Sweet! Unelected And Unaccountable Department To Have Your Bank Records

Personally, I am always amused at how Democrats position themselves through words as paragons of civil liberties, yet, when push comes to legislation, privacy and protection from government goes right out the window

The next time you make a withdrawal from an automated teller machine, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner might be watching over your shoulder. Boosted by the sweeping, 1,400-page financial regulatory proposal currently making its way through the Senate, Mr. Geithner would have unprecedented, real-time access to a wealth of personal and corporate financial data – all in the name of protecting the public.

The legislation, sponsored by Senate banking committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, would create the innocuously named Office of Financial Research as a central repository for transaction-related records held by financial companies. According to proponents, “decision-makers” like Mr. Geithner need up-to-the-minute information to act in order to prevent what they refer to as another Wall Street meltdown. The proposed agency would also provide statistical analysis and research, purportedly to monitor systemic risk to the financial system.

And all without any sort of warrant.

Yet the details of the proposal show that this new agency’s mission is not meant to be limited to improving the quality of financial data. Mr. Dodd’s legislation would grant the agency director the coercive power of subpoena to obtain records and rulemaking authority to force private-sector firms to maintain their internal financial records in a format acceptable to the government. The legislation also grants sweeping authority to maintain a data center that would collect and maintain “all data necessary” to carry out the director’s wishes. Needless to say, the government’s history of losing hard drives and laptops filled with sensitive information suggests entrusting more to a federal agency is not a smart idea.

Waiting for the ALCU to jump in in 3….2…..wait, they aren’t? There is nothing on the ACLU website, nor do we find any articles by searching “ACLU Office Of Financial Research”? I thought they would be rather upset about the government giving unelected and unaccountable people (who are going to get paid quite a lot to do the job) the ability to data mine our personal financial records. As the American Spectator points out, the data would also not be protected and confidential, and could be shared across government agencies. No, no, nothing could possibly go wrong.

“As we read this legislation, the CFPB could mine for whatever data they want, bank card activities of a subset of American citizens, credit card debt and payment patterns, who is spending money on whatever,” says a Senate committee source. “And if the business community isn’t already scared out of their minds, they should be.”

In one example the staffer raised, the Obama Administration-created agency might want to track whether U.S. consumers “were spending too much” or cutting into savings rates. “They could, as we read the bill, monitor your spending habits, and it’s not clear what that agency could or could not do with the data,” says the aide.

I’m still waiting to find any liberal who is upset with this. They pitched hissy fits over listening to overseas calls between non-Americans without a warrant, let’s just call them terrorists, yet, crickets on this. Shocker!

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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