Use It and You will Lose It (Banking Secrecy edition)

I noted before that if companies actually use some of the unfair laws they have managed to “put on the books” those laws will change. This is especially true in the Web 2.0 world, where any piece of news will be broadcast, and broadcast, and rebroadcast, and the big corporations don’t control the distribution and media channels the way that they used to. The example I gave was the DMCA (DMCA–use it and you will lose it, Gang of Eight, May 05, 2007), from but there are other examples as the current Kaupthing scandal shows.  As covered at wikileaks, your premier source for news:

Iceland mulls bank secrecy reform
From Wikileaks
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Tuesday August 4, 2009


REYKJVAVIK: Iceland may tighten its banking secrecy laws, the prime minister said Tuesday, after it emerged that the major bank Kaupthing granted big loans just days before being nationalised.

According to a document published on the Wikileaks website, Kaupthing granted several major shareholders non-guaranteed loans worth several million euros just before it was taken over last year amid grave financial turmoil.

“It cannot be allowed, in the situation we are experiencing in society at this time where everything needs to be open and transparent, that the bank secrecy act is used to hide market abuses,” Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir told a news conference.

“Therefore we have been looking into whether we should review the bank secrecy act.”

The internal document, dated September 25, 2008, appeared on the Wikileaks website last week despite Kaupthing’s protests that the publication breached Iceland’s strict banking secrecy laws.

Iceland’s government nationalised Kaupthing and two other major banks in October 2008 after borrowing beyond their means led them to collapse amid global economic turmoil.

A fraud investigation into the banking collapse was launched by Icelandic authorities last February.

More on the Kaupthing investigation which Eva Joly, the French-Norwegian MEP and fraud expert hired by Iceland and now working with the Serious Fraud Office, now believes will be “the largest investigation in history of an economic and banking bank collapse”.

Use It and You will Lose It (Banking Secrecy edition)

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