IT To Root-Out CORRUPTION (Latest revision. Last update On 1st January 2009) By: Valerian Texeira Abstract: - This document basically contends that; ‘most of the economic crimes known as corruption, occurs mainly due to the surreptitious or illicit money transactions. The cash money plays the key role, as it enables the unscrupulous people to make money transactions without leaving any concrete records or proofs so it escape from its public, legal scrutiny. Thankfully now the good news is that the Information Technology (IT) today with its innovative “Electronic (E) Money Transaction” if made mandatory in combination with ‘Biometric Identity’ in all bank accounts can enable the Governments to root-out most economic crimes, as well other crimes. Only if there is a political will to get it done’. Introduction: Thanks to the era of Information Technology (IT) that our world galloping in today. With its widespread broadband Internet connections it is ushering a new economic age of E-commerce, E-business. Most important in this regard is its innovative electronic or the E-money (“credit card” its partial form) transaction technology, in which the money payment/receipt in-between any two parties necessarily conducted through a “third party”, a bank or financial institution that provides this most important “financial service” and in the process all its “INFORMATION” gets instantly recorded in the digital data storage of this registered public financial institution. Under which it is impossible for any one to cheat, deny or hide the true accounts of their money and all its transactions from the public or legal scrutiny when authorized. Traditional Reason For Hiding CASH Money -- Its Main Drawback: Traditionally the genuine reason for people to keep their money hidden and not to display its true amounts to the public is to PROTECT it from getting stolen, burgled or looted. Most importantly the fear of getting robbed, or lost while carrying it around for the transaction. Nevertheless from ages the cash money remained indispensable or quintessential for the economy to conduct the value (commodity) exchange or the trade most efficiently. However today this newly emerging innovative IT of Electronic Money Transaction (EMT) can fulfill all the needs of the traditional CASH money transaction far more efficiently. Together with, it would entirely remove all such potential threats or the genuine fears of robbery, stealing, theft, by this revolutionary technological system. By the way, the main draw back of the traditional cash money transaction is that it is impossible practically to keep and maintain the records, accounts of ALL cash money transactions for its legal, public scrutiny. Its paper and storage cost alone would be so enormous let alone its labour cost and other factors. It is only the IT today with its E-money transaction record keeping digital technology, practically enables us to accomplish it. This document marks its beginning. Money Basically A Public TRUST: Money is basically a public TRUST. It puts a social responsibility and the legal obligation on all those who owns it over and above a given limit that they should maintain and submit its truthful accounts before the designated public authorities for its due legal scrutiny and not to use it for unlawful, illicit purposes. However the conventional cash money delivery between any two parties got no such effective technology to monitor and record its movements and know all its location all the times to prevent it from getting misused. Thus it becomes possible for the unscrupulous individuals to totally hide it or submit its false accounting before the legal authorities in breach of its public trust, and engage into many kinds of its “misuse”, clandestine business practices, criminal use or the surreptitious money dealings. Cash Money Hiding Ability Breeds Corruption: Of course, most of the cash money transaction, business in our world conducted lawfully. However a significant number of this cash money amounting to enormous sums kept hidden away from the legal scrutiny or collected and employed unlawfully. The number one among is the ubiquitous economic crime of tax fraud or the evasion. Along with its cheating and depriving the public revenue it also puts the other people around in the money market competition into a very disadvantageous position thus pressurizes, encourages or tempts many among them also to commit that crime. Same is true with other economic crimes and the most notorious among is the extortion or the BRIBERY. There are number of such economic crimes that I will mention some of them in the latter sections. It is mainly due to the cash money (currency) basically having this “concealable” property that gives its possessor the ability to hide it from its legal scrutiny that could lead into its surreptitious transactions. So it begins to spoils the economic system, start to breed corruption. And the corruption breeds more corruption, crime begets crime. Cyber Technology Also Can Prevent Most Economic Crimes The world today speeding fast into the cyber space economic age. Cell phones have become the integral part of peoples every day's life. However the nations money transaction system in majority still remains mainly in the centuries old printed paper cash currency money, which is getting more and more inefficient day by day in the face of the sheer volume of growing economy and its crimes boosted with its cyber technology. All of it getting out of the national governments control, many times spiraling into deep economic crisis’s. Poverty, Unemployment and the INFLATION. The public demands the government to control it, blames it for the failure and elects a new government. The new government comes with the promise to control it but no governments able to do it. Fortunately however now the same cyber technology that gives the worlds Governments the nightmare of growing economic crimes at the same time can also offer a great cyber technological solution to prevent most of it that I explain in the following. Establishing A MANDATORY Electronic Money Transaction (MEMT) System: The emerging electronic or the credit card money transaction if pursued deeply and by legislation made mandatory in all money payments and receipts above a given sum, could provide the most effective technological device and the great