Monday, October 27, 2008

Twittering terrorists

From the same people who brought you The War on TerrorTM, comes the latest in terrorist tools: Twitter! Wired reports that an American intelligence outfit has been attempting to guess which tools might be used by terrorist to unleash death and destruction on an unsuspecting populace. GSM phones, chat software and digital maps are on top of the terrorist gadget-wish-list (apparently, the cell phone of choice for the wannabe jihadist is the Nokia 6210 Navigator).

The intelligence report is filled with some quality information. Did you know that Al Qaida has its own social-network site? I would very much like to have access to that one in order to read terrorist profiles:

"Status: On my way to blow up embassy
Listening to: Appetite for Destruction"

The report also highlights the combination of Skype and voice-altering software to mask terrorist conversations from surveillance by security forces. It even has some of the cell-phone backgrounds of choice for the discerning religious fanatic intent on death to the west (hint: no Paris Hilton wearing a skimpy bikini in any of those pictures). But perhaps the best part of the report is its depiction of Twitter as a potential terrorist tool. There's no way I can truly make justice to the real thing, so here it is, straight from the horse's mouth:

What makes Twitter unique is that the member can send Tweets (messages near realtime) to Twitter cell phone groups and to their online Twitter social networking page. They can also Mashup their Tweets with a variety of other tools including geo coordinates and Google Maps or other electronic files/artifacts. Members can direct and re-direct audience members to other websites and locations from "Tweets" and can engage in rapid-fire group social interaction. [...] Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences."

Damn those vegetarians, always trying to sell their aggressive and radical no-meat agenda to the naive masses!

So,we will have to add Twitter to the many Web 2.0 tools for terrorism. After all, World of Warcraft is allegedly filled with jihadists intent on destroying our freedoms.

Twitter, bringing death and destruction 140 characters at a time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Woman jailed for killing avatar

Internet news sites are abuzz with the report that a Japanese woman has been jailed after reportedly "killing" her virtual husband's avatar after a virtual divorce. A 43-year-old Japanese piano teacher was virtually married to a 33-year-old office worker in the online game Maplestory - a cutesy Korean manga-style world.

Reportedly, the husband divorced his virtual wife without warning, and hell hath no fury like an avatar scorned. The piano teacher knew the login details of her online lover, so she entered the game using his password and deleted the character. An avatar had ceased to exist, for all practical purposes, it had been killed. The owner did not take the "killing" lightly, phoned the police, and the Sapporo woman was arrested and taken into custody charged with "illegally accessing a computer and manipulating data". None of the many reports say if she has been released, but the charges carry a maximum sentence of one year and maximum ¥500,000 JPY fine (contrary to the five years claimed by many news sites).

It is perhaps too easy to laugh at the mirth-inducing reports of middle-aged piano teachers and mild-mannered office workers taking their manga characters way too seriously. Nevertheless, it seems evident that there are some interesting legal issues at stake. Firstly, I find it intriguing that anti-hacking laws are being used to protect the integrity of an avatar. The statute in question is the 1999 Unauthorized Computer Access Law, which as the name suggests, penalises unauthorised access to a computer. Art. 3 reads:

Article 3. No person shall conduct an act of unauthorized computer access.
The act of unauthorized computer access mentioned in the preceding paragraph means an act that falls under one of the following items:
(1) An act of making available a specific use which is restricted by an access control function by making in operation a specific computer having that access control function through inputting into that specific computer, via telecommunication line, another person’s identification code for that access control function (to exclude such acts conducted by the access administrator who has added the access control function concerned, or conducted with the approval of the access administrator concerned or of the authorized user for that identification code);

There is no reason why this criminal type would not apply to the present case (that's too many negatives). Moreover, avatars are the embodiment of hours of hard work on the part of the player, and it would be interesting to see if besides the criminal conduct incurred, the perpetrator could also be the recipient of civil action. Nowadays it is possible to allocate real-money value to virtual goods, so a high-level character could be worth a lot of money. If a person deletes the character, shouldn't there be some sort of civil damage recourse as well?

