Thursday, February 7, 2008

Globalization and Online Crime

This article is an interesting read. Not so much for the story itself, but for what it means. The notion that a small agricultural town in Romania can, in three short years, overhaul its local economy via online fraud is fascinating to me. Not the first report of eBay having problems with Romanian criminals, but the idea that the region's economy is now heavily based on fraud is impressive.

But here's what's really blowing my mind: A poor local economy, unbalanced international economies (seriously, as bad as it may seem in the US, at least you're not trying to get by making your own wine and selling it to tourists on the train to Budapest), an open international marketplace (eBay) to connect the two economies, and $300K in technology training grants; this is all it takes to create a global crime syndicate whose victims exist 100% in a different country. It's the opposite of the well-organized, well-funded RBN activity we've seen so much of the past few years. Street hustling for the Internet age.

Fascinating. There's a sociology PhD thesis in there somewhere.

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