For Willbrand, it's a Big Data problem of not enough domestic and international information available to detect anomalies and potential risks earlier. Automated third-party systems are more efficient than the manual review systems in place at some banks today. Willbrand says, "Data about identities is not combined internationally. The only way to get an accurate profile is by cross-checking public records with utility bills and bank accounts around the world."
Willbrand's call for expansion of money transfer surveillance powers represents an overreach that merely attacks the symptom of the problem. Privacy and data security rules vary, and sometimes conflict, in the many jurisdictions around the world. Big Data might be the answer, but it should be Big Data at the front end, during the credit card account opening process and the determination of spending limits – not Big Data that extends privacy violations worldwide.
Jon Matonis is an e-money researcher and crypto economist focused on expanding the circulation of nonpolitical digital currencies. His career has included senior posts at Sumitomo Bank, Visa, VeriSign, and Hushmail. Currently, he serves on the board of the Bitcoin Foundation. Follow him on Twitter.