Thoughts on the Big Brother Chatroom Ban

No one I know in Singapore is making a big deal out of the NSA scandal even as Indonesians burn the Australian flag in protest.

Big Brother has come to the banking world now. Banks are blocking employees from using on line social chatrooms and I see my chatrooms with friends whittle away. Today a local bank’s turn, as I was informed.

The gist is something like this.
“The memo states UBS prohibits the use of social chat rooms. The memo also states that all chat facilities must have an assigned managing director-level UBS ‘owner’, who is permanently on the chat moderating and is responsible for the membership, content and behavior in the room.‬”–sector.html

Hedge funds are doing the same with strictly business only chats that is supervised. Client chats are still permitted for sales desks but no 1 on 1 chats allowed.

The rules are still evolving but as far as I can see, its probably missing the point.

The traders who are collaborating, if they still exist, have long since stopped using chatrooms especially after the initial scandal. Whatsapp chatrooms have been favoured for quite a while.

Besides, banks are all located in the same areas and most people just skip out for coffee or to make that call on the mobile outside the office (even in the pantry area or the toilets ?).

Don’t you think all this supervision just creates more paranoia ? To punish the majority for the acts of a minority ?

I have heard that some traders in London were told that they were not allowed to own a personal mobile line. That was earlier this year. But surely they can use their moms’ ? Why not putting tracking devices, wire taps and bugs on them ? Because that friendly coffee, lunch and drinks after work will still continue.

And do we really think it will reduce temptation ? Hardly so, when the money is still dangling like a carrot in the air.

JP Morgan paying the record fines has effectively bought themselves a future license to kill. Because the slate is clean and there is nothing to fault if the new rules are kept. And the best part is that the supervision will largely be from within, from the new “secret police” department which brings us back to the days of the cold war, Stalin, the German Gestapo. Aren’t we becoming more like China ?

I was always aware of the Big Brother concept and never took my liberty for granted. But then again, what is the harm in a little chit chat ?