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Financial Privacy in a Free Society

The United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights, particularly the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments, together with structural federalism and separation of powers protections, is designed to further that end by protecting individual rights. The current financial regulatory framework is inconsistent with these principles.

In general, individuals should have control over who has access to information about their personal and financial lives. Individuals should be free to lead their lives unmolested and un-surveilled by government unless there is a reasonable suspicion that they have committed a crime or conspired to commit a crime. Any information-sharing regime must include serious safeguards to protect the privacy of individuals and businesses.

The primary goals of international information sharing should be to promote law enforcement, combat terrorism, and prevent and punish fraud in a manner consistent with the principles of a free society. A better means of achieving these goals is to replace the current patchwork of international agreements with a well-considered, integrated international convention that ensures robust information sharing for the purposes of preventing terrorism, crime, and fraud, but also provides enforceable legal protections for the financial and other privacy interests of member states’ citizens and the legitimate commercial interests of their businesses.

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