Thursday, April 28, 2005

Big Brother is watching your money

Here's another bit of the Patriot Act (a bleeding misnamed pile of stinking chicken crap if there ever was one) that most of us may have missed--the Feds want to track the flow of our finances in much greater detail.

Of course, this is all for our own protection from the terrorists. It couldn't have anything to do with causing

...even citizens with no criminal intent or ties will have to become more efficient law abiders, bank officials said. Small breaches of the law, or just indifference, will no longer go unnoticed.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but somehow I don't think this is an unintended consequence of trying to track money laundering by terrorists. I think this is a completely desired side effect. Sure they catch some terrorists (some of the stupid ones, anyway), but I will wager that they will catch far more "regular folks" who may or may not be doing anything wrong:

For example, Tripathi said, the software will remember that a customer is a 30-year-old engineer who is paid on the fifth of every month.

"It will study the profiles of other engineers in the same age group and build a pattern based on common traits like, say, the monthly periodicity of salary," said Tripathi. "If another customer comes along, says he is an engineer and receives deposits every week, the software will raise what we call a red flag. He is suspect."

Tripathi is Hanuman Tripathi, managing director of InfrasoftTech, and Indian firm hoping to get a piece of this software gold mine. And given the amount of overseas outsourcing going on it the information technology area, I'll just bet a lot of this processing work will take place in India as well. But I'm sure that our personal financial information will be well protected, just like Citibank's is with their Indian outsourcing partner.

It looks like we're going to have to watch our backs in more ways than one.

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