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Big Brother bank account monitoring by Burton an attack on unemployed – Ó Snodaigh

21 July, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, has said that the Minister for Social Protection’s latest proposal for a big brother style monitoring of bank accounts is a further attack on the unemployed and other social welfare recipients.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said that not only is it a violation of people’s privacy, but it will put social welfare recipients at risk of theft and blackmail.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“This latest nonsense from the Minister for Social Protection on monitoring unemployed people’s bank accounts is offensive and repugnant and is a further attack on people who have lost their jobs.

“The Department of Social Protection already have extensive access to social welfare recipients' bank records but the new Labour Minister is now proposing to actively monitor their bank accounts. You really have to ask where will this all end?
“The Minister clearly wants people on the dole to live a certain lifestyle - a lifestyle of abject and demonstrable poverty.

“The Minister claims that she is examining proposals such as this in an effort to tackle welfare fraud but what she fails to recognise is that tax evasion and avoidance constitute a far greater financial loss to the state than welfare fraud. Would this government even contemplate extending the same forms of intrusion on the bank accounts of the wealthy?

“Bank accounts contain an extensive amount of sensitive personal data. Especially since the introduction of laser cards, bank accounts now contain significant information on a person's movements and purchases. There have already been cases of criminal misuse of data held by her department and the proposal to monitor bank accounts will put social welfare recipients at risk of theft and blackmail.

“This proposal should be rejected outright.”

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