Monthly Archives: December 2012

FATCA Potentially Hazardous

We have discussed here and at Brock much of what is in Now Lebanon’s article FATCA’s Security Problem.  I think this is the first article I have seen with it all in one piece.
The author Michael Young is the opinion editor for The Daily Star in Lebanon. He certainly “gets” FATCA.  I wonder if he is a “US person” there.
He writes of the privacy issues for American citizens and spouses, “abusive”  burden on financial institutions and difficulties in accessing banking in some countries.
Mr. Young says FATCA is “a case of America throwing its global weight around.”  Plus:

The civil liberties implications are profoundly disturbing.

Mr. Young calls one area of FATCA “potentially hazardous.”  FATCA is demanding FFIs become “vast repositories” of personal information on American citizens with no guidelines for security of this information.
For a country obsessed with the security of its citizens in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, such behavior is paradoxical, indeed astonishing.
Mr. Young is as perplexed as we are on Department of State silence on FATCA.
At a time when American embassies regularly issue advisories to citizens to guarantee their safety, we are seeing the IRS asking institutions abroad to gather the most sensitive facts on Americans, with no oversight. The irresponsibility is breathtaking.
Mr. Young says it is “no wonder Americans across the globe are outraged.

IRS would not dare replicate FATCA in the United States.



CCLA Registers FATCA Privacy Concerns

Finally, Canadian Civil Liberties Association has sent an Open Letter To Ministry of Finance
I’m happy CCLA has registered their concerns.   I would have preferred for the concerns to have been addressed more strongly and more thoroughly, but at least CCLA has made a public statement on this.
When I say I would have preferred the concerns to be more thoroughly addressed, I am referring to the fact the letter addresses primarily privacy concerns, but equality, human rights and Charter issues seem less strongly expressed.
I like statements at the end of the letter:  In relation to the Finance Minister’s own earlier comments, CCLA says:

This should be the Canadian government’s starting and end point.  Privacy-invasive collection and disclosure of personal information should only be done when necessary.  Under the Canadian government’s own assessment, that threshold has not been met in this case.

They also encourage the government to do exactly what it should be doing:

The CCLA therefore urges the Canadian government to stand up for its citizens and residents and resist invasive, unnecessary foreign-imposed violations of individual privacy.

CCLA has also posted an E-Bulletin on CCLA Website.