Feds Ready Massive Surveillance of EVERY Stock Trade

P. Gardner Goldsmith | February 22, 2023
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The feds are readying another weapon to invade our privacy.

From Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 demand that Americans turn-in their GOLD, to the 1970 “Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act,” aka the “Bank Secrecy Act,” that requires what the federalistas call “financial institutions” (a term that they apply to pawn-brokers, car dealers, travel agents, and casinos, among others) to SECRETLY report numerous customer activities to the government (including money movements of $5,000), to the “Know Your Customer” mandate by which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires new customers to provide detailed financial information before opening an investment or banking account – it’s been a long, violative march of central government trampling more and more of our rights.

And now, the Constitution-insulting SEC is readying a March imposition of what it calls the “Consolidated Audit Trail”, (CAT) a new mandate that will force stock brokers to report every trade they conduct, as well as the trader’s personal information.

Jennifer Schulp reports for Reason:

“The Consolidated Audit Trail is intended to collect and accurately identify every order, cancellation, modification, and trade execution for all exchange-listed equities and options across all U.S. markets, allowing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to track orders and identify who made them.”

Another shining example of the feds respecting the Fourth Amendment and our basic Natural Rights… How nice of them.

And the idea is not new. It’s been floating around the tax-funded halls of Washington for ten years.

“The SEC ordered the CAT to be created in 2012 after regulators had difficulty identifying the causes of the 2010 ‘flash crash.’ At the time, then-SEC Chair Mary Schapiro described the CAT as providing regulators with the ‘data and means to exponentially enhance [their] abilities to oversee a highly complex market structure.’ And in years since, the CAT has been championed as necessary for the SEC's enforcement efforts.”

Ahh, yes. They have to “oversee a highly complex market structure.”

And that phrase is proudly displayed in Article 5,000 of the US Constitution.

In nations like Italy, the kinds of folks who talked about invading privacy by “overseeing” markets – those who used that euphemism and others such as “regulate” and “establish rules” to rationalize this kind of tyranny – were devotees of Benito Mussolini.

They overtly called themselves fascists, allowing for the in-name-only ownership of private businesses and corporations, but imbuing the system with government controls and favoritism, directing the “owners” to do what the politicians desired.

That’s the moral side, or, to put it more precisely, the IMMORAL side, of this – about which the thugs at the SEC seem not to care.

Related: 'Build Back Better' Is Dead - But That IRS $600 Reporting Mandate Isn't | MRCTV

The practical burdens are almost too vast to be imagined, and, combined with the federal resources the CAT will require in order to handle this vast amount of data, it seems very likely that the proponents of the new rule are intent on the Biden Administration hiring a lot more SEC employees.

Kind of like the 87,000 IRS employees Joe Biden is readying to threaten us.

Reason’s Schulp adds that the CAT data-collection mandate started in 2020, but has taken until now for full, granular, customer-specific, implementation:

“The CAT began collecting trading data in 2020, after years of development replete with challenges and controversies. It is scheduled to begin collecting customer information on March 17, 2023. Although the SEC has limited the scope of customer information to be collected—initial plans called for Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and account numbers—brokers must still provide customer names, addresses, and birth years which allows for easy identification of individual investors.”

And she notes what many also must realize:

“This massive surveillance database is a financial privacy nightmare.”

The ramifications are so vast, consideration of what the SEC will require of traders as well as what it will require for resources becomes a nearly mind-boggling look into a government-run Panopticon.

“Most of the criticism leveled at the CAT has focused on data security. The CAT will absorb information about tens of billions of trades daily, making it quite possibly the largest database in the world. Its sheer size will be an invitation for criminals, who then-SEC Chair Jay Clayton recognized in 2017 ‘could potentially obtain, expose and profit from the trading activity and personally identifiable information of investors.’"

Of course, this begs the question of who really are the criminals stealing things from us. Some might argue that the government officials doing this to us and our brokers are the initial criminals, imposing their demands on us and then readying more punishment if we do not comply.

Some might argue that this moral breach is sufficient to justify protest and to inspire black markets in other forms of “investment”. After all, one of the key UK impositions that drove American revolutionaries to divorce themselves from the British government was the 1765 “Stamp Act”. That particular and analogous demand – the order that colonial Americans open their houses, papers, and effects to British inspection to make sure everything the Crown ordered to be stamped with a tax stamp WAS stamped -- was a seminal rights-transgression.

What will be the trigger for contemporary Americans to protest and demand the tyrants stop their attacks and rescind their orders?

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