When Private Isn't So Private

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Former Reason staffer Rick Henderson points to this Las Vegas Review-Journal article about how members of voluntary associations are being asked to cough up personal information in the name of the PATRIOT Act.

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  1. All the government is really doing with this is creating more need for identity theft.

  2. “Are we to understand that to participate in these groups you have to submit to government inquiry?” asks ACLU Director Peck, referring to volunteer associations.

    No. The inquiry into the backgrounds at issue here was to verify check-signers, not ordinary volunteers. It is a part of the fiduciary duty of a board member to take some steps to ensure that check-signers don’t have a history of, say, kiting checks. This inquiry would have happened without PATRIOT.

    The bank’s explanation including PATRIOT as explanation for the inquiry actually leads to unfounded anger at that act. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of legitimate reasons why PATRIOT sucks.

  3. “It is a part of the fiduciary duty of a board member to take some steps to ensure that check-signers don’t have a history of, say, kiting checks.”

    You are correct that a board should take these swteps however the actions described in the article are bank initiated not board initiated. And I suspect the bank is initiating to fulfill federal regs that should probably be trashed.

  4. Steve: The bank also has its own interest/duty to verify signers of checks drawn against it. You bring up the point that there’s unecessary regulation involved. I agree.

  5. New Justice Department policy concerning “voluntary associations”: Everything not prohibited is compulsory.

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