A new US Treasury Department report says government’s ability to monitor and control the flow of money will be severely damaged as electronic banking and financial technologies develop. The report warns that, increasingly, individuals are able to transfer cash and manage investments anonymously and without going through the banks, credit card companies and other large, centralized institutions currently monitored by government agents,
In fact, nearly a quarter million financial institutions are currently required to report any “suspicious” behavior to the Internal Revenue Service, the US taxing authority. New Web privacy tools, however, have created many ways to circumvent those institutions. Among those tools are strong encryption, anonymity and peer-to-peer technologies. The solution to this diminution of government power, according to the report, is the creation of new, more potent surveillance tools for gathering and analyzing, through “artificial intelligence” techniques, even more information about individual financial habits.