202020200927 The FinCEN Files – misleading the public and benefiting from criminal conduct

There is a technical issue with the law relating to data.

Data is not a thing therefore, in the strict sense of the word, it cannot be stolen.

Because it cannot be stolen, anyone who receives it is not “handling stolen goods” or “receiving stolen goods.”

But there is a parallel. Except for cash and coin, money is not a thing either.

That meant that if a cheque was stolen, it was the paper not the value that the thieves took.

As almost all money is now in electronic not physical form, many countries have modified their laws so that value can be stolen even if there is no physical form.

And it is the dealing with electronic money as well as cash that is covered by e.g. counter-money laundering laws.

Computer crime laws have been designed to achieve something similar but only in relation to the initial extraction of the data. Reuse of the data appears, in general terms, to be outside that offence and to fall within the civil law regime.

But the FinCEN data is different because it is data that is protected by statute. To put it bluntly, the material, once extracted from FinCEN’s databases or files is of criminal origin.

How could I not refuse to go anywhere near it?

My entire professional life is about identifying and preventing the risk of criminal conduct. Every part of my principle and honour says that the use, in any way, of the material extracted from FinCEN is wrong – even if there is a benefit to it.