Finally, I think that if this case had taken place in the UK, one could have used the Computer Misuse Act. s1 and s3 of the act penalise unauthorised access and unauthorised modification of computer material respectively.

I'm now off to make sure that my many avatars are still alive.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flame wars: defamation or assault?

(via Denis Magnusson) A Canadian court has issued an injunction against a stamp-dealer who posted threatening materials on the internet against Richard Warman, a human rights campaigner. The systematic hate campaign by one William Grosvenor included death threats, false accusations of sex with minors, photos of the victim's home address, Google Maps information on how to get to his domicile, and a range of other abusive offences. When granting the injunction, the judge equated them with assault:

"They are threatening and intimidating and, by virtue of their repetitiveness, their detail regarding the plaintiff's whereabouts and their level of malevolence, they are more than empty threats and insults. They are vicious and serious and are to be taken seriously."
Besides an injunction ordering to take down the abusive content, the judge ordered Mr Grosvenor to pay $50,000 CAD.

Interesting case from many perspectives, but I found the equating of constant defamatory and threatening material with assault a novel way of dealing with cyber-offences. As we conduct more of our lives online, it seems logical that an attack on our real and virtual persona will equate an assault under law.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rock On (Book Review)

Rock on: How I Tried to Stop Caring About Music and Learn to Love Corporate Rock by Dan Kennedy.

I had high expectations for this book because it describes the experiences of a middle-management marketing type employed by Atlantic Records during the time internet downloading became prevalent and started affecting the music industry as we know it. The book does describe the corporate culture before the big shock came, and has some interesting anecdotes about what was happening behind the scenes in the post-Napster era.

Nevertheless, Kennedy's book feels like a wasted opportunity. The style is rather annoying, it uses a hipster-smirking tone that would be more at home in a blog (this is rich coming from me, but I digress). Kennedy's use of obscure stereotypes to describe his characters gets old really fast, and is confusing as hell. Was "Suave Older Robert Wagner Character" the same as "Ageing Suburban Classic Rock Guy"?

Having said that, I found some hidden gems in the book. For example, the realisation that people in the music industry were downloading music just like the rest of us; or the fact that executives were as clueless to respond to the new marketplace as we always thought they were. The culture of corporate excess, bloated salaries, and the operation in an irony-free environment were endearing. My favourite part of the book is when Kennedy describes the launch of a Jewel song about not selling out, while at the same time the same song is used to advertise leg-shaving products. Really, no amount of sarcasm conveys the absurdity of such a situation.

On the whole, I enjoyed the book for these little jewels (geddit? jewels, hehe), but Kennedy's style made me struggle through large sections of the book. Self-deprecating humour is OK, but writing an entire expose based on one's shortcomings takes its toll on the reader.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

*Bleeping* patents

Habitual readers may suspect already that I think software patents are a *bleeping* bad idea. Yeah, they are often filed by *bleeping* patent trolls, or are awarded to *bleeping* obvious "inventions" that do not advance the state of the art in any *bleeping* way.

Enter U.S. Patent 7,437,290 which describes a method for automatic censorship of audio data for broadcast. The abstract reads:

"An input audio data stream comprising speech is processed by an automatic censoring filter in either a real-time mode, or a batch mode, producing censored speech that has been altered so that undesired words or phrases are either unintelligible or inaudible. The automatic censoring filter employs a lattice comprising either phonemes and/or words derived from phonemes for comparison against corresponding phonemes or words included in undesired speech data. If the probability that a phoneme or word in the input audio data stream matches a corresponding phoneme or word in the undesired speech data is greater than a probability threshold, the input audio data stream is altered so that the undesired word or a phrase comprising a plurality of such words is unintelligible or inaudible. The censored speech can either be stored or made available to an audience in real-time."
What the *bleep*? What sort of stupid *bleep* is that? How can Microsoft claim such *bleeping* idiocy?

Seriously though, I actually think this is a useful invention. Otherwise the above text would be rather colourful. Now I'm off to swear in the shower, the last refuge of the foul mouthed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Palin and the llama

So... Sarah Palin was in Saturday Night Live yesterday... and what is in the background? A llama!

