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Alas, we can’t rewind America – or can we?

Posted by on October 4, 2016.

Late last summer my son called me from Seattle to let me know that he would be making a cash deposit to my bank to repay a small loan I had given him over the summer. An hour later, he called back stating that my ridiculous expletive deleted bank would not accept a cash deposit to my personal account unless he was an owner or a signer. I asked him “why not?” He mumbled something about Chase’s policy against money laundering and potential criminal activities.

Rewind America

House Bill 195

Rewind time to 2011 when Louisiana passed (the now defunct) short-lived House Bill 195. This insane law prohibited anyone who “buys, sells, trades or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property [from entering] into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of [such items].”

When 195 was initially written—anyone who held more than one sinister garage sale a month could have been swallowed up in a whirling vortex of political knuckle-dragger nonsense.

Secondhand dealer defined:

A.(1) Every person in this state engaged in the business of buying, selling, trading in, or otherwise acquiring or disposing of junk or used or secondhand property, including but not limited to jewelry, silverware, diamonds, precious metals, ferrous materials, catalytic converters, auto hulks, copper, copper wire, copper alloy, bronze, zinc, aluminum other than in the form of cans, stainless steel, nickel alloys, or brass, whether in the form of bars, cable, ingots, rods, tubing, wire, wire scraps, clamps or connectors, railroad track materials, water utility materials, furniture, pictures, objects of art, clothing, mechanic’s tools, carpenter’s tools, automobile hubcaps, automotive batteries, automotive sound equipment such as radios, CB radios, stereos, speakers, cassettes, compact disc players, and similar automotive audio supplies, used building components, and items defined as cemetery artifacts is a secondhand dealer. Anyone, other than a nonprofit entity, who buys,sells, trades in, or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property more frequently than once per month from any other person, other than a nonprofit entity, shall be deemed as being engaged in the business of a secondhand dealer.

Failure to comply:

A first offense would have netted a fine of not less than $250 or imprisonment of 30 days and not more than 60 days, or both. A second offense upped the ante to $2000 or with imprisonment (with or without hard labor) for more than two years or both. The third (or subsequent) offense would have imposed a fine of 10,000 dollars or less and imprisonment (with or without hard labor) for not more than five years or both.

Though the controversial parts of House Bill 195 was removed in 2012—it boggles the human mind that a measure like this even passed approval by the Louisiana senate in 2011.

Chase’s Money laundering hyperbolized

According to Chase’s website: only account owners and signers are able to make cash deposits to a personal account, and for those who make cash deposits, customers will need to be prepared to show an ID.

Long before banks began requiring photo IDs to deposit cash into an account—there was a time in our history when a third-party could deposit cash into any customer’s personal account without showing identification. Those days are gone.

As paper money evaporates from our pockets and the whole country—even world—becomes enveloped by the cashless society, financial censorship could become pervasive, unbarred by any meaningful legal rights or guarantees. —The Atlantic

Choking off the channels

During the fall of 2014, U.S. investigators from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asked the nation’s largest banks to tighten policies on accepting cash deposits in order to “choke off the financial channels of human smugglers.”

“The department has also met on several occasions with national banks to discuss the possibility of amending their policies on cash deposits so that the institutions
record identifying data on some depositors without signatory authority over the accounts or turn those individuals away, according to a DHS official who spoke on
condition of anonymity.” —ACAMS | Colby Adams, Kira Zalan

According to ACAMS: DHS met with national banks on several occasions to “discuss the possibility of amending their policies on cash deposits so that the institutions record identifying data on some depositors without signatory authority over the accounts or turn those individuals away.”

Omnipresent tracking

After 9/11 government surveillance expanded rapidly. We had to be protected from the enemy—monitored and stalked within every facet of our existence. Whether it was gathering intel of our daily activities via our smartphones–who we texted, who we spoke to, where we went, web searches or through social media sites.

The all-seeing Google eye knows us better than our family, friends or significant other and even snail mail is tracked:

“As with the high-tech spying on phone calls and emails, the postal tracking does not involve looking at the content of the mail, just at the outside of the envelope which reveals who it’s being sent to and from whom (if they include a return address). If it doesn’t include a return address, as with the ricin letters, it’s possible to look at the pieces of mail around it for an approximate location. The 20 pieces of mail scanned before and after the ricin letters allowed investigators to figure out they were probably sent from a particular zip code in Texas.”

Forbes |  Kashmir Hill

Retailers can foresee when we become engaged, have money to blow, have a terminal illness or become employed or unemployed. Facial recognition mannequins loom in upscale clothing stores pinpointing age, gender and race of each passerby and retailers can predict if our teenage daughter has a bunn in the oven too. It’s like that old idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words,” only the words have grown from kilobytes to petabytes beneath the ferocious appetite of data brokers, corporations and governments.

“Anything that is digital or being monitored by digital devices can be tracked, and there is no way to escape it, but what has changed in 2016 is that all of that data can now be tracked centrally by the State and although they won’t admit to it everyone has a record with the Federal Government that gathers all sorts of data that can be mined at anytime, or in the case they have reason to suspect you of anytime at all, easily added to. You are being watched.” —SiliconAngle | Duncan Riley

No, we can’t rewind time.

We can’t unvote the buffoons that run the place. Those who contrive laws, measures, secret courts, and surveillance—those who embrace corruption.

No, we can’t go back now.

In 2016 our personal data litters a vast ocean—intractable, turbulent and unwieldy—will we ever gain control? Will we ever be able to reel it in? Alas, can we “rewind” America?




You can catch my other blog posts at the TekSecurity blog

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