RealNews

Anti-terror law puts new demands on businesses

For New York businessman Joseph Coleman, the USA Patriot Act has turned his 11 check-cashing stores in Harlem and the Bronx into evidence collectors for federal law enforcement. Under the act, Coleman must keep track of customers whose transactions seem suspicious — for whatever reason — in case the FBI, IRS or some other U.S. law enforcement agency is interested. ”Now, business people have to be cops,” says Coleman, 54, president of RiteCheck Financial Service Centers. The Patriot Act, passed by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is better known for provisions that allow government agents more latitude in conducting surveillance in criminal and terrorism investigations. But several little-known provisions of the law amount to what business owners describe as one of the U.S. government’s most significant demands on them in decades. Timothy Lynch, associate director of the CATO Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, says the act’s financial rules have ”tremendous implications” for privacy. Full Story

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