Is she going for the pro-llama vote? I may have to change my opinion about her.

Update: Thanks to John for pointing this site out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Virtual currencies stifled by regulation?

(via panGloss, The Register and Out-Law) Roll back the time to 1999. The internet was relatively new, electronic commerce was still a buzz-word, and everybody was talking about electronic cash, virtual currency and Mondex. In the future we would have relinquished our reliance on paper money, and we would be conducting our everyday commercial transactions with a combination of smart cards, RFID chips and mobile phones. The European Commission, in a characteristic surge of regulatory vigour, drafted several directives dealing with e-commerce, including the Electronic Money Institutions Directive, the legal skeleton supporting the frame of the brave new incorporeal marketplace.

Fast forward to 2008. My trousers are still jingling with coins. I look into my wallet and those pesky pieces of paper are still there. True, I have several smart cards, but those chips are inserted into "traditional" payment methods, such as credit and debit cards. Whatever happened to our dream of electronic money?

The European Commission conducted a consultation process that looked at the topic of e-money, and the findings are troubling. There are only 20 electronic money institutions in the entire EU, and the issued value amounts only to 1 billion EUR. The consultation unearthed some problems with the existing legislation that stifles the provision of electronic money. The impact document states that:

"During the review process, stakeholders expressed concerns that the current directive lacks legal certainty. First of all the definition of electronic money is considered unclear. Second it is unclear for stakeholders whether or not it is applicable to certain business models such as certain prepaid payment from mobile network operators and electronic vouchers."
So, we should blame the legislation for the lack of electronic money... or should we? True, I am on record criticising the EMI directive, and how the definitions were pretty useless when looked at closely. PayPal pretty much exploded the system when it was declared an EMI, an later became a bank. Similarly, I have always been averse at proactive regulatory efforts because it is my strong belief that they usually fail miserably in reading technological advances. The regulatory landscape of electronic commerce and information technologies is filled with the carcasses of failed and/or ineffective pieces of legislation drafted with specific technologies in mind.

Nevertheless, I do not think that the EMI directive is to blame. I blame the efficiency of traditional payment systems. Why have an extra cash card, when debit cards will suffice for most transactions? Why try to jump-start the electronic money market, when PayPal dominates electronic payment systems? Moreover, electronic money has not taken off in jurisdictions that never enacted the EMI directive, which tends to confirm in my mind that the problem is one of consumer confidence and lack of a "killer app" in the field of electronic money.

Last year I asked a simple question to my students for their essays: “Virtual in-game currency, such as Linden Dollars, is electronic money as defined by the Electronic Money Directive”. I got some excellent answers as a result (I'm hoping LawClanger will publish his essay), which served to confirm that the directive was bursting at the seams when confronted with real-life examples. I still think that virtual currencies could be classed as electronic money, and the admission of regulatory defeat by the Commission has served to confirm my suspicions; I believe that the growing economic importance of virtual currencies will eventually prompt the recognition of virtual currency as valid electronic money. Hopefully, the more generic definitions contained in the new directive proposal will serve to that effect.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The global copyfight rages on

The Wall Street Journal has published an excerpt provocatively named In Defense of Piracy from Lessig's new book Remix (out tomorrow). It seems like Lessig is still very much involved in the copyfight, highlighting the almost farcical story of Holden Lenz and Prince.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the copyfight has been relegated to a chapter in intellectual property textbooks. The music industry seems to have stopped suing its customers, and there has been a bit of an impasse with the attack on intermediaries and the three-strikes proposals. However, the copyfight is alive and well in countries that are updating their intellectual property legislation. Chile for example has been in the middle of drafting a new IP law, and it seems like there is a good old struggle going on down under. The government brought together a number of stakeholders to attempt to achieve a good balance between user and artist interests. However, the goverment completely undermined it by signing an agreement with the local collective society (SCD), and have sent forward a draft Ley de Propiedad Intelectual that makes the DMCA look like The Pet Goat.

