back to article Spooks scour gambling sites in terror finance probe

The security services are running 23 ongoing investigations into the exploitation of gambling websites to finance terrorism. The revelation shows the online gaming industry is still vulnerable, and a prime target for criminals and terrorists, even after being at the centre of the conviction of the man described as the " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    You WHAT?

    Let me get this straight: Convicted cyber-felons and those who have used teh interwebs to incite violence are allowed 'net access to pretty much anywhere they want, on laptops, in their cells?

    Anyone else seeing an issue here?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      If I was warden, I'd call that a biomechanical honeypot and wring every possible bit of information from the situation. Indeed he shows great stupidity in doing anything criminal on a network he has no control over, let alone with a machine he's not installed from the ground up himself. Serves the twat right.

      Of course, with the current police farce at the helm it was probably a fluke that he was caught.

  2. Juan Inamillion


    Did I miss something here:

    "The three men convicted, for inciting people to commit murder through their extremist websites "...

    "and that al-Daour had been accessing 17 gaming sites while in Belmarsh prison.".... "Al -Daour was caught making a website in his cell at Belmarsh urging terror attacks."

    Ahem. Can anyone explain to me WHY they had access to computers at all in prison and if that's not a problem, why there access wasn't restricted and/or monitored? Because, correct me if I'm wrong, these arseholes are convicted criminals, FFS.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nothing wrong with having computer access

      You cannot even send greetings to relatives nowdays without it. We have became so dependant on the Internet and computers that such bans are outright impractical nowdays.

      The question is - who is the incompetent imbecile who has set up a computer system in a penal institution so it allows access to gambling sites (especially for a convict with a gambling fraud conviction). Actually who runs HM IT contract... EDS. Aaa... That explains things. No need to say anything more here.

      1. Cameron Colley

        Greeting to relatives? That's what a pen and paper are for.

        These people are convicted criminals and are supposed to be locked away for the protection of society. Prisoners should be locked away from the outside world, that's the point of prison.

        OK, give them Playstations and Sky TV to keep them from going mad, keep them quiet, and so on -- but don't let them communicate with the society they are supposed to be excluded from for hte duration of their sentence.

  3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Nobody cares about gaming industry laundering money for criminals.

    You can be sure - if the Government screams about "terrist financing" that means they want to tax a particular industry more but don't have laws to do that, so they organise a large scare to give MPs a populist reason to agree to pass the new law.

    If it's not Goverment (but perhaps BPI) then it's a particular industry upping its lobbying efforts using the same tools.

  4. Richard Jukes

    Considering staying in Britian this year for your holiday?

    Are you considering staying in Britain this year for your holiday? Why not try our luxery 5 Star Break at Belmarsh Prison. All rooms come with the latest entertainment equipment - PS3, TV and Laptops...

    The night life is amazing, with plenty of different cultures and even an active 'gay night life'...

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    How Crime Pays for ITs Own SMART AIVXXXXine Cure

    "Together they still had 190 pre-paid credit cards still in circulation, with balances of £10,000 on each card." .... That means that there would be £1.900.000 available for Cyber Defence and Security Spending ...... Deposited Cash Balances for SMARTer ReInvestment in Remedially Lucrative Projects ...... Virtual Space Special Ops ... with some XXXXStreamly Colourful Characters Chasing Ever Improving Dreams in NIRobotICQ Systems..

    Networks InterNetworking Advancing IntelAIgents for XSSXXXXChange Students Majoring in Deae Dominae

  6. Bryce Prewitt
    Thumb Down

    How about legalizing online gambling?

    You know, then all the poker sites don't have to operate overseas and use sorta shady "banks" to provide deposit/withdrawal services.

    Our government is fucking "retarded" sometimes.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Someone give that man

    a job in Govt.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the .....

    Fuck has this scummy terrorist got a laptop in prison for ????. Are the Prison service now called "HM Hospitality" and competing with Premier Inns, OR are the Prison Warders scared of the prisoners. They should not have access to the outside world AT ALL.

    This Govt is beyond me, total incompetents.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What scaring are you talking about? There is money to be made. Always was, always will. A nice addition to the final salary pension...

  9. Charlie Campbell

    More Info

    I've been wondering why more of this hasn't been going on. Casinos have always been great ways to launder money, and now you don't even have to do it in person, you can do it from the privacy and anonymity of your couch, through a proxy. I authored a paper on the subject of online terrorist finance if anybody wants to learn more, its posted on my blog at the end of my summary of this story here:

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Birthday paradox and "security" services

    "It also came to light that on an unnamed credit card company's database, all three men came up as clients, along with 17 others whose date of birth, nationality and first name matched the convicted three. "

    One has to wonder whether a basic mathematical statistics course is a requirement for being an investigator in those so-called security services. Let's take myself: I am from a medium-size nation of 200 million or so. Let's assume that it's population is static, the life expectancy at birth is 80 years, and all dates of birth is equally likely. Then, approximately 2e8/(80*365) or some 6500 people would share my date of birth. My first name is not particularly uncommon, with about 5% of males in my country sharing it. Which means that about 150 people will share my day of birth, nationality, first name, and gender.

    Given that the number of significant credit card issuers in any given country is quite small - let's say twenty - and that people tend to have more than one credit card these days, the chances are any one of these credit card issuers has ten customers which share my date of birth, gender, and the first name.

    And now, assuming I were to do something bad, these people would have their credit cards frozen, and their names flagged in some mega-database of suspicious characters - most likely with no way to get removed from that database, and with no legal remedy available whatsoever.

    Nice. That's the way to go.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: How about legalizing online gambling?

    Gambling online is legal and lawful in the UK Bryce, winnings are untaxed... Personally I like poker.