historical opportunity for the Government to eradicate most of the unlawful or “illicit” money transactions or the corruption. Under this Mandatory Electronic Money Transaction (MEMT) economic system all commerce trade, business, buying and selling, in the super markets, shops trading goods or any commodities (except in very small trade dealing in small amounts in smallest denominations, in coins) should be made only through the medium of the electronic money. Similarly all wages, salaries, services, incomes, profit, earnings, bills, receipts/payments, deposits made in the same e-money form. In fact establishing a MEMT based economic system not only possible but also it is INEVITABLE! Its fundamental technologies already in place. Experts predict “Cashless Future” (see its web link in the Recommended reading at the end). In the coming years more and more people begin to conduct their everyday money receipts and payments in electronic transaction. Most importantly the ubiquitous cell phones going to play a major role in this matter. Equipped with a electronic money transaction feature called “Near Field Communication” (NFC), they are entering the market in a big way. These cell phones conduct every day money transactions through its secure biometric password crucial in preventing the accounts identity fraud. This in turn will bring in a basic TRANSPARENCY in all its money transactions. Indeed a biometric password or the “identity” is the essential “PREREQUISITE” for the establishment of a MEMT economic system, which I come to explain in the next section. A Biometric Identity (BID) For Securing All Bank Financial Accounts The MEMT economic system most importantly requires all people in a nation should have a single universal Social SURETY Number (USSN) based on their Biometric Identity (BID) mainly for securing or ensuring all their bank financial accounts. Of course, a person may have a number of accounts in several banks at any places in the nation but they all should basically identified with their single undeniable BID along with their name address and signature in the central USSN office. First and foremost, it should have the basic authority to access the nations each individuals existing bank financial accounts when needed (ordered) for the legal investigation of economic crimes. Together with that authority, it should also have the prime responsibility providing the basic social security, employment or the minimum income guaranty, health insurance, educational aid for every one specially for the weaker sections of the society. Importantly as well, all the tax eligible people, businesses in the nation should submit their total annual income, including the property accounts (like filing income tax return forms) and pay all their taxes under its jurisdiction. Be it the nations top leaders, presidents, prime ministers, corporate tycoons, CEO’s, down to the common man. All should come under this network of the USSN office jurisdiction system. This BID security over the financial accounts also needs to be applied to all fields of valuable commodity transaction, exchange or the handover including exchange of gift, donations, helps (commodities above a given value) property ownership transfer etc. No barter trade of property, precious metals, valuable artifacts should be allowed. All valuable items a person, organizations, institutions owning registered as property with its records under the USSN’s income tax office. Such a mandatory electronic money transaction economic system operating under the USSN network that keeps accounts of almost every money transaction would make all individuals and the businesses financial accounts completely open or transparent before the legal or the public scrutiny. It would basically dissuade or deter people from engaging in any of the economic crimes or corruptions because that essentially leaves the electronic money trail as clear evidence that could be impossible for any one to get rid off. Some Main Economic Crimes It Could Prevent: Tax fraud and the bribery are the two major economic crimes that this MEMT can undoubtedly prevent. Apart from it, the counterfeit money, money-laundering, ransom money, the cash money robbery/theft/ stealing, etc., will become a thing of the fast in a fully pledged MEMT system where there is absolutely no printed paper Cash currency money to carry it out in the first place! Black marketing, illegal hording, all kinds of smuggling, trafficking, illegal drugs, weapons, mafia, ‘Terrorist Finance’ etc., accounts will get mostly exposed with pin-accuracy under the BID based MEMT economic system (explained above) so those culprits days will be numbered. Credit card fraud/fake/theft, or the fear of getting it lost and its misuse mostly will disappear. With its BIDN/MEMT network system in place it would be highly difficult for the fraudsters to buy things online with complete anonymity or to commit any of the credit card crimes and to get away with it. After all in such electronic money network system all proceeding money transactions can be immediately traced back to its preceding accounts and all the other accounts that transacted with it would reveal its all round true connections. Corporate business scams, misappropriation of public funds, developmental project money embezzlement, poverty scheme money swindling, buying of the bureaucracy, police, judiciary, politician for money, none can escape from this constantly vigilant digital money surveillance or scanning technology. On the other hand it could also prevent those malicious, false accusations, allegations of economic crime, corruptions. It is not possible for me to list out all those economic crimes that it can prevent, in this document. Nevertheless I should finally mention a most important point briefly in this regard. The root-cause of most of the property crimes, murders, sex crimes, social injustices, environmental degradation, violent retaliations many (if not most) times, motivated by or against the surreptitious or the shrouded money transactions that the traditional cash money transaction economic system allows. Replacing it with this new and transparent MEMT economic system can greatly prevent it. Besides all of which, as a bonus, it can also provide the government with an entirely new kind of financial control device to check inflation, stock