Alex Massie

The Costs of Closed Borders

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There are many reasons to read James Fallows' Atlantic article on what happens when your email is hacked (and anyyone who uses gmail should definitely read it) but buried within it is this snippet on the

In “The Chilling Story of Genius in a Land of Chronic Unemployment,” this past May in TechCrunch, Sarah Lacy portrayed a number of the hackers she had met in Lagos. In other circumstances, she said, the best of them might have been like Sergey Brin or Max Levchin, the immigrants who co-founded Google and PayPal, respectively. They were that clever and technically gifted. Or, more modestly, they could have been like the engineers and managers I’ve met over the years at Google, Microsoft, Intel, and other companies, at least half of whom were born and raised overseas. But these hacking entrepreneurs couldn’t get out of Nigeria, and so they dealt with the outside world via “Mugged in Madrid” messages. Shreyas Doshi, a Google senior project manager, said that the company had run analyses to see how much money the scams might produce. “With a variety of assumptions, we believe they could easily make about $500 a day, if not more,” he said; that many people fall for these scams.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternationalimmigrationnigeria