Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact
Almost four years after Aardvark first warned people
about the shonky SkyBiz pyramid scheme, local victims of this scam
will be able to try and claw back at least a little of their losses.
According to the Commerce Commission, over 5,000 Kiwis don't read Aardvark --
and hence were sucked in by this scheme with a total of some
13,000 "web packs" being sold here.
There's more on this story over on the NZ
And while on the subject of fraud and such, the Herald
that our government is about to toss nearly $15 million of taxpayers' money at
developing their own system for online transactions.
Is this a case of reinventing the wheel?
Do the government remember INCIS and the raft of other government-initiated
IT systems that started out with grand goals?
Let's hope that a goodly percentage of that sum is invested in good project
management (this time).
Mind you, if Philip Greig is any example, the IQ of your average identity
fraudster is probably little more than their hat-size.
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Greig was sentenced to 20 months prison last week after he used stolen
credit card details to buy a total of about $7,300 worth of computer gear from
Compulink's online store.
Then, to prove his lack of smarts, he stuck the stolen gear up on TradeMe,
where it was spotted by Compulink staff who called the police.
But this, along with the now endless waves of phishing scams, highlight the
need for a globally effective identity/authentication system for use in
important online transactions.
Maybe if the government can come up with a ground-breaking system that
solves the problems intrinsic to existing technologies, we could end
up leading the world.
Sorry -- I was just off in a little fantasy world there for a minute -- a world
where the government acts responsibly with taxpayers' money.
You see I've already come up with such a system and done some preliminary coding
work. What's more, I actually offered it to government several years ago. (I even mentioned this in
the April 27, 2001 edition of Aardvark).
No, I wasn't demanding a king's ransom -- or any financial compensation actually.
I simply asked them if they were interested.
I was told that the government *was* interested and someone would "get back to
me" -- but since then...
Not a murmur, not a squeak, not a word.
And now they embark on spending $15m to attack exactly the same problem.
Maybe I'm just too much of a hot potato for the government to even consider
talking to these days. If that's the case I have only three words to say:
nose, face, spite.
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