market crash etc economic crisis's. Not to mention, many (if not most) times the main cause of it lies in the corrupt or unscrupulous trading practices. Poverty Eradication Achievable Within Few Years: Poverty eradication would become a definitely possible and achievable goal under this MEMT system within a few years. First of all as I mentioned it before, the prime responsibility of the USSN is to provide the basic social security, employment, the minimum income guaranty, basic food, shelter, education health for all people and the government will have enough money needed to do it. Just imagine the amount of money when almost all tax revenues gets collected by the prevention of all the tax evasion or the fraud alone! It could provide more than enough money for poverty eradication programs. At the same time the USSN system with it biometric ID, would mostly prevent the unscrupulous people from swindling the welfare aid money in the name of poor. Moreover when the basic ground of all those economic crimes gets removed, most of the money that used to drain into that corruption channel, now redirected into the legal economy and into the social developmental programs. Legitimate Businesses Nothing To Fear: People who conduct honest, responsible business practices have nothing to fear from this MEMT economic system. In fact, it can very much fulfill the vision of the UN Human Rights Principles particularly the UN Global Compact tenth Principle, which specifically sates: “ Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery”. Responsible businesses would rather greatly benefit from it, because it would create a very conducive atmosphere to practice a corruption free, progressive economy in the absent of the corrupt, criminal business practices (tax fraud, bribe, extortion, etc.) as the latter are the worst enemies of the honest businesses. Most important of all is that there will be no restrictions or limits imposed on people in their legitimate money earnings; profit making or owning money or property of any huge amounts. One can be a billionaire or a trillioniar, provided all their businesses money transaction remain transparent under, the MEMT and that information remains open to the democratic public, USSN's legal scrutiny. In fact the Government should encourage businesses, small and big, by providing them with more opportunities, removing many of those trade barriers, hurdles and most importantly by lowering the taxes. Only Unscrupulous People Will Get Terrified: It is only the unscrupulous people who engage in the economic crimes, corruptions, illicit business, will get terrified of it because this MEMT leaves behind the concrete records of the electronic money trail as clear as day the light so they can no longer cover-up its tracks and conceal their crimes, so will be caught with its clear evident get duly prosecuted and sent to prison. Both Are Complimentary For Each Others Success: Of course this MEMT economic system perhaps would be very difficult to introduce in its infant or initial stages. It also depends up on place-to-place and countries to countries. It will depend on their social economic and the political system and its development. Nevertheless it is far simpler and easier to implement effectively instead of those tens of thousands and legally cumbersome anti-corruption laws! The fundamental difference between the two is that the MEMT is a single wholesome technological solution based on almost fail-safe advanced technology while the latter are hundreds of years old antiquated legal solutions so much fraught with numerous human error and complications. Surprisingly however now they both seems complimentary for each success in the future. Two Main IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measures Let me begin this once again with the abstract of this entire “IT To Root-Out Corruption” main text first. Most of the economic crimes, corruptions occurs mainly due to the surreptitious, illicit or the hidden money transactions that escape from the public, legal scrutiny. Now the good news is that the Information Technology (IT) today with its innovative digital or the “electronic money transaction” if made mandatory with biometric identity in all bank accounts can enable the Governments to root-out most economic crimes, known as corruption. It all basically stands upon two main “IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measures”, which I present in the following: 1).Introduce Mandatory Biometric Identity (MBID) in All Bank Accounts The first and foremost important IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measure that I call upon is to introduce a compulsory or Mandatory Biometric Identity (MBID) along with the name address and signature in all bank accounts. Thereupon it should be extended into the ownership of valuable properties or assets. The most important principle of having a MBID for securing or obtaining the bank accounts is first of all to prevent the fake or bogus identity fraud in it. With the MBID one can immediately identify and find out every bank, financial accounts of a (any) person accused of committing an economic crime (be it a tax evasion, bribery, embezzlement and the whole range of it including terrorist financing). Searching it out with a pin-point (BID) accuracy among those banks, properties billions or trillions of records. It is impossible to anyone to fake their Biometric Identity. So the MBID in all bank accounts is the most important perquisite to root-out corruption. 