Jan 292011
 
 January 29, 2011  Laws, Surveillance

Chris Soghoian writes:

From the New York Times today:

In May, the government will no longer pay someone eligible for benefits with a mailed check. Instead, the money will be electronically deposited directly into a bank account or made accessible by a debit card. And by March 2013, the 10 million people who receive checks, out of 70 million people in all, must switch over to direct deposit or use a card.

Some see the decision as government meddling and say they fear their spending habits may be traced. But [David A. Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury department’s Financial Management Service] said that information could be obtained only with a court order in a “rare exception.”

That quote caught my eye, because I don’t think it is correct.

[…]

The RFPA requires that “no Government authority may have access to or obtain copies of, or the information contained in the financial records of any customer from a financial institution unless the financial records are reasonably described” and

1. the customer authorizes access;
2. there is an appropriate administrative subpoena or summons;
3. there is a qualified search warrant;
4. there is an appropriate judicial subpoena; or
5. there is an appropriate written request from an authorized government authority.

Read more on slight paranoia.

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