Maybe I need to get out more, but I found the customer identification regulations of the USA PATRIOT Act to be fascinating reading. These regulations define how financial institutions are required to capture and verify customer information to help prevent money laundering in support of terrorism, drug trafficking and other criminal activities. The document is online at http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/reports/326finalrulebanks.pdf.

What makes the document interesting is that, in addition to the rules themselves, it describes comments received on the original draft regulations and adjustments made in response. Because we can assume the initial proposals, comments and final resolutions were all carefully thought through, this gives us an earnest and intelligent discussion of a complex information management project. Indeed, the document reinforces lessons that are often taught but too frequently ignored.

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