It's been a long while since I did a personal newsletter to my 20,000 plus contacts. A lot's been happening that isn't work related and one of the things that got shoved aside has been this monthly note.
Some people might argue that I'm a Luddite but nothing could be further from the truth. I have long been an early adopter of new technology. What I am not is a follower of fashion. And after a few days with what may be the worst car Mercedes have ever made, I'm even more convinced we need to stop the constant revision of things just so someone can put a "new" sticker on it.
I could go on for hours, days even, about how easy it is to use various techniques to manipulate the thoughts of a person who is targeted as a vehicle for financial crime. Hell, I do go on for hours, days even, about it when people pay me to present seminars that show them how their companies can avoid being a victim of such offences. But some of the most fun lessons are found when I, me, the one who knows, understands and communicates this stuff, falls victim...
Following the case in which a bank dropped a mosque as a customer based on information in a watch list, I was contacted by Complinet, for which I am a consulting editor, and asked for an opinion on the general circumstances of financial institutions, watch lists and de risking in general. I was not invited to, and did not comment on, the specific case.
The WWW didn't really exist when I started using the internet. We had bulletin boards, arcane chat room protocols, some weird techy stuff that allowed me to send e-mails to the USA from London if I routed them through Hong Kong (don't ask, I can't remember how I did it) and most communications revolved around what would today be called ecosystems, for example CompuServe and America On Line. All the ingredients were present for social media but there was no integration. The internet was for techies. That soon changed, and we changed with it.
The William Rhodes Secondary Technical School in Chesterfield was often the school of choice, above the grammar school for those who passed their 11 plus examination. On the recommendation of my junior school headmaster, I went there: it was, he said "a school for individuals." It was wonderful and when I had to move to another area, I was heartbroken. In the intervening years, things have changed. It's sad.
It's difficult to understand what happened at the end of the week before Christmas. Egypt's resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories was first delayed, then withdrawn after Israel pushed diplomatic buttons in Washington and found incoming President Trump to be an ally. Then four countries put forward their own resolution and that was passed, because for the first time in a long time the USA did not exercise its veto to strike down a resolution critical of Israel's illegal acts. That the Resolution was passed is a very good thing. But it's toothless and Israel's immediate response was to tell the UN it would not comply.