Federal surveillance machine looking through your bank accounts and cryptocurrency

2019 U.S. Dollar billsYou need to rethink your perception of financial privacy. The federal government has created a massive surveillance system that is not visible to most Americans. If left unchecked it could threaten to end our right to financial privacy.Recent evidence of the governments' push for financial surveillance was in the infrastructure bill. This bill contains a provision that allows the government to collect information on cryptocurrencies. Although that provision was rebuffed by several senators, it is likely that the reporting requirements will be reduced, but not eliminated.The Infrastructure Bill is not just about infrastructureThe infrastructure bill's provisions are part of a wider push to make cryptocurrency transparent. The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network suggested a rule to extend certain banking reporting laws to cryptocurrency transactions exceeding $10,000 in the final days of Trump's administration. The Biden administration, however, has not reversed course and recently approved the proposal as part its American Families Plan, which aims at using the information to increase tax enforcement.Is the Infrastructure beyond repair? The Democrats' spending plans show no signs of sanityBut cryptocurrency is only the beginning. According to the administration's tax plan, all financial institutions would be required to monitor and report gross inflows and outputs on all personal and business accounts. This is what the administration calls intrusive warrantless surveillance by the anodyne comprehensive financial account reporting.This is only the latest in a series of attacks on financial privacy that started in 1970 with the passing of the Bank Secrecy Act, a law intended to do the exact opposite of what it names. The Bank Secrecy Act required that banks begin to file reports with the government detailing their customers' activities.Continue the storyFrom there, the government surveillance program has grown steadily. Federal law now requires banks and financial institutions to search customers' data in order to report any suspicious activity. They face severe fines and other penalties for failing to do so. Capital One was fined $390 million by the government in January for not being zealous enough to comply with this surveillance program.It is amazing how much financial data is reported to the government. The president of The Clearