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United States

Email Flood Forces FDIC to Drop US Bank Plan 47

slambo writes "The New York Times is reporting today that a flood of emails caused the FDIC to drop a proposal for banks to monitor transactions over a long term. While it's not quite a /. effect, government is learning of the power of email - they aren't used to getting such an overwhelming response from such a wide swath of the US. (NYT requires a registration to view the article, but registration is free). "
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Email Flood Forces FDIC to Drop US Bank Plan

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    We owe this one to the Libertarian party. Thier website, http://www.defendyourprivacy.com generated almost 70% of all the emails sent to the FDIC. Lets here it for freedom!

    P.S. I like the anonymous coward thing. Too bad im not stupid enough to give away my information to every website under the sun.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 1999 @04:01AM (#1965488)
    Know Your Customer was discussed on the USTP (www.ustaxpayers.org) mailing list. Here's a blurb from the 3/5/99 mailing:


    Update: FDIC "Know Your Customer"

    Comments to the FDIC on "Know Your Customer" rule now total over a
    140,000! Law enforcement is coming out in opposition. Law enforcement
    is mobilizing against KYC. An article appeared in the Peninsula Daily
    News on Feb. 14th, "Bank on More Government Intrusion with FDIC rule".

    Even Steve Forbes has come out opposing KYC. Read his comments at:
    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/99/0308/6305031a.ht m

    Also, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, one of the four
    government agencies supporting KYC, announced this morning at a
    Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Commerical and
    Administrative Law, that it is now backing down and will not move
    forward on KYC.

    The support has been encouraging for the defeat of KYC, which has helped
    Congressmen Ron Paul (R-TX) and Tom Campbell (R-CA). They introduced an
    amendment today in the House Banking Committee to stop bank spying. The
    committee has an opportunity to vote on this amendment on the markup of
    HR 10 today.

    The Text of the amendment states:
    "(2) LIMIT ON AGENCY AUTHORITY.?No provision of this Act or any other
    provision of Federal Law may be construed as requiring any insured
    depository institution or any institution-affiliated party to monitor
    the legality of the transaction activities or customers."

    The amendment's major objective is to end the REQUIREMENT of having
    banks spy on their customers. This means that it does not stop a bank
    from volunteering to adhere to KYC. At the same time, law enforcement
    is still permitted to obtain information with a warrant.

    One of today's witnesses against KYC was Solveig Singleton - Lawyer,
    Cato Institute. The following is from her testimony:

    "The FDIC's "Know Your Customer" proposal is inconsistent with
    declarations made by the FTC, the Commerce Department, and by Vice
    President Al Gore on American's privacy rights. Government-supported
    programs like "Know Your Customer" pose a unique threat to human rights,
    because government alone has the power or arrest and prosecution, and to
    demand asset forfeitures.

    * The "Know Your Customer" proposal fosters mistrust and resentment of
    government, particularly among immigrants and minorit y groups.

    * The proposal sidesteps the Fourth Amendment.

    * "Know Your Customer" will not make our streets or banks safer.

    * "Know Your Customer" eerily recalls Communist China, where
    neighborhood committees of retired communist party members reported on
    their neighbors.

    Abuses of information collected by government in the past show that
    government will not observe safeguards intended to prevent the abuse of
    the power to collect information."
  • Duh.. your're right.. the whitehouse uses innosoft's PMDF-MTA. My bad.

  • This reminds me of the whitehouse.gov e-mail system during the Lewinsky scandal. They were using NT/Exchange to handle all the mail. Naturally, the system failed. Where do these major corporate entities get their consultants? "Hi.. MCSE 'eh? You're hired!".

    I'm sure a couple of Sun HPC 450's would handle every bit of e-mail they get thrown at them. A word to any government officials... don't experiment with MS products.
  • Uh, wasn't it the congress's system, not the whitehouse's that used MS-Exchange?
  • They're a big insurance company for bank customers. If a bank makes too many bad loans (ie. too many of their loan customers default) the FDIC will give each of the savings customers (the people who's money was actually being lent out) up to $100,000 of their savings back. Pretty cool actually but as I understand it the KYC plan is a bit out of their jurisdiction.
  • The Canadaian government has just about outlawed non-police possession of firearms.

