Offshore Management Alliance
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55 Street, El Cangrejo, Building Renaissance 15th Floor
Panama City, Republic of Panama
Tel: +011 (507) 263-0649
Fax: +011 (507) 265-8534
800 Line: 1-866-588-1728


Communication Privacy

Since the purpose of doing business offshore is to keep your affairs away from prying eyes, it follows that, since communication between onshore and offshore is a necessity, precautions must be taken to preserve this privacy. Computers are a handy device for transmitting instructions by way of electronic mail, but they are also vulnerable to prying eyes. For those who do not use a computer, we offer a "mail-drop" with a U.S. address. Computer users, read on.

In the early 1900's a senior British naval officer stuffily remarked that "gentlemen do not read other gentlemen's mail" and therefore the Royal Navy had no need to use codes! He was wrong, and reading other gentlemen's mail has become something of an art form.

Electronic eavesdropping is a highly developed science today and the advent of the Internet has raised all sorts of ghosts and goblins in the minds of those doing business offshore through that medium. Encryption has become a buzz-word, but, before you rush out and put your money down for a copy of PGP, there are a number of things to take into consideration. The writers of books on doing business offshore should probably be getting royalties from the purveyors of encryption processes, most of which are, in our opinion, of little value and may do more harm than good in the offshore arena.

Firstly, what messages are you going to send to your offshore managers? Most of the ones we receive are so cryptic in themselves that they would mean little to any third party reading them. Names are not necessary, account numbers suffice and instructions are confirmed by telephone. Any interceptor can clearly identify the sender and the receiver on an E-mail so it is possible to establish that A is talking to B offshore. However, with the volume of E-mail traffic this is not of great interest by itself unless there are factors to arouse suspicion.

When the listener (perhaps a Government Agency) intercepts an encrypted message, it means, quite clearly, that the correspondents have something to hide. Interest is aroused even though the contents may be undecipherable. Arousing the interest of the Authorities is the last thing you need to do if you have an offshore business.

Secondly, few of the encryption processes are convenient to use. Few work "on the fly" and most need some file juggling to read or write. This is fine if you enjoy playing at spymaster work but it is a royal pain when it comes to running a business with any volume of E-mail. As a courtesy to our clients we run PGP but it is hardly our favorite way of reading our mail and it is computer labor intensive. Since this page was first published, PGP Version 6.5 has been introduced which is a tremendous improvement and enables us to handle the decryption more easily. However, HushMail, (the basic programme is free) is a vast improvement and in fact incorporates PGP encryption in its interface. If you feel that you need to use such a system, this is the one to get and you can down load it for free from However, we will not accept instructions by way of E-mail - we must have a signed hard copy.

The Internet is an invaluable medium for E-mail but the possibilities for interception are endless (each message transits a number of way-station computers, any one of which could be a listening post and, even worse, retain your message in its files) and your identity is there for all the world to see no matter how many encryptions you may make although Hushmail gets around this by the use of (applets). Thus, when using E-mail, be discreet and keep your message short. Cryptic messages are hard to comprehend even when transmitted in plain language - remember the Sherlock Holmes story of "The Dancing Men"? - Old Sherlock was unable to decipher the first few messages because they were too short. Only when he intercepted a long one was he able to crack the code.

How, then, do you send your messages in privacy? The old-fashioned telephone is pretty good. For an Agency to get a legal wire-tap on your phone takes some effort on their part and you must have been a very naughty boy (or girl) to warrant that much attention. In any case, there are plenty of devices on the market to detect whether your phone line is being bugged.

This also means that the fax machine is pretty secure. The only proviso is that we recommend you turn off the header on your machine just in case the document gets misrouted. Technically it's illegal in the U.S. to transmit a fax without a header but we won't tell. The routing is direct from your fax to ours with no stops along the way, making interception virtually impossible. From our point of view, there is the advantage that we receive a hard copy, the only type of instructions we will accept. For even greater privacy, we provide a toll-free number for fax and voicemail on 011-507-265-8534.

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