The Anti Money Laundering Network, an "anti-money laundering e-learning, customer profiling technology, compliance consultancy" applauded the release of Sun Microsystems' Java Desktop System.
"The cost of technology is a limiting factor on the ability of financial services businesses around the world to comply with a wide range of regulatory demands," says Anti Money Laundering Network chairman Nigel Morris-Cotterill.
"The demands placed on financial institutions," he adds, "are not just from local regulators."
"Under the USA PATRIOT Act, US banks must be sure that foreign banks that hold accounts with them - particularly as correspondent banks - have AML (anti money laundering ) procedures in place. And that includes having a range of technologies, many of which should be accessible from the desktop of ordinary workers."
"But the cost of running these systems has, until now, been prohibitive," Morris-Cotterill observes.
"If a US bank finds that its correspondents have inadequate procedures, then they may close the account and report the fact to the US Treasury which may order that no US bank deals with that correspondent. If many banks in a country are regarded in this light, then there is a significant danger that an entire country may be locked out of the US Dollar network, which means severe limitations on trade and, ultimately, a financial crisis. This system, under which a country is named as 'of primary money laundering concern' has been adopted in relation to Nauru."
Morriss-Cotterill contends that it is the prohibitive cost of software that leads to widespread use of illegal copies - even in financial institutions - across the developing world. But, until now anyway, there was not a widely available affordable and practical alternative to Windows.
"The Anti Money Laundering Network's Malaysia company," he continues, "granted MSC Status by the Malaysian government for innovative technology companies, has developed a wide range of technology products to assist in detecting and deterring money laundering, customer identification and profiling and staff training."
"All have been developed especially with the Linux platform in mind: and are accessible from the new Java Desktop System," says Morris-Cotterill.
"The fact that Microsoft has decided to leave the developing world and small business, both of which still run on Windows 95, 98 and 98SE, behind when it comes to patching defects in the operating system is a motivator to purchase new versions of software which the organisations simply do not need. The cost of the entire Sun system including all necessary software, is less than the cost of upgrading just the Windows OS, even if other programs do not have to be upgraded. But there is also the likely additional cost of bringing in new or newer PCs to handle the demands of the latest OSs. The overall cost of making systems secure against virus, worm and other attacks, if businesses remain with Windows, is simply too much for many businesses," he adds.
In Morriss-Cotterill's view, the existing cost of software also drives crime: "The piracy of that software creates huge profits for organized crime world-wide and profits those profits are laundered. So we have a multi-faceted interest in affordable software," he concludes.