Yesterday I told you about the question if the Indian government should illegally hack data of blackberry users in order to protect the country from terrorism. It is quite interesting how moral questions arise when you talk about money, security and government decisions. Some time ago there was another topic in the news which you might have heard about and which brought up a similar question.
The German government had been contacted by an anonymous informant who offered them a CD of data which they could buy for $3.5 million. The data contained stolen bank details of up to 1500 people who had their money on bank accounts in Switzerland in order to escape German taxes. The government did some calculation and found that they could probably get $140 million back which they had lost through tax evasion – and did what seemed obvious to them: they bought the CD and a big discussion about the topic erupted.
That is not any wonder, tax fraud is a serious topic and the German government loses a lot of money each year through people who evade paying their taxes. And their strategy worked: even before the deal with the CD was made, many people contacted government offices and confessed that they might not have paid the full amount of taxes. Of course those, who confessed in this way in the end had to pay less than those whose data was seen for the first time on the CD. It was also not the first time, just some years ago the German government had bought data in a similar way from Liechtenstein.
Now think about it: the government themselves support the stealing of bank details so that they can pursue people who have committed tax fraud. How many people will be encouraged to try at least to hack into the bank computers and databases? If they succeed and they get a good amount of relevant information they can make a nice sum of money with it! Fully legally with the German government!
Germany will not be the only country in which this happens and RIM not the only company who acts in this way. I just would like to ask about the morals of these actions. I disagree to the statement that the end and result of this kind of project justifies the means. You need to see into the future and think how much more fraud, thefts, hacking and robbery you encourage through your actions.