss direct democracy; the government tried its best to hoodwink the people on joining the EU, but they failed.More on this story here.
THE WISDOM OF RON PAUL
The Texas US congressman and former Libertarian presidential candidate says tax cuts are fine, but the ultimate goals should be "the elimination of the federal income tax" and ending the “uncontrolled bureaucracy” that is the IRS.More on this story here.
And here is Rep. Paul’s estimate of a false globalism built on the shifting sands of fiat money.More on this story here.
BELGIAN PUSHES E.U. SUPERSTATE
BRUSSELS. Belgium takes over the EU presidency in July, ready to push a 'superstate' agenda, including some sort of EU wide tax.More on this story here.
HEDGE FUND HEADQUARTERS
The top three domiciles for hedge funds in 2000 were The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, with Bermuda in 4th place. That's the same as in 1999.More on this story here.
WHY IRISH WEALTH GOES OFFSHORE
DUBLIN. Local scandals have tarnished Irish opinion of "offshore" finance, but it's legal and it offers global scope and profits.More on this story here.
BALTIC TAX BREAK
VILNIUS, Lithuanian. The government is determined to eliminate the 24% tax on corporate profits as of from Jan 1, 2002. IBCs welcome!More on this story here.
GRAVE ITALIAN BANKER CRISIS
MILAN. The late Mediobanco head, Enrico Cuccia, Italy's most powerful post-war banker, is missing, the victim of body snatchers.More on this story here.
OFFSHORE BANK RESTRICTIONS PROPOSED
WASHINGTON. Following trumped up US Senate hearings, new restrictions on US dealings with offshore banks are proposed.More on this story here and here.
TAX FREE CAMPIONE LIVES ON!
On Jan. 16, based on a Wall Street Journal report, we said the Italian enclave of Campione, surrounded by Switzerland, was about to lose its privileged no-tax status. We now find that's true only for local residents who work for the casino. Foreign expat residents remain virtually tax free.More on this story here.
GRENADA BANK CLEANUP
ST. GEORGE'S. The government shuts down 17 offshore banks in what it says is a clean up of the international financial services sector.More on this story here.
BAHAMAS P.M. CLAIMS CREDIT
NASSAU. Having seriously damaged the islands' offshore financial sector with his surrender to the OECD and FATF, Prime Minster Ingraham says all is OK.More on this story here.
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES M.L. WORRIES
ST. MAARTEN, N.I. The governor is concerned about gambling casinos being used as covers for money laundering.More on this story here.
MANX LEGAL CONFUSION
DOUGLAS, Isle of Man. After agreeing with the OECD to follow its dictates on taxes, now Manx legislators wonder why they did it.More on this story here.
SEALAND MAY HOST NAPSTER CLONE
The North Sea ex-oil rig may serve as an offshore music marketer.More on this story here.
SWISS BANK SECRECY DEFENDED
GENEVA. The head of the Swiss Private Bankers Association vigorously defends his nation's traditional bank secrecy.More on this story here.
Switzerland and HONG KONG join forces to combat financial crime.More on this story here.
I.R.S. CAUSING U.S. RECESSION?
WASHINGTON. Charge: IRS regulations "have caused a massive withdrawal of foreign investment into the US, further depressing stock markets."More on this story here.
OFFSHORE PRIVATE BANKING....isn't just for the very rich anymore. Find out why, here.
AMERICAN CIVIL FORFEITURE LAWS
Why “The 2000 Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act” really does not reform the much abused practice of US police forfeiture. Worth reading.More on this story here.
E.U. FINANCIAL SERVICES
Within 5 years all financial services in the EU may be unified.More on this story here.
SWEDEN's government taxes and spends over 60% of its gross national product. Now visiting expats may get a small tax break.More on this story here.
How and why thousand of FRENCH persons are fleeing offshore to avoid crushing taxes.More on this story here.
PERMANENTLY OFFSHORE PT’s
Two new ocean going projects are afloat, both designed with very independent Perpetual Travelers in mind. Check out The Freedom Ship here and The World of ResidenSea at here.
OFFSHORE RETIREMENT, RELOCATION
....in Mexico, at half the US price, or less. Other places too.More on this story here.
The facts about easy relocation to any offshore nation.More on this story here.
A unique one stop service offering all the personal assistance required when moving to London or the UK.More on this story here.
A Paris based service specializing in relocating to any nation in the world.More on this story here.
The UK Foreign Office website provides country specific profiles and travel alert updates. Everything you need to know about any nation.More on this story here.
US State Dept. services for Americans living abroad here.
IS OFFSHORE FINANCIAL SECRECY DEAD?
A candid assessment of the future of offshore financial privacy.More on this story here.
AMERICA’S RICHEST I.D. FRAUD VICTIMS
NEW YORK. How a Brooklyn busboy used the Internet to steal identities of the richest people in America.More on this story here and here.
THE CYBER TERRORISM EXCUSE
The government uses the terrorism threat to curb privacy and liberty.More on this story here.
“Electronic Pearl Harbor? More Hype Than Threat.”More on this story here.
PGP FLAW FOUND, DISPUTED
The most popular software for sending encrypted e-mail, PGP, may have a flaw.More on this story here and here.
Online Flaw report: here.
Free PGP version: here.
Network Associates' PGP unit: here.
Phil Zimmermann invented PGP encryption software and defeated government efforts to suppress it and imprison him. Now he's working a new privacy program that will shield voice communications.More on this story here.
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