Friday, June 10, 2005

Big Brother?

Legislation is moving through Congress to renew 16 provisions of the USA Patriot Act that will expire at the end of this year.

The USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) was deemed necessary by 9/11 and was signed into law just 45 days after the 2001 attacks. The act includes provisions that make it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share information and allows for expanded wiretap and search capabilities.

In my work in the financial services industry, the Patriot Act requires much more information and documentation on clients and their money. New clients need to provide us with extensive information about themselves, their resources, their financial assets and employment. Certain types of transactions are reported to the federal government and we're very reluctant to open accounts for non-U.S. citizens or to wire funds to accounts outside the U.S.

How has the Patriot Act affected your job? Has it had any impact on your civil liberties or the liberties of anyone you know? Should these 16 provisions due to expire be made permanent?

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