    The companies are located offshore so they can make more money I imagine, by avoiding being in a heavily taxed country and as a side benefit they can access business even from countries where gambling activities may be illegal (e.g. the U.S. which has the UIGEA for example).

  12. Dave Bell

    How different are prisoners on remand, awaiting trial?

    It's already been said that it would be too easy, if the police didn't like you, to end up in prison, awaiting trial, while an n"investigation" continues.

    Given what this guy was charged with, letting him have free access to the internet was a big mistake. Given what can be found on the internet, uncontrolled access by anyone in prison would be a big mistake. But if there's a prison library, should we be cutting them off from Wikipedia?

    Let's leave easy answers to the Daily Mail.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black Helicopters existence challenged by former Intelligence Analyst

    A petition designed to challenge Gordon Brown to deny or confirm the existence of UK Military approved unmarked (black) helicopter harrassment has sneaked into the Number 10 online Petitions under the name blackhelicopters.

    Obviously it may be interesting to see what the response of the PM is to the offer of debating the matter in public like any other and to punish the agencies responsible appropriately if found guilty - it is illegal, after all.

    As of February 7th only 6 people have signed so far, perhaps the low turnout can be blamed on the fact you have to give the government your name and address to protest about this government harrassment?!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    World Check?

    Makes money out of exploiting fear of terrorism.

    Be Afraid, But Give Us Your Money is their mission statement, apparently.

  15. Tom 35
    Thumb Down

    Step 2

    Now that they are well under way with their plan to deal with evil porn and cartoons (think of the children) the next step is to deal with evil gambling (it funds terrorists). They will tax the sites they can reach, and join the US in trying to ban the "extreme" gambling sites that can't reach.

    Maybe set up some new lottos too.

  16. Emma Summers

    Net access versus mobile phones in prison

    It strikes me as totally insane that the prison service introduced the BOSS chair see,22,6,22,0,0 but then lets cons have laptops with net access. It never ceases to amaze me the lack of joined up thinking by those in management - ohhhhh no they can't have mobile phones that would be bad, lets give them laptops instead...! It's a shame they did give them net access TBH I could just imagine Lester having fun with the story, when the "BOSS" discovered a con "ASPIREing" to net access from inside.

    Mine is the one with the scrubbing brush and bleach in the pocket to cleanse my mind...!

  17. h 6


    Serious Organised Crime Agency

    as opposed to the non-serious organised crime agency?

  18. Martin Nicholls

    We have to...

    be EXTREMELY careful with anything related to the FBI and gambling. Certianly no British taxpayer funds can go into any joint investigations for some really obvious reasons.

    FBI aka US Federal Govt logic dictates (attachements to the SAFE Port Act) that if you're involved in gambling you must be a terrorist - which has led to some seriously bizzare arrests and convictions which are retroactive punishments which are illegal in the EU.

    Essentially the FBI can't be trusted with anything our police dig up, such information should be kept clear away from them until at least the relevent EU v US WTO cases are dealt with.

    "Casinos have always been great ways to launder money, and now you don't even have to do it in person, you can do it from the privacy and anonymity of your couch, through a proxy"

    The money laundering regs exist for a reason and the cover such establishments. There's data pushed around and checks can be and often are done (as an online gambler - poker is my thing - I've had money laundering checks done several times). The issues are likely to be related to US cards for example where the checks can't be reliably done.

    A lot of the big casinos are UK and related countries listed, if you think they don't get audited (a few are listed on the FTSE) you're out of your mind.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Here I am slaving away 9-5 wishing I could have some more time with a laptop.

  20. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Gambling sites laundering money...

    Why do I have a mental picture of a tumble dryer divided into 36 red and black segments?

    1. Wommit
      Thumb Up

      You forgot

      The two (US wheel) green slots.

  21. Mcgauze

    You gotta love HMP

    With every F**ker inside getting the latest tech, is it any wonder the crime rate isn't going down. I mean you get so much more inside than your giro can ever purchase!!!

    WTF is going on people with laptops accessing tinterweb, facebook gambling sites etc, surely these c**ts should be doing a hard days labour and paying society back for their crimes!

    Bloody govt and their idea that the softly softly approach is the way to help them get out of a life of crime. How much tax payers money is wasted on tvs consoles laptops etc for crims each year, yet we have NHS cuts on spending and closure of AnE depts!!!!! aaaaahhhh

    And why does HMP buy a cell tower for the prison, stick it on the roof pump up the wattage and have any illegal phone pair to that isolated tower and thus unable to call anyone. Or build a faraday cage around the Cell block, you think with all that fencing and barb wire it wouldnt be a step too far.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Think sneaky folks...

    If I was in charge, I'd allow access to any silly sod that wanted it, on machines we provided specially, and use proper close monitoring to gain extra intelligence. I wouldn't say a thing, just admit that 'It appears we do allow prisoners unfettered access, and are currently reviewing the situation in the light of events' when the media get to find out. The last thing you'd want is the prisoners cottoning on that they definitely are monitored 24/7.

    Playing dumb can sometimes pay off. However all this is academic as I'm sure it's far beyond the wit of any Government. And can you imagine getting the Prison Service talking to MI5?

  23. Guy Herbert
    Black Helicopters

    What strikes me as odd is...

    (Leave aside that they have less screened internet access in prison than most lawyers do at work.)

    They'd taken more than a million apiece, yet seemingly failed to sponsor any actual terrorism. Terrorism is cheap. 9/11 was estimated to have cost about $250,000 all-in.

    Perhaps they were posturing shysters preying on the slavering jihadi community for aid and support and credibility, in somewhat the same way Bernie Madoff used the super rich Jewish charity circuit - only just a bit down-market.

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