Moving with all the determination and tact of a Third World dictatorship, the United States government has contrived yet another measure to track and control the activities of all its citizens. This time it is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that is planning a "know your customer" rule which forces banks to spy on their customers and will potentially restrict cash transactions. This measure follows other police state proposals such as the national ID card, medical enumeration, and the airline passenger profiling system (CAPS) that went into operation January 1st of this year. As the Draconian year 2000 approaches, privacy-destroying laws seem to be propagating like rabbits.
Recent reports describe a forthcoming FDIC notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) entitled, "Minimum Security Devices and Procedures and Bank Secrecy Act Compliance." The summary on the first page reads in part:
As proposed, the regulation would require each nonmember bank to develop a program designed to determine the identity of its customers; determine its customers' source of funds; determine the normal and expected transactions of its customers; monitor account activity for transactions that are inconsistent with those normal and expected transactions; and report any transactions of its customers that are determined to be suspicious, in accordance with the FDIC's existing suspicious activity reporting regulation. By requiring insured nonmember banks to determine the identity of their customers, as well as to obtain knowledge regarding the legitimate activities of their customers, the proposed regulation will reduce the likelihood that insured nonmember banks will become unwitting participants in illicit activities conducted or attempted by their customers. It will also level the playing field between institutions that already have adopted formal "Know Your Customer" programs, and those that have not.
If enacted, this proposal will force banks, at their own expense, to develop a customer "profiling" mechanism that tracks the banking habits of all their customers. Banks already report transactions over $10,000, but the new requirement would apply to all "suspicious" activity as determined by the FDIC's profiling parameters. These parameters are mandated by the FDIC and given to the bank to implement in their own system.
According to the initial summary, the FDIC will require banks to determine the identity of its customers. Judging from the character of this proposed rule, this may well include biometric identifiers. A photo ID, such as a driver's license, is already required to open an account. The bank will have to determine where the customers' funds came from. These new requirements open up broad possibilities for interrogations like: "Where did you get this cash, Mr. Jones? This is not a payroll check. Can you tell us why and where you received it? I'm sorry, we had to report you to the DEA because you withdrew too much cash last Friday." Cash will be treated with suspicion, further stigmatizing it as something used only by drug dealers and criminals. Finally, banks will act as agents of the government, monitoring their customers' transactions and reporting them when they deviate from their established profile.
Profiling is the rage in governance today. A government bureaucrat arbitrarily decides what kinds of behavior indicate "illicit activity" and creates a "profile" or pattern from those factors. Huge volumes of data, bits and pieces of our everyday lives, are fed into computers that scan the information and look for patterns of activity that match those profiles. Once a person is "flagged" by a profiling system, he/she essentially must prove that he/she is innocent of wrongdoing. Profiling is practiced by some banks already, but "Know Your Customer" will make it mandatory for all.
The Christian Alert Network (TCAN), the organization which broke the news of the FDIC "Know Your Customer" proposal, also points to the trends in electronic deposits as something that will become universal. Electronic deposits are already mandatory for military retirees, requiring them to have a bank account to be paid. Soon all government payments will be made electronically, whether to military personnel, civilian employees, beneficiaries or vendors. TCAN is also predicting that new laws will soon be passed requiring that all employers pay their employees electronically.
The trends are headed ominously toward a cashless society where all transactions are controlled and monitored by the government. Smart, debit and credit cards will become the new legal tender. Opening a bank account, presenting federally approved identification and biometric data, and submitting to monitoring and profiling will be the only way to earn a living and purchase the necessities of life. This was confirmed by an anonymous bank branch president in an interview with WorldNet Daily . This banker predicted that new laws would soon limit cash transactions to $100 and that sometime in the near future all transactions would be handled electronically. The opportunities that technology has provided government and corporations for the micromanaging of every person is astounding.
At this point it should be noted that since the 1930's Americans have depended on a fiat paper currency that is not backed by gold or anything of value, except the faith people put in it. The new cashless system will further reduce money to a series of electronic impulses and computer ledger entries while completely removing any tangible control of it from its rightful owner. Money will never leave the bank -- accounts will merely be adjusted to reflect a transaction. With this in mind, we should consider the words of Robert H. Hemphill, former credit manager of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Georgia, whose warning about our worthless, debt-based paper currency is even more applicable now. He said:
This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks .... If the Banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon .
