Some Americans call for a nation-wide boycott of Bank of America in response to customers’ data given to the FBI.
According to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the mega bank reportedly used customers’ activity data to highlight and identify people connected to the January 6th Capitol Hill riots, per the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Allegedly, when Carlson and his team reached out to Bank of America, they confirmed their cooperation with the FBI in the investigation.
Reportedly, this federal investigation called for the bank to identify and hand over the activity data of any customers who met any of the following: (a) Made a confirmed purchase for airline or air travel. (b) Made a confirmed wire transaction in Washington D.C. between January 5th and 6th. (c) Confirmed purchases made for a hotel or another form of lodging in DC, Virginia, or Maryland, after January 6th. (d) Purchased a weapon or made a purchase from a weapon-related seller between January 7th and Inauguration Day.
Reportedly, Bank of America found some 211 “persons of interest” whose personal information was handed to the FBI, without consent of the customers or a warrant for investigation. As required by 12 U.S. Code § 3403 (Bank Secrecy Act of 1970– H.R. 15073), all financial institutions– such as Bank of America– should assist national government agencies in reporting suspicious activity that may hint at acts of money laundering, tax evasion, or any other criminality. While the Biden Administration has identified the Capitol riots as “acts of domestic terrorism,” due to the use of pipe bombs and premeditated political violence that killed 5, Congress has asserted the position that the BSA is to prevent financial criminality, not a force to fight domestic terrorism.
Audiences who tuned in to the story aired on Fox News have largely been critical of Bank of America’s dealing with customers’ financial history. As shown in the Fox story, many people feel that the bank violated customers’ privacy in accessing their activity logs. Vocal customers have taken to Twitter in announcing the cancellation of their accounts and have rallied for other objectors to do the same. Other observers of the situation have seen Bank of America’s cooperation with the federal government’s investigation as justified, despite their breaches of privacy. Many have said that criminal acts committed in the Capitol Hill riots, and the following investigations, are justifications for the breaches of customers’ privacy. While legal obligations justify Bank of America’s cooperation with the FBI, the public remains divided in their view of the bank’s actions against their customers.
ARTICLE: CARSON WOLF
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WISTV.COM