US Treasury Dept. wants to data mine all international money transfers

Treasury-Data-Mine-TransferClaiming their intent is to disrupt the ability of terrorists to finance their activities, the US Treasury Dept. will soon publish a set of rules requiring financial institutions (banks and companies like Western Union) to report all money transfers – not just those over $10K — moving in or out of the US. The collected info would be fed into a giant database, then analyzed for patterns likely to indicate some kind of connection to terrorism.

The new Treasury rules will first be made available for a year-long ‘commentary’ period. Understandably, most of the early comments are highly dubious, ranging from civil libertarians objecting to unwarranted snooping to European governments who point out that American requests of this nature violate domestic privacy laws. And given that WikiLeaks has shown that even the Defense Dept. can’t keep its secrets under wraps, critics are also questioning whether the Treasury folks can be counted on to keep all this extremely personal financial data from becoming public.

Concerns are also being raised that once the Feds get their hands on so much data, the temptation to analyze it for things unrelated to terrorism will prove too great. Obviously, given America’s traditional anti-online gambling stance, this change in financial scrutiny could have serious implications for our industry. Watch this space…