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Consumer Protection or Big Brother is Watching

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 26, 2010 11:30 AM |

I am all for financial regulatory reform, but as I wrote the other day I do not trust Washington. I witness further reason not to trust the wizards in Washington after reviewing a gem buried in the Senate’s version of financial regulatory reform.

You likely will not see this in the mainstream media, but thanks to CNS News for reporting Senate Democrats Pass Bill Allowing Government to Collect Addresses, ATM Records of Bank Customers:

Senate Democrats united to pass a financial regulatory bill that allows the government to collect data on any person operating in financial markets at any level, including the collection of personal transaction records from local banks that list customers’ addresses and ATM receipts.

Why would Uncle Sam possibly need this information? If there are reasons to investigate criminal activity, I am sure officials can gain access to needed information very quickly. So why would they need this information for each and every American citizen?

The Senate voted 59-39 on Thursday to pass the bill, the chief aim of which is to more-heavily regulate the financial industry. The bill now goes to a conference committee in the House of Representatives, where differences between the House and Senate versions will be ironed out.

The bill, if it becomes law, would create the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and empower it to “gather information and activities of persons operating in consumer financial markets,” including the names and addresses of account holders, ATM and other transaction records, and the amount of money kept in each customer’s account.

The new bureaucracy is then allowed to “use the data on branches and [individual and personal] deposit accounts … for any purpose” and may keep all records on file for at least three years and these can be made publicly available upon request.


I would love to hear the rationale behind this aspect of financial regulatory reform.

As I stated earlier, I am all for real financial regulatory reform of Wall Street and banking. I don’t see, however, why this information is critically important to the pursuit of that goal. To be perfectly frank, I do not doubt for a second that all of our personal lives are truly open books, but for Uncle Sam to be so bold as to put this language in the financial regulatory reform takes the blatant intrusion of government into our personal lives to an entirely new level.

Do you trust Uncle Sam?

I don’t.


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