Spies in your bank account

Invasion of our privacy has become so widespread that too many of us just shrug our shoulders, rather than raising hell.

Drug tests and psychological profiles are common at work, credit-card companies sell information about what we buy, they take your fingerprints now when you renew your driver's license, our medical records are open to just about anyone who wants to peek, etc., etc.

But here's a case of the Powers That Be going way too far -- your banker is about to become a spy for federal authorities, and it's you and me the bankers will be spying on.

The FDIC, the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators have quietly proposed a new regulation that would require banks to develop a `quote` "Know Your Customer" program. Sounds friendly, but don't expect coffee and doughnuts. The banks are to create "profiles" of each and every one of us who has a bank account. They are to know every source of income that you have, how much you routinely deposit, and how much and where you spend it. If you deviate from your regular pattern of deposits and withdrawls, your bank is to report this to the Feds, which could bring you a visit by the FBI, the IRS or the DEA.

The pretext for this wholesale violation of the American peoples' constitutional rights is to help authorities detect any laundering of drug money through bank accounts. But say you simply sell your boat and deposit $10,000 in your account. This doesn't match your profile, so a red flag goes up, and somewhere far away a federal agent opens a file on you.

The FDIC's deadline for public comment about this mugging of our basic liberties is Feb. 6. A grass-roots rebellion is raging against it on the Internet, and we can make the FDIC back off if enough of us protest. To join the fight, go to NetworkUSA, or fax your objection directly to the FDIC at (202) 898-3838.