Wednesday, September 26, 2018

HR 6729 expands Patriot Act surveillance powers

House to Vote on 'Human Trafficking' Bill That Strengthens PATRIOT Act Spying - Hit & Run : - Elizabeth Nolan Brown:

September 24, 2018 - "A new bill that borrows language from the PATRIOT Act promises to nab human traffickers using the same surveillance techniques that law introduced to catch terrorists and their associates. We all know how that went... Now, legislators like Rep. Ann Wagner (R–Mo.) hope we won't notice if they feed us the same liberty-poisoning bologna with a new excuse.

"It's 'a disguised effort to expand the #PatriotAct,' tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) on Saturday. 'GOP leaders put "Fight Human Trafficking" in the title to conceal the bill's true purpose: to give the government more power to unconstitutionally spy on law-abiding Americans without a warrant.'

"Wagner's bill (H.R. 6729) — the deceptively named "Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act" of 2018 — is the latest in a long line of assaults on civil liberties disguised as attacks on the biggest crime panic of the decade, sex trafficking. Wagner [also] brought us the SAVE Act in 2015 and FOSTA in 2018, both of which take aim at online anonymity, web publishing, social media, sex workers, and free speech under the guise of saving children....

"H.R. 6729 would allow financial institutions, federal regulatory bodies, nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement to share customer bank records between them without running afoul of rules regarding consumer privacy and without opening themselves up to lawsuits.... But these entities need not demonstrate that the 'sharing was made on a good faith basis,' according to the current text of the bill....

"Cops working specific cases or pursing specific suspects can already obtain their financial records by going through court channels and using the subpoena process. What they want here is access to wide swaths of (subsequently shareable) financial data on customers accused of no crimes and facing no charges. And they want this data to be served up proactively by bank staffers ... and by nonprofits, who would be empowered to share information gleaned through the provision of social services.

"The language echoes Section 314 of the PATRIOT Act [which] was used by authorities to demand all sorts of information from banks. It also led banks to start dropping people with Middle Eastern surnames.... Jeff A. Taylor wrote here at Reason in 2004 [that] Section 314 turned out to be a 'ticking time-bomb for anyone a buttoned-down banker might consider suspicious'.... It would go on to be used ... as an all-purpose way for the feds to [monitor] random consumer financial transactions. A 2016 bill to directly expand Section 314 of the Patriot Act was narrowly defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives.....

"Introduced on September 6, Wagner's new bill has already received a first vote by the House Committee on Financial Services (44 for, five against) and five co-sponsors.... A full House vote is scheduled for Wednesday."

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1 comment:

  1. September 27, 2018 - "WASHINGTON • On the eve of the furor over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing Thursday, the U.S. House passed Rep. Ann Wagner’s bill, 'Empower Financial Institutions In the Fight Against Human Trafficking.'” - Chuck Raasch, St. Louis Post- Dispatch