Chris's Rants

Friday, March 03, 2006

Big Brother is Watching

Via Andrew Sullivan - J. Francis Lehman: That 'harmless' and 'neccessary' Patriot Act:
They paid down some debt. The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.

And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable.

And all they did was pay down their debt. They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone. They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs.

They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance. And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast.


They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking.

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.
How much do you want to bet that the NSA was eaves-dropping on their phones and email for a while, just to make sure that they weren't terrorists.

Could this be one of the triggers that gives the NSA "reasonable suspicion" (as opposed to "probable cause" as defined by the "it's just a piece of paper" Fourth Amendment) that one might be a terrorist?

Reminds me of one of those "if ..., you might be a red-neck..." jokes.

If you pay down your credit card balance... you might be a terrorist.

Feeling safer, yet?

How much would you like to bet that the credit card company gets to keep charging interest on the debt while your payment is held in suspense for scrutiny by Big Brother?

Think about that a moment.


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