Claudio Ruiz has written a post on the most worrying aspects of the draft law, which pretty much eliminates fair use, enhances liability for intermediaries, eliminates most educational exceptions, creates a virtual monopoly by the SCD, and most worryingly includes language that prohibits the renunciation of rights, making Creative Commons licences ineffective. After all, if you cannot renounce your rights, you cannot draft a "some rights reserved" licence! Christian Leal was interviewed on TV about the new law, and I found his explanations very well made. The Chilean blogosphere is up in arms about the turns of events (and the Facebook group against the law has now more than four thousand members!)

So the copyfight is alive and well. In the new digital economy, and with financial systems collapsing all around us, intellectual property is gaining more traction as a viable support for national economies, certainly more sustainable than ficticious credit instruments. We can therefore expect renewed interest in trying to squeeze the last penny out of intellectual creations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Question of Sport

Questions of Sport: What are the Legal Rights and Wrongs?
1 Day Conference to be held at Hawthorn Suite, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, UK

To celebrate the first anniversary of the announcement that the Commonwealth Games are coming to Scotland, and with the London Olympic Games looming large, Edinburgh Law School is organising a day-long event to looks at legal rights and wrongs associated with sporting competition. The event will take place on Friday 7 November 2008 at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh from 9am-5pm. The event is being organised by SCRIPT, the law and technology research centre based in Edinburgh Law School and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The many questions which remain unanswered include the rights and wrongs of enhancement technologies, the privacy implications for sportsmen and women of anti-doping monitoring measures, the existence and extent of merchandising and commercialisation rights and control of the trade marks associated with large sporting events.

Speakers include
Julia Bracewell OBE
Seona Burnett Partner McGrigors
Helen Arnot Head of Legal Department, STV SMG plc
David Marshall CEO Tennis Scotland
As well as many others

On November 7th, on the eve of Scotland's game with the All Blacks, we hope to explore these questions surrounding modern sporting competition with sportspersons, lawyers and lay people alike. The format of the day will be short talks from a wide range of experts (legal and non legal) with plenty of time for discussion. A final panel session will involve leading sports personalities with legal backgrounds giving their own impressions on the issues.

We hope that you can join us, please follow this link
to find details of how you can register. There is a nominal charge of £20 which covers lunch and refreshments during the day.

If you need any further information please contact John Anzani at

Thursday, October 09, 2008

COMMUNIA Workshop in Amsterdam

Marking the public domain: relinquishment & certification" - this is the title of the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop to be held in Amsterdam on 20-21 October 2008. The workshop will address the legal, economical and technical issues related to certifying public domain works and relinquishing intellectual property rights in Europe.

The first session will consist of two keynote speeches by scholars on the public domain, to be followed by an introduction of two specific tools being developed by Creative Commons. Other two sessions will examine the possibilities of relinquishing rights in European jurisdictions and discuss tools needed to determine and certify the public domain status of works that are (believed to be) in the public domain.

Also scheduled are presentations of organizations and projects that have build their models or practices) around Public domain material, and other meetings of the COMMUNIA working groups.

The workshop takes place in Pakhuis de Zwijger, in central Amsterdam. Participation is open to the public and free of charge. Because of venue limited capacity, though, participants need to pre-register.

For more information, including downloadable registration form, please visit:


The COMMUNIA Thematic Network aims at becoming a European point of reference for theoretical analysis and strategic policy discussion of existing and emerging issues concerning the public domain in the digital environment - as well as related topics, including, but not limited to, alternative forms of licensing for creative material; open access to scientific publications and research results; management of works whose authors are unknown (i.e. orphan works).

Funded by the European Commission within the eContentplus framework, the 3-years long project expects to provide policy guidelines that will help each stakeholder involved - public and private, from the local to the European and global level.

More information:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Symbian software patent appeal rejected

I have been following with interest the software patent case of Symbian v Comptroller General for Patents. The Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal by the UKIPO, which seems to move English software patent rulings closer to te EPO Board of Appeals interpretation.