One month after the TWA flight 800 disaster, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13015 which established the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. Never one to miss an opportunity to advance the police state, President Clinton used the crash to launch a new "domestic security" initiative, even though there was no evidence that TWA 800 was brought down because of poor airport security. The public bought it and the job of "airline safety czar" was assigned to Vice-President Al Gore.
Gore's commission met and concluded, amid the frenzy of the still unsolved TWA disaster, that there exists an urgent need to track every single passenger who boards a commercial flight in the United States. Gore called for immediate implementation of the 1990 Aviation Security Improvement Act which requires airlines to keep comprehensive passenger manifests. Although the FAA doesn't specifically require airlines to check ID before boarding, they took the hint and started checking it anyway.
As of October 1, 1998, airlines started requesting passenger's next of kin and contact phone number on international flights leaving or arriving at U.S. destinations. There are also plans to request this on domestic flights in the near future. Even though at present this information is voluntary, critics foresee that it will become mandatory and will be included with social security numbers (SSNs), photographs, biometric identifiers and the like. All this, of course, is to notify your next of kin faster if you die in an air disaster and to guarantee your safety.
Family notification info and photo ID at check-in are converging with the Computer Assisted Passenger Screening System (CAPS), a centralized airline passenger database which is up and running as of January 1, 1998 . Northwest Airlines tested this passenger profiling system for the FAA in 1997, collecting over forty pieces of information about each passenger such as credit card numbers, home address and phone number, travel patterns, hotels, car rentals, expected length of stay at destination, traveling companions, whether the ticket was purchased in advance or shortly before departure, and if payment was made with cash or credit card .
The CAPS computer compares this personal information with secret profiles the government deems to be security risks. If you match one of those profiles -- perhaps you have an Arab surname or pay your fare in cash at the ticket counter -- CAPS will flag your name and the airline, acting in accordance with FAA directives but not burdened by constitutional restrictions will subject you to increased security measures.
Once you have been identified as a security threat, you may be subjected to intrusive personal questioning and a thorough search of your luggage in front of other passengers, being tagged with bright orange tape, physically escorted from ticket counter to airport gate by security personnel, or refused service -- all in full view of other passengers. This may happen because you fit a secret profile which is based on everyday, non-criminal activity.
Al Gore's commission report also proposed that the massive CAPS database be linked with law enforcement databases, greatly expanding the volume of information available on each passenger. For such a system to profile passengers effectively, critics claim, the government would have to create a file, or dossier, on every potential passenger in the United States . That includes everyone. The main component for this dossier already exists with the SSN. When SSNs finally become part of air travel (for our own safety, of course) it will dovetail conveniently with another DOT requirement -- that all state drivers' licenses display the bearer's SSN, biometric information, and a scannable bar code or magnetic strip.
Within a few months air travelers could be offered faster check-in. Imagine -- just run your federally approved driver's license through the scanner and put your palm on the reader. The airline computer instantly queries the CAPS database, verifies your biometric data and SSN, queries the FBI's NCIC computer for a background check, compares your itinerary to previous flights you've taken, reports your hotel and car reservation, enters your full name, date of birth, SSN and name and phone number of next of kin into the passenger manifest and other data fields. Within seconds (provided you are a normal person and haven't tripped any flags) you have completed the FAA's security requirements for boarding.
By dangling funds for welfare and child support enforcement programs, the federal government has enticed many states into requiring SSNs for all state-issued licenses including occupation, hunting, fishing, and, of course, driver's licenses. States that take the federal bait must also require employers to report the name, address, SSN and wage information of new employees within a few days of hire. The states funnel this information into the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) at Health and Human Services in Washington, which maintains the National Directory of New Hires. This is one of the largest databases ever kept by a government on its people.
Following federal measures to catch so-called deadbeat parents came another measure to ostensibly deal with illegal immigration. Buried in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (1996) is section 656(b) which requires all states to issue driver's licenses that comply with federal standards by October 1, 2000. Along with the bearer's SSN, the license must display biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, retina scans and DNA prints. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already published the requirements for the "Driver's License/SSN/National Identification Document" which sets out the rules for state issued identity documents.
Due to public outcry Congress delayed funding for the new DOT driver's license requirements for one year. This delay will in no way diminish the progress of information gathering done at HHS, which is every bit as intrusive and Orwellian as the proposed national ID card. No matter how you slice it, federal government computers are already tracking where we live, work, how much we make and, before long, watching and controlling what we buy and sell.
