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[liberationtech] A technologically progressive approach for oppressive regimes to operate.

Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org
Wed Oct 31 16:05:52 PDT 2012


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I attended a talk recently in London titled "(Mobile) Money Makes the World Go Around". [1] 

It was attended by people involved in mobile money (M-Pesa, mobile operators, finance companies, and billing backend people). The conversation was about how wonderful M-Pesa and such services (they are, in certain ways), and the different business factors that are at play in the mobile money industry.

I asked a question about privacy and anonymity in the use of mobile money services. I was a little shocked (I expected the answer, but not so bluntly) when a representative from M-Pesa said "You can forget it frankly. If you are making an electronic payment, somebody somewhere wants to know you are not money laundering. Arguably we don't have any privacy anyway." [2]

And then I thought: what a wonderful way to keep control of a group of people - state run mobile operator who implements a compulsory mobile money service for the population. You have an electronic device in everyones pocket, which can be located to (depending on cell density) down to 50m approx, with an MSISDN (telephone number) tied to bank account details.

To the "outside world" you look forward thinking, progressive and technological progressive. 

Is it necessary to go to that length? Too much money? Is the front needed?

Bernard

[1] http://mobileheroes.net/
[2] http://soundcloud.com/heroes-of-mobile/mobile-money-makes-the-world

- --------------------------------------
Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb

IO91XM / www.ei8fdb.org

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