2). Promote Mandatory Electronic Money Transaction (MEMT) Against Cash Currency: Make it mandatory or obligatory on all people to conduct their every money receipt/payment above a given amount in the form of electronic money transaction through their bank to the others bank account, replacing the old traditional cash paper currency. Most importantly in case they make the cash currency deposits or withdrawals above the given amount then it should undergo enquiry about its detailed accounts and bills. Also the payments for things, services, materials pertaining to important security matters (cell phones, credit cards, recharge, rentals, travels, weapons, explosives etc.) should be only conducted through the e-money or the credit card even its amount remains below the given mandatory money transaction sum. In this MEMT setup, the money payment in bank cheques (Check) to others accounts by all means remains perfectly legitimate. To make the MEMT more effective as an extension, the Governments needs to phase-out or gradually withdraw the higher denomination currencies from the public. The higher denominations currencies have been conveniently used or grossly misused or end up in committing most and major economic crimes. Besides the absent of it would greatly promote the MEMT due to its various contributing factors including the enquiry placed on the cash currency deposit and withdrawals and the MEMT in the security matters. Most importantly however the banks should continue to have those higher denomination currencies even of very high values; a hundred thousand, million even a billion (Dollar, Euro etc) denomination currency bills. However they should be restricted mainly to exchange only between the banks, financial or the monetary institutions. Make Biometric Identity Compulsory In All Bank Accounts Among the two “IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measures” above all my first and foremost important pressing appeal to all anticorruption concerns, specially to the national Governments, is to to brining in a policy of Compulsory or Mandatory Biometric Identity (MBID) in all bank accounts along with the name address and signature. Most importantly all the ownership registration records of valuable property, assets money transactions transfers, payments, receipts should be made only through the MBID enabled bank to the bank accounts. (In fact, I am told such bank to bank payment guideline regulations, laws exist even today except the biometric identity in all bank accounts so the laws remains mostly ineffective in its anti-corruption purpose.) Already, the Government for security reasons makes people to register themselves with their biometric identity for obtaining, passports, voter’s identity, driver’s licenses etc, mainly to prevent the identity fraud, and other crimes. -- The MBID has already entered into the financial system in the online money transaction through the cell phone market in quite a big way for secure payment by a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC). In fact now a days a fully developed biometric identity (finger print, face iris recognition including the photo) considered to be a very important requirement to get this credit card account to prevent the identity theft and the bank account money fraud. Now extending it in all the bank accounts won't be that difficult, actually it seems to be a long overdue in view of the security needs involved. Of course it won't be as effective without the Mandatory Electronic Money Transaction (MEMT) i.e. making all money transactions (payments receipts) above a given amount only through bank to bank, which is the second IT Anti-Corruption Monetary Measure. Nevertheless this MBID is its perquisite and above all is far more practical, PRAGMATIC, easier to implement compared to the other anti-corruption monetary measures. It can significantly deter the economic crimes so reduce the corruption and necessarily lead into the future fully pledged MBID/MEMT system in which most of the crimes including the terrorism that as we see it today can be eliminated. Some of it explained in the following section. Anti-Terrorism: MBID/MEMT To Track Down Terrorist Besides combating corruption, a fully pledged MBID/MEMT can also work as powerful Anti-terrorism machinery, which can tremendously help the government security agencies to track down the criminals specially the terrorist. When a terrorism investigation ordered, this system can concretely (electronically) trace back every day PHYSICAL movement, location, phone call, contact of the suspect based on his/her every day buying and the money payment for things, services, material that he /she had made, which includes any such things that the suspects left behind the crime scene. This MBID/MENT network leaves behind an unmistakable physical evidence electronic trail on whatever things it touches, which is impossible to get rid off. By the way, the MBID/MEMT system works quite differently or more fully in combating terrorism than in combating corruption. In the former the entire money transaction (or the absence of it) in the suspect bank account can show the concrete evidence to prove or disprove the involvement in the given crime but in the latter it is only the illicit money transaction that can prove or disprove the corruption. Political Will To Get It Done It would not intrude in the peoples private or personal life compared with the other electronic devices that are being used in social security for ex; the CC camera's. It would be more like people having a most important cell-phone ID number. There are already more stringent legislations in place that rules, laws that the citizens made to obey as they are legally obliged to submit all their property, money transactions, true accounts before the public or the legal authorities and not to engage in the economic crimes. Today there exist this innovative electronic credit card digital or E-money transaction technology to make it happen. It is now for all the people to see to it that this innovative IT develops to its fullest productive potential that includes its deployment in the prevention of almost all economic crimes, corruptions. What is really needed is the political will to get it done. Future of Potential Growth Along with the Government its concerned legislatures, departments also the private sector mainly the financial institutions, banks, credit card companies combined with the E-commerce/business, online companies, IT biometric sector, have to take the pivotal role in the construction of the building blocks of this system. They will have the enormous potential for growth and a great social responsibility as well to encourage people to participate more and more into this MENT economic system of the future. A SOCIALIST Revolution Without the Abolition of PRIVATE PROPERTY: Abolition of cash (paper) currency money and making all money transaction in electronic would bring in a more “just” economic system. A new kind of Democratic Republic Socialist Revolution without the abolition of 'private ownership of means of production' or the "Private Property". A blend of benevolent capitalism and socialism.