    You don't "need" to hunt - you can buy food, ergo no need for a shotgun. You don't "need" to defend yourself - that's what the cops are for.

    The day my taxes pay for a rent-a-cop by my side up to 24 hours a day, I may consider moving back there.
  • Yeah, though they claim it costs $105/day to run that site ?!? (in a blub to solicit more money) I wonder if that includes the cost of people to coordinate and handle things? If it's the cost of the site alone, someone's getting taken for a ride.
  • Try getting a permit to TRANSPORT those firearms to the area where you intend to hunt.

    You can't use them for self-defense, of course.

    Yes, I am a Canadian (happily working in the free U.S. of A. with all it's quirks, pimples, and lower taxes). To each his own, I suppose.

    If you think that a majority choice to strip a minority of its citizenship or other rights is a good thing, I suggest you be transformed to a Jew in the midst of Nazi Germany.

  • Hrm, I'm really not sure all this matters one whit. From what I understand the Senate voted Unanimously to block the FDIC from pursuing this action. So the FDIC couldn't have done this even if they wanted to.
  • I double checked, just in case:

    The other piece of good news is that an amendment sponsored by Congressmen Ron Paul of Texas, a libertarian conservative Republican and Rep.

    Tom Campbell, a liberal Republican from California, passed the House Banking Committee with Rep. Bob Barr's amendment. This amendment kills the Know Your Customer program as currently proposed. It was opposed by, surprise, surprise, Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat, known for her maniacal support of Bill Clinton.

    Originally, the Paul-Campbell amendment was drawn broadly enough that it would have repealed existing efforts which banks make in co-operation with law enforcement agencies to report on suspicious transactions. That amendment failed to pass, however, an additional amendment was offered by Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, a former federal prosecutor, who has opposed the Know Your Customer regulation, but who still plays ball with law enforcement groups, and the Barr Amendment did pass. What passed the committee does stop the current Know Your Customer proposed regulation, and similar legislation did pass unanimously in the Senate today as well.
  • by maynard ( 3337 )
    Good. Government agencies shouldn't force collusion with private industry in order to snoop on private citizens. Maybe this is one of a few examples of the 'net providing enough 'communication glue' among citizens to organize and act against what amounts to a financial tyranny.
  • The govt is a small naive child.. they must always be taught the hardway

  • Time to remind everybody and/or point out to the
    newcomers that "cypherpunks/cypherpunks" works
    just fine for login/password on the NYT site.
    Just remember to clean your cookies afterwards
    if you're into being paranoid/careful.

    stormr
    --
    GPL Win32 UNDER RICO!! Let some REAL programmers fix it!
  • Actually, last night on his radio show Art Bell [artbell.com] took some credit for it. Maybe it was very similiar to the /. effect.
  • by nowan ( 4075 )
    That's why I'm a bit sceptical of privacy efforts. We may catch some of what the government does to keep track of us, but there's no way we're going to catch it all unless access to the techniques used to collect this sort of info is freely available. And unfortunately, I suspect that pro-privacy efforts are going to discourage that, making it more difficult to protect privacy when it counts.
  • i find the "us" vs "them" attitude towards the gov't to be rather self defeating and pointless.

    they did good this time, why berate them? what does it solve?
  • first a few kudos to the gov't. first, they listened. that's nice, but not really surprising. there are many people in gov't who actually do believe it's important to serve the people. the big point is that they appear to have listened intelligently.

    huh?

    many right-wing organisations in the us set up phone banks - even using mobile phones at rallies. so they swamp congress members with "grassroots" support. email being so easily forged could easily lead to a similar situation. currently spammers use address lists for recipients, but what if some policy organisation used such lists to fill in To: fields?

    one of the fdic people noted that the email messages were unique - not computer generated. that's an important thing for gov't people to notice. smart, i hope they all pay attention as much.
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday March 24, 1999 @03:28AM (#1965505) Homepage Journal
    Finally, the government listened to people and stopped a plan that was both silly and dangerous. If only they'd get it straight on crypto, too... Unfortunately, decisions like this one are rare - and they'll probably try to pull it off again, but sneakier, once the uproar dies down and we're done patting ourselves on the back. What, me cynical? Personally, I think for every new law or regulation they pass, governments should be forced to repeal an old one.

