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D2.2: Set of use cases and scenarios

The role of social networks and motivations  Title:
 Identity and Privacy in case law: On Revocable Anonymity, VUB


Case study: Ricin found in a London Flat

On January 5th 2003, British police arrested seven men at two addresses in London, and seized ricin, a very potent poison with no known antidote, as well as equipment that could be used to produce the poison. Two of the men arrested were teenage asylum seekers aged 16 or 17. The others arrested were in their 20s and 30s.

The men are of North African origin, and participated in a network of North African extremists, believed to be sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The investigation following from the January 5th arrests sparked numerous other investigations in a “domino effect”, leading to raids in several other British towns. The network appears to operate in small cells, dispersed in several European locations.

The criminal investigation has revealed that the individuals engaged in multiple identity fraud, and held forged passports and identity cards. The individuals had also engaged in the fraudulent opening and use of bank accounts, including the participation in cheque fraud, and the fraudulent use of loans and other credit facilities. Preliminary work seems to suggest a close resemblance between the profile of a terrorist financer and that of an individual likely to pose a high credit risk for a financial institution – that is, someone likely to defraud a bank or to default on loan repayments. This finding is extremely important because financial institutions have had in place, for a long time, very advanced methodologies to assess credit risk that can, now, be put to service in the fight against terrorism financing.

It is also worth noting that the bank account activity of the individuals arrested in the context of this criminal investigation, included wire transfers to regions such as the Balkans, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, as well as to charities operating in the UK. The cells to which the individuals belonged had raised funds through donations and collections at mosques and other Islamic centres, as well as through the sale of Islamic merchandise and publications.

The construction of the identity of a terrorist financer requires from the financial intermediaries a complex balance between computerized risk assessment models and personal judgment of the motivations behind specific observed financial behaviour. It also stresses the interconnectedness of identities, and that one person’s identity is composed not only of elements that identify that person, but also of the social networks in which that person participates. Finally, the location of terrorist networks like the one discussed in this case raises important questions regarding privacy, as well as the risk of stigmatisation and discrimination of specific segments of the population. 




The role of social networks and motivations  fidis-wp2-del2.2.Cases_stories_and_Scenario_04.sxw  Identity and Privacy in case law: On Revocable Anonymity, VUB
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