Mobile payments and Vice activities
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Today in our blog, we shall behave like a news article. Our very own version of an expose based on our own "on the field" reporters.
And in this blog or article or whatever we plan to write here, we wish to discuss the possibility of mobile payments and vice activities.
The problem with vice
For vice activities such as massage parlors and brothels and what have you. The real challenge is not keeping the business sustainable, a vice business is highly durable because the demand is always present. The real perpetrators are rarely caught, it is the runners and girls at the end of the chain who are prosecuted or who face trial and persecution. However, international laws, the World Bank, Interpol, and every international organization and local initiatives make it almost impossible for the real criminals to launder cash.
Almost impossible is the key term. When there is a will, there is a way after all. With many money laundering businesses around the world (laundromats, furniture stores, export businesses) have been known to tackle these problems. And with the modernization of the world happening at such a fast pace, laundering money will become a much more expensive solution to the problem.
Mobile technology has dramatically improved our lives, that is a given. In China, for example. Mobile payment technology has single-handedly solved a huge problem they had, counterfeit cash. There are businesses today that refuse to accept cash anymore and will insist on a mobile form of payment. You just can't cheat a mobile payment system, not easily that is. Easy to say even high-level hackers know better than to mess with banks. For now, they prefer to target celebrity mobile phones and share their findings with the world. Priorities.
Banks around the world have started deploying many forms of quick transfer applications. Moving money now is instant, and using thumbprints or facial recognition software on your mobile device as a form of authentication. Take Singapore, for example, you just need the recipient's mobile phone number to transfer money immediately. Does this sound bad to you? It is not. This is amazing and great for businesses everywhere. Not having to rush down to the nearest ATM teller machine to get out cash to give to a small business owner saves all of us so much time. In turn, this does wonder for the efficiency in which money moves, thus improving the economy and flow of business. The perks of this technology far outweigh the negative. People are now able to run dropship stores or use a shopping portal to speak to their customers. Meet with them to deliver the product and accept the transfer on delivery as a method of payment. Yes, transfer on delivery is a thing and will become a thing.
So according to a source, people were propositioned sexual services where a mobile payment method was accepted, encouraged in fact.
Even if this story is inaccurate, you cannot deny the possibility of this. You might think, that would be easily traceable. Only business transfers are subjected to scrutiny and have to adhere to laws and regulations set by countries. Personal accounts or bank accounts in most states require a warrant to acquire. So without that information or proof, how would you arrest is there is no money paper trail?
Furthermore, even if a country's law enforcement was allowed to peek in every transfer that happens. Say a person who has a home business sells shampoo bottles at fifty dollars each and sells an average of ten bottles a day regularly like clockwork. Would you want law enforcement to come in guns blazing only to frighten a person running a legitimate business? You simply cannot prove it. Even if you bring both parties to an interrogation room and one party said the money was a donation and the other said it was a loan. Either way, it is a legal action, and you cannot prosecute. So say a massage parlor collects upfront cash for a massage service, that is still legal. Legal tender for a service that is rendered, massage parlors are, after all a borderline legal business. Most being more legitimate of course, we apologize for generalizing. We usually refer to the legal massage businesses as spas anyway.
What is to stop extra services in these parlors going through mobile payment technology? Say a person hires an escort through an agency for a day and takes the companion out for the entire day. End of the day, the escort's bank account receives an excessive amount of money. Money that can simply be written off as "tips." How would one be able to police such vice activities in the first place?
This is going to get a lot worse, especially in private networks and on the dark web. Individual accounts wherever they may be. The only way to catch an illegal gambling operation is to find evidence of it. This takes months of investigations and undercover work in locating an illegal bookie. Cryptocurrency technology has taken most of the burden away here; however, most people do not know much about it. They prefer cash or money. Maybe they just don't trust all the news about crypto accounts being hacked. And they are absolutely right about that. A bank account is still much safer. Much much safer.
Worst of all, you could have an illegal gambling den with zero cash. Using only proxies such as chips to play a game. How would law enforcement even catch these people? Imagine raiding an illegal gambling den with no money on the table. They could simply say they were playing games and not gambling with money. Are there any provisions in place to prosecute such an activity? Especially if they are gambling with cents and dollars. It is highly improbable. Laws are not designed around to cater and counter such activities.
Honestly, we would love to say this is a scary new world out there, but vice is vice after all. Will, we really ever are rid of it in the next century, highly unlikely.
Laws do need to be updated and designed around the available mobile payment technology. Currently, it's just not good enough.
Thank you for reading IT Block's blog and being such a fantastic reader. You learn so well, you learn better than we write and we thank you for that. Have a fabulous week ahead!