Assured that their government is taking strong action against terrorists, deadbeats and drug dealers, most Americans have failed to note their country's fundamental shift. There was a time when your name entered police records in a limited number of instances, e.g., if you were a suspect or a victim of a crime. Criminal records were only kept on those persons that had been convicted in a court of law for a specific crime.
The shift was almost imperceptible because it was supported by advances in technology and leveraged by convenience -- the highest good in our society today. State and federal records are merging, as are the various classes of records -- occupational and driver's licenses with child support records, criminal records with occupational, selective service and income tax with child support, passenger profiling with airline reservations and criminal records -- just to name a few examples. The great task of making all these records available electronically requires the standardization of forms, which is required by the GATT. It also requires a unique identifier for every man, woman and child. This identifier is the social security number which the GATT requires be assigned to every child at birth.
It is becoming impossible to function as a member of this society without surrendering information that should be personal -- data that is fed into centralized government records and used to monitor your behavior. It is not evidence of any criminal wrongdoing that interests the government about you -- it is the fact that you exist. Every man, woman and child must be subject to this gigantic electronic fishing expedition. You are investigated, not after a crime has occurred and you are somehow involved, but because a computer profile has pointed the finger of suspicion at you and based its assessment of your non-criminal habits. The burden now rests on you to prove your innocence and because the punishment may mean being interrogated and searched at the airport, harassed at the bank, or your cash or automobile being seized by a drug task force, you may never have your day in court unless you go to the expense of hiring a lawyer to sue. In short, all are searched and tracked and those accused are guilty until proven innocent. This is what it means to live in a police state.
police state: a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in the place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures. -- Merriam Webster's Dictionary
Politicians, bureaucrats and news anchors all tell us about the wonderful new tools being developed in the "war on crime." We'll all be safer from fraud, terrorism, and drug dealers who want to sell drugs to our children. Deadbeats and tax evaders will be forced to pay what they owe, and the world will be a safer, better place. These are lies, lies, lies. All lies!
Computer profiles, numeric identifiers, tracking every person from cradle to grave -- this is all about controlling people, not fighting crime. Once this massive surveillance and debit card system is in place the governing elite will naturally expand their definition of crime. For example, the "human rights" tribunal in Canada has the power to prosecute "hate crimes", a term loosely defined as words or actions that cause hatred or contempt of a special, identifiable group. Questioning the official version of history, speaking out against abortion or homosexuality, shielding your children from the perversity of multi-cultural studies, or maintaining a strict biblical worldview -- these acts could all be construed as "hate crimes." Your church or family may be classed as anti-government since you do not willingly voice the opinion of the politically correct, but oppose it.
Once Americans are placed under these tribunals and financial transactions are limited to debit cards, technology will undoubtedly enable these kangaroo courts to impose economic sanctions against individuals who commit hate crimes. "We're sorry, Mr. Jones" reads the screen of a point-of-sale terminal at Safeway, "Your debit card has been reclassified by the sanctions bureau. Reason: hate speech violation during gay pride day, failure to complete diversity training as ordered by the human rights tribunal. Status: rations cut to five pounds of beans per month, no other purchases permitted including gasoline." While methods may vary from this illustration, we may be certain they will exceed our worst nightmare. Technology is now being used to reach that ancient objective of absolute power.
The Holy Bible uses the imagery of wild beasts to describe earthly governments. These beasts are powerful creatures with fangs, claws and horns. Naturally, they live by the laws of brute force and have no ability to reason. A beast of the apocalypse accurately portrays the entrenched socialist establishment that rules the world today. They have nothing but contempt for God-given rights and the rule of law. The only law they know is that of force -- a diabolical mind-set that will once again lead them to exterminate millions in the name of their statist religion.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16,18.
When this beast attempts to number and track all human beings for the sake of controlling their lives and their beliefs, this number is called a "mark" which is meant to control what we think (in our forehead) and what we do (in our hand). The Bible teaches obedience to civil authority until the "beast" tries to take the place of God and put his mark of ownership on us. When that happens we are enjoined by the Bible to commit civil disobedience and refuse "the mark." Like the three Hebrew men in the book of Daniel, we cannot bow before the image of the beast and give the worship that is reserved for God alone. Only He who numbers the hairs on our head -- the Creator of our species and Originator of our rights -- alone possesses the right to watch and record our every action. The Bible warns:
If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of his anger ... and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Revelation 14:9-11.
Banking Institutions Lower the Boom on All Accounts
Letter to The WINDS on the FDIC "know your customer" proposed law.
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