As background, Symbian is a UK company which produces a popular mobile phone operating system, and in 2004 made a PCT application for "Mapping of dynamic link libraries in computer devices". The patent was awarded by the European Patent Office (EP1678608), but it was rejected by the UKIPO (GB0325145.1). Symbian appealed the decision and won. The UKIPO found the ruling by Patten J to be faulty, and filed an appeal, which as I mentioned, has been rejected.

The decision has been drafted by Lord Neuberger, and I have to say that it does not go into too much detail of the law, and therefore is a less compelling read than Aerotel and other rulings, but it still contains some interesting discussion. The core issue of the Symbian appeal is rather straightforward. Was the UKIPO justified in excluding Symbian's patent application? Patten J opined that it was not, and the Court of Appeals agrees. Lord Neuberger is of the mind that excluding inventions in computers is arbitrary and unfair:

"It can also be said in favour of Symbian's case that it would be somewhat arbitrary and unfair to discriminate against people who invent programs which improve the performance of computers against those who invent programs which improve the performance of other machines. However, as against that, what goes on inside a computer can be said to be closer to a mathematical method (which is, of course, not patentable by virtue of art 52(2)(a)) than what goes on inside other machines."
Nueberger L makes a strong case against exclusion of software by the mere fact that it is software, while acknowledging the inherent difficulties in looking for prior art when the source code is absent. Nueberger L spends some time trying to determine whether or not there is a technical contribution in the Symbian "invention", and concludes that there is, and therefore the patent application cannot be excluded on those grounds. The case then is not about the novelty of the application, it is about unwarranted exclusion of a valid application on the grounds of the patentability of software.

What is clear is that the Symbian appeal is a concerted attempt to bring the EPO and English decisions closer together. While Aerotel placed a large wedge between the EPO Board of Appeals and English courts, recent cases have been bridging the gap, particularly in the area of obviousness in non-software cases (namely, Conor v Angiotech and Actavis v Merck). Lord Neuberger spends his last paragraphs building bridges and making a friendly gesture to the EPO. He says:
"It is, of course, inevitable that there will be cases where the EPO will grant patents in this field when UKIPO should not, at least so long as the view in Pension Benefit and Hitachi is applied by the Board and is not applied here. The fact that the two offices and their supervisory courts have their own responsibilities means that discrepancies, even in approach or principle, are occasionally inevitable. However, the fact that such discrepancies have been characterised as "absurd" by Nicholls LJ, and the reasoning in [3] of Conor emphasise the strong desirability of the approaches and principles in the two offices marching together as far as possible. This means that there is a need for a two-way dialogue between national tribunals and the EPO, coupled with a degree of mutual compromise. More directly relevant to the present appeal, it means that, where there may be a difference of approach or of principle, one must try to minimise the consequent differences in terms of the outcome in particular patent cases."
This seems reasonable, but to my mind the Symbian appeal is a wasted opportunity to clarify concepts. The ruling completely fails to address the fact that the Symbian patent application is woefully obvious, and should not have been granted on the grounds of novelt and inventive step. True, this case has never really been about the application itself, it has been about the narrowness of interpretation of what constitutes software as such, technical effects, and therefore whether software should be excluded from patentability on those grounds. However, most of the definitions of technical effect in the case law delimit it as a novel step that advances the state of the art in a comprehensive manner. The case might have analysed that the Symbian application is seriously lacking in those grounds, and therefore did not meet the technical contribution requirements. However, Neuberger L and Patten J before him do not go into this vital question in detail, and I believe they should.

It seem like the UKIPO will have to redraft their guidelines again.

Update: The Times Online has an article on the ruling, which I found quite misleading. They are making it seem as if software patents could not be obtained in the UK prior to the ruling, which is not true. As I mentioned, Symbian has brought EPO and UK practices closer together, which does indeed mean that more software will be subject to patent protection.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Financial crisis in one picture

As some of you may have noticed, I've been enthralled by the looming financial crisis (is it accurate to call it "looming" after the last few days?) Anyway, here is a gem I found while reading up on the crisis:

Pretty much sums it up.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Language matters

Hiding meaning through obscure language is a long-held tradition, after all, that is what euphemisms are all about. However, avoiding regulated practices by calling them something else is an entirely different matter altogether. Insurance provision is a heavily regulated area for a reason, yet if you do not want any oversight, you call what you do something else and elude the regulators. If you sell insurance, but do not want the pesky regulators looking at what you do, then you call it a credit default swap, and presto, the regulators are gone (sort of like the expecto patronus spell of financial markets).

