The Battle for Money Transfers: The allure of PayPal and Western Union over Familial remittance networks
The School of Computer and Security Science, Edith Cowan University, WA
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Security Science / Security Research Centre (secAU)
Informal Money Transfer systems continue to provide importunate loopholes in the global wrestle against terrorism. Radical cells, as well as broader criminal networks, maintain their use of Hawala systems, but do so in concert with other informal transfer systems, largely to sidestep the regulatory and administrative management of formally institutionalized worldwide money transactions. At a time when financial acts are globally regulated under the Basel Accord and other global instruments, the enduring use of Informal Value Transfers (IVTs) in Australia is cause for mounting unease. To concentrate on the informal money transfer system known as Hawala, is to overlook much of the problem. PayPal and its related cyber-systems outperform Hawala transfers through the commercial necessity for fast, efficient capital mobility. This paper posits that prevention and mitigation strategies for the wider group of online financial transactions need urgent re-evaluation. The activities of PayPal, Western Union, and other cyber-dependent systems, conceal transactions that support terrorist and criminal activities.