    Number two on the oxymoron list: "We're from the government, and we're here to help"
  • How much of the Know Your Customer proposal are you familiar with? The proposal required U.S. banks to create profiles of and to monitor every customer. Under the proposal, you could be put under criminal investigation simply because you have a transaction that does not fit your profile.

    Talk about unconstitutional....

  • Small, naive children are *innocent*. When the government chips away at our freedoms and privacy, turning the Constitution and the Bill of Rights into just so much wastepaper, that is anything but innocent. It's malevolence.

  • Excellent! This is really cool - I spent all morning working on my email to them.... nice to know the effort was worthwhile!

    Leilah
  • Hey don't do that, I don't want my province /.'d
    Heading to the woods is something I've considered
    a time or two. Especially as Y2K gets closer. Heck
    with new sat tech you can still get decent bandwidth
    in the middle of nowhere; if you can afford it.
  • Unconstitutional? Talk about 1984 :>

  • Of course what they didn't mention was that 70% of the mail had to do with making millions or the slew of "hot, wet, willing" girls waiting for them...
  • I'm glad to see the government did the right thing. But the article states that ". . . the "Know Your Customer" proposal originated because banks were looking for Federal guidelines on the matter. . . ." and that some banks have their own programs for monitoring transactions. Now I need to find out where my own bank stands on the matter.
  • Not good enough indeed.

    Just as a follow up to my previous post here.... I emailed my bank for a comment on transaction monitoring. I received a rather poorly pieced together response (in all caps, by the way -- not really a big deal but I'd think that the people entrusted with representing a bank via email might have a little familiarity with how to actually compose one) letting me know that they require a social security number and "who is calling" from anyone calling into the center. My question was either completely misunderstood or neatly sidestepped.

  • Some Canadian said: (hey we'll even let Quebec vote to LEAVE our country and let them go if they vote yes..can't get much more democratic an free than that...I doubt Alaska or any other state could do the same).

    Remember what happened the last time some states tried that? It started with South Carolina and just got worse. One question though: How would Quebec support itself as an independent nation?

    Washington DC beats that by itself and it has what, 5 million people at the most.

    Actually, DC's 1990 population was about 606,000 according to the Census Bureau. Our next Census comes by next year, and DC will be nowhere near 5e6 people. But most cities are nowhere near as dangerous as Washington.

    Mike
    --

  • Fortunately we do have some say in what it does. Electronic data collection will eventually become very widespread and intrusive. Steps like clueful voting and letter wrtiting campaigns can help make a difference, and keep the government in check. Im glad to see it work.
  • It serves no purpose berating the government for a correct decision, true. However, unless there is eternal vigilance, such a law will be passed. The government is _NOT_ your friend, it's _NOT_ here to help you, it's _NOT_ benevolent.

    Stay on your guards, ladies and gentlemen, for surely some left-wing weirdo (I've actually talked to some who think indoctrination camps for kids, government schools where the parents ship the kids away to be educated, were a just and decent thing... wtf is that?) will try this again.

    With all the gun-maker law suits, the tobacco law suits, and all the other Really Stupid [tm] things happening in these last few years, I want to move somewhere else.

    --C
  • Um...I'm looking at both my FAC (Firearms Aquisition Certificate) and my Outdoors Card (Hunting and Fishing Licence for the Province of Ontario)right now and they weren't too hard to get. Lets see, my Dad has 6 rifles, all legal, my brother has 2. The only thing outlawed in Canada are hand guns (cuz ya don't hunt deer with a revolver) and automatic weapons (ditto for an AK-47)...even then, you can get a pistol if you aren't crazy and are willing to jump through the paperwork loops (a friend of mine has a Smith and Wesson 9mm - perfectly legal). And all your guns need to be registered so if they get stolen the police can find them or if you have a donnybrook with your wife, they know wether you have a lethal weapon in the house.
    Does that sound like the country you just described? Are you even a Canadian? (If you are, I'll bet my paycheck your an Alberta redneck!). All this gun control hasn't brought about the downfall of democracy up here...we have elections almost yearly for some level of government (hey we'll even let Quebec vote to LEAVE our country and let them go if they vote yes..can't get much more democratic an free than that...I doubt Alaska or any other state could do the same). Its actually made it quite safe...last year the entire country had about 750 murders (with a population of 30 million). Washington DC beats that by itself and it has what, 5 million people at the most.

