How much am I bid for your bank details?

The news that the UK has followed Germany's lead in paying an informant with access to Liechtenstein's biggest bank for account data is frightening.

This sets a horrifying precedent in condoning/rewarding a breach of confidentiality and sale of financial data. Imagine if the position were reversed and an overseas state gained access to the UK banking system or to Government records. There would be outrage and claims that the perpetrator should have been handed over to the authorities by the foreign Government.

Whilst commercial espionage undoubtedly occurs, for this to be publicly claimed as a triumph by HM Revenues & Customs is dangerous. Furthermore, one wonders whether defendents in any resultant tax evasion cases might well contest the charge on the basis of how the information was obtained ie illegally.

posted by John Wilson @ 2:36 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 4:54 PM, Blogger Hawkeye said...

This might of course help to explain why the government is so eager to legalise all sorts of previously illegal methods of evidence gathering, such as torture and illegal wiretaps to name but a few. Their defence would of course be their standard one, "But we are the good guys, we would never do anything bad with the information we gather!" I'm afraid I am in the large majority that no longer believes them.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger technokitten said...

yes, I thought long and hard about this story and although I cannot condone tax evasion, I also cannot condone the government using illegal methods to extract information. It makes a mockery of any privacy laws and a mockery of the justice system as a whole. If those making the laws feel it's ok to break the law under certain circumstances, does that make it right for the rest of us to do so?


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