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Introducing the Government's Newest Unpaid Spy: YOU

Recently by Simon Black: Google Changes Its Privacy Policy: Another Reminder To Use Offshore Email

One of the most terrifying aspects of George Orwell’s seminal work 1984 was his description of how society had turned into one giant police agency. People were encouraged to rat each other out, groomed since childhood to be unpaid government spies:

“[Children] adored the Party and everything connected with it… All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something…” is not too far off from this paradigm – encouraging citizens to rat each other out to the police for the mere suspicion of potential wrong-doing.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano even made a special appearance at last Sunday’s Super Bowl to get the message out about ‘public vigilance,’ and ensure that the entire city of Indianapolis was blanketed with advertisements from her Big Brother campaign.

DHS Introducing the governments newest unpaid spy: YOU

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The IRS has been encouraging this type of behavior for years, rewarding citizens with a share of collections for anyone who snitches on potential tax cheats. Last year the agency upped its reward payout for tax informants, topping out at a full 30%.

A few months ago, the Mayor of Newark, NJ announced a similar program designed to reward citizens for snitching on gun owners. According to the mayor, “We don’t even have to have a conviction,” for an informant to get paid a cool $1,000 cash. Rat out your neighbor, get paid. Simple.

(As an aside, police in neighboring East Orange, NJ have rolled out a new pre-crime surveillance system. In the words of Police Chief William Robinson, “The police are observing you. The police are recording you. And the police are responding.” Big Brother is clearly watching.)

In the financial system, there are droves of civilian agencies that have been coerced into becoming government spies. As we discussed a few weeks ago, everyone from bankers to brokers to gold dealers are obliged to submit ‘suspicious activity reports’ to the federal government. They even have minimum quotas.

What’s more, these so-called “SARs” must remain top-secret. It’s a crime for your banker to inform you that you were the subject of a suspicious activity report.