    So hey, if ya want to move up to the mountains of BC with yer shotgun go ahead... as long as you don't try shooting people no ones' gonna even know your there, much less care.

    Either this is a great big troll (in which case, sorry I got suckered in) or your an idiot. uspect the latter.

  • Hey man, I don't know how Quebec would do it...I really don't care. My point is we'd let them try and we wouldn't shoot French people into a ditch for wanting to go (are you taking note Slobadon M.)
  • "Try getting a permit to TRANSPORT those firearms to the area where you intend to hunt. "

    I get that permit every November and it takes about 30 minutes. In most places you simply need to show the Mounties or the OPP your FAC and a valid hunting licence (which in Ontario states the area you will be hunting in) and voila...you have a transport permit. As long as you transport the gun safely (ie with the ammo and gun in separate locked containers, not loaded on a rack behind your head...but that's just common sense safety with a loaded weapon)no one is going to bother you. Most of the cops will even wish you good luck on your hunt.

    "You can't use them for self-defense, of course. "

    Under no regulation or law in Canada does it say you CANNOT use a gun for self defense. The Criminal Code of Canada states that a person can use as much force as is reasonably nescesary to prevent or stop an assault on themselves or some one under their care (a child etc). This is up to and including deadly force, if nescessary to stop the assault. Nowhere does it say you can use this self-defence section of the Code to kill someone with anything EXCEPT a gun? That just doesn't make sense. Unless what you mean by 'self defence' is shooting someone because you don't like them or they don't agree with your opinions...in that case, no you can't use a gun for self defence. But you can't even do that in Texas.

    "If you think that a majority choice to strip a minority of its citizenship or other rights is a good thing, I suggest you be transformed to a Jew in the midst of Nazi Germany. "

    I suppose if you can't beat my arguements with logic, you have to resort to pandering to emotion. Nowhere, in any post I have ever put on slash dot have I ever suggested the majority should take away the citizenship and or rights of a minority. As a matter of fact, my allusion to Quebec separatism actually supports the rights of French Minority within Canada (although a Majority within the Province) to assert themselves, if they vote to. This arguement is a "straw-man attack" against me - 'That's not the argument he made, but if he had this would be a great comeback and if I pretend he made this arguement it'll make me look like I won'. As for the 'guilt by associations' references to Nazis....well that's about as logically effective as the "straw man" - its not.

    Perhaps you should return to Canada for a visit, since it seems you've been gone for a very long time and have lost touch with what is really going on up here.

    You have every right to your opinion, I just hope they are based on FACTS (which in my opinion they aren't). And, yes, in case it doesn't show, not only do I have a CS degree, I also have a Criminology degree so I'm quite familiar with the Criminal Code.

    I'll be anxiously awaiting this reply...

  • I think you're missing the point. :-)
  • It's great that KYC is going down in flames, but most people are not aware of an even more insidious piece of legislation that the banks are trying to push through.

    Banks are allowed to form partnerships with other financial institutions, like insurance companies, or brokerages. They want to be able to share your personal information (like how much money is in your account) with these affiliates.

    So you deposit that inheritance from Aunt Ruth in your bank and the following week you get a call from a brokerage asking if you'd like to invest.

    Jay Inslee (rep from WA state) attempted to add an ammendment to House Resolution 10 (a banking bill) that would require the banks to have customers opt-in (specifically ask to be included) in this plan. Naturally, the bank's lobbyists put pressure to shoot it down.

    Funny, the banks screamed about KYC as an invasion of their customer's privacy, but banks have no qualms about sharing your private information with their business partners.

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