The world's financial markets are in trouble due to clever renaming. A sad indictment on regulation as a whole? Perhaps I should stop analysing the law and become a linguist. At least my grammar and sentence structure might improve.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Software Cultures Hardware Laws

Last week I attended an interesting event called Software Cultures Hardware Law organised by Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute. I flew in from the frozen wastelands the same day of the event, so I missed a panel called "Meet the Jurists" chaired by Prof. Johanna Gibson and with the participation of Rt Hon Lord Justice Jacob, Mr Henry Carr QC and Mr Martin Howe QC . Apparently, there was discussion of some new game-related software patent case which sounded fascinating (if anyone has heard of this case, please let me know). There were some excellent presentations. Open Source expert Till Jaeger gave an introduction of the anti-DRM clause in the GPL v3. Guido Westkamp talked about international TPM protection. Ross Anderson provided a forceful and compelling argument against further criminalisation of copyright enforcement, and provided historic context as to why it really matters. However, I wanted to highlight a couple of presentations from two experts from the Software Information Industry Association.

Firstly, Scott Bain presented the best legal paper of the day on the issue of first-sale doctrine and its application to copyright law. Unsurprisingly, the SIIA and other content industry lobbyists are usually against first-sale doctrine. For those unfamiliar with it, the first-sale doctrine allows you to resell a CD or a DVD (forgive the dumbed-down analysis). Content owners usually argue that what they do is not a sale of goods, but rather a licence. By licensing the content, you never "own" the intellectual property you purchase, you are only acquiring permission to use it for a while. If you do not own it, you cannot resell it. This allows the market to be split into sectors, and allows software manufacturers to offer cheaper prices to hardware manufacturers, educational institutions, students, developing countries, etc. This OEM software is often resold by distributors at cheaper prices, a practice that has been the subject of countless cases (Vernor v Autodesk, and Wall Data to name a few). I have not given first-sale proper thought, but the fact that it was treated in Blizzard v MDY caught my attention. I have criticised the ruling elsewhere, but I feel that the one thing that the case may have going for it is the fact that it treats software as licensed material and not as a good, so I agree with Mr Bain's take on the subject.

The other presentation worthy of note was Keith Kupfershmid also from the SIIA. While I am an old hand at listening to hyperbolic rhetoric from the copyright lobby, I am still surprised by some of their tactics. Mr Kupfershmid is head of enforcement at the SIIA, and I was truly shocked by the level of his presentation. We were first introduced to the subject of enforcement by presenting us with three bad people. How do we know they are bad? They are pirates. OK, piracy is bad, but how much worse can these people be? Well, the first person highlighted was not only a pirate and sold software on eBay, but when the police raided his computer, they found child pornography! Yes, that's right folks, in one single slide software piracy was effortlessly equated with child molesting. You cannot make this stuff up! The other perpetrators were no better, keyloggers and hackers one and all.

But perhaps the most disturbing thing of the entire presentation was that it was a perfect example of the latest strategy from content owners against intermediaries. Google, eBay and PayPal are involved in "e-fencing", so they are no longer intermediaries, they are "facilitators". Yes, you heard right, they are instrumental in the crimes committed by allowing these evil people access to the market. We have seen that intermediaries are increasingly under attack from content owners, from YouTube to Google, passing though three-strikes. To me the implication of the entire presentation for intermediaries was very clear. So far your liability has been civil, but if you do not comply with our demands, criminal liability may not be far off.

Criminal enforcement, coming to a legislature near you.

Update: The case is Nova v Mazooma.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Financial spam

I received this on the mail this morning, and felt the urge to share it.

Dear Grateful in God:

You may be surprised to read this message from me as you do not know me. I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of USA. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of $800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you. I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance and in danger of our lives. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson