Take a look at what I discovered when making a purchase at Amazon.com. I was making purchase that totaled about $150 and Amazon popped up a suggestion that they'd give me $50 off if I signed up for their Amazon.com VISA credit card. Well, I have lots of credit cards, but this one not only came with that $50 discount, but it pays 3% as a rebate of all purchases from Amazon, 2% from gas stations and selected businesses, and at least 1% elsewhere. So, I clicked the "OK" button.
The card is from Chase Bank, J.P. Morgan is involved in this in some way, and it is processed through FirstUSA Bank - none of which matters to me, since I have no negative consumer information about these regarding the way I'll be using the card.
But here is what I found at the bottom of the "Terms and Conditions" that you agree to with a click:
USA PATRIOT Act: To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means to you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.
I find this use of massively large "comprehensive" laws, passed by the idiots in Congress who often haven't even having read them, that are later expanded and given additional features by the regulatory agencies that administer them, that tighten the regulatory noose around our necks, and increase the size and scope of the federal government, by having the work done through large corporations to be very irritating and off-putting aspect of modern policy.
It also switches over your primary Amazon 'pay to' to this card, if you previously had that setup with another CC.
That notice is kind of odd, in that I always just assumed that the bank/CC company would make at least some effort to ascertain that I am who I say I am-- for their purposes(lending me short term unsecured convenient credit.)
Do we have a right to bank anonymously? Maybe in the Caymans, or Switzerland...
But what is a little misleading about their notice-- which is implicit from the context -- is that the regulatory intent is to assist the government in having access to that information through the bank/CC company.
Now, that is maybe something a little unexpected. OTOH... I also just always assumed that LE could get access that if and when they wanted it; we've been inured to the idea by all the movies of the last 50 yrs with those scenes of LE chasing down he bad guys by tracing the CC purchases.
Wasn't there a scene of that in Thelma and Louise?
Still, the implication always was that in those cases, a judge granted the surveillance on a specific case basis...not a carte blanche the whole nation basis before the fact of any wrongdoing...and that appears to be a principle which has quietly changed in this nation since 9/11.
I'm happy with Amazon switching from my Discover card to the Amazon Visa as the default payment method. I want my 3% :-)
(If I ever wanted to use some other card, I just specify it instead of the Amazon card.) ---------------
I've never had a problem with law enforcement going after banking information WHEN they established probable cause with a court and presented a valid court order to the bank (hopefully for an investigation of a real crime, like fraud or theft).
But now we have FISA courts, and they shouldn't even be called a court. They are run by the Justice Department, the judge shows up and is told where to sit, and that he can't bring a pen, pencil, paper or recording device or any court room personnel with him. It is in secret, no records are kept (at least not by the 'court'). The target of the investigation is not notified and can't be present or have a say. The 'court' only hears the evidence presented by the Justice Department. (Everything is Ex Parte and not adversarial).
And when a FISA warrant is served on someone, they are told that they will be imprisoned if they ever reveal the existence of the FISA granted subpoena to anyone. This is just a rubber-stamping process that pretends to grant judicial authority. It is only supposed to used for Foreign connections, but we'll have to trust Eric Holder on that.
It looks to me like Homeland Security has taken it upon themselves to inject their demands upon the banks in an area where no crime has been committed, no rights violated. Why should they tell the banks what information to gather, unless it is because, with FISA (and other aspects of so-called anti-terrorism acts - and there are a bunch of them) they can now come after whatever they want, whenever they want to.
The banks have been required to become the creators and maintainers of Justice Department financial databases on all citizens.