I’ve recently read a book on money – titled ‘Virtual Money’ by Elinor Solomon, published 1997. The lady has an impressive list of associations, being :- George Washington University, Board of Governors of the National Economists Club, Federal Reserve Board of Governors and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
And getting to the point – page 220 “records that documented American life 100 years ago with the present, and note that the changes in record keeping are especially dramatic. What did the world at large know about individual people a century ago? Not too much. The few records that existed kept track of births, deaths, marriages, land boundaries, and ownership. Few school records were maintained, and 75 percent of the population was self-employed. There was no insurance, few government benefits, no driver’s licenses, and no medical records. Today, less than 5 percent of the population is self-employed, 66 percent have life insurance, 90 percent have health insurance, 95 percent have Social Security accounts, and 60 million students are enrolled in schools and colleges. Records are kept by government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security, Selective Service, welfare, motor vehicle agencies, as well as universities. Private companies maintain millions of medical, insurance and credit records” and it goes on ….
Another interesting piece in the book :- page 219 “One of the most closely shielded bank secrets is its electronic money transfers. And no private bank is more ringed with elaborate security than the giant Citicorp, which boasts more extensive international connections than just about any U.S. bank. But nothing is sacrosanct any more. According to complaints unsealed in September 1995 in federal court, Citicorp’s cash-management system fell prey to the wiles of a young Russian computer operator. The master hacker’s name was Vladimir Leven and he lived in St Petersburg. The charge was illegal entry into the bank accounts of Citicorp customers, in all about $12 million, of which $400,000 was actually withdrawn. Mr. Leven added some nice touches of realism, to mimic the usual pattern of fund transfers: for example, when he posed electronically as Banco del Sud SA in Buenos Aires, transferring $304,000 through Citicorp to another account in San Francisco, he did so at his St. Pertersburg computer at 1:10 A.M., Russian time. But the ingenious attempt to simulate time delays didn’t help much in the end. FBI agents and the Russian police tracked the trail as it led from Argentina, Jakarta, New York, to San Francisco. Arrests were also multinational, sweeping up suspects in the Netherlands, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, New York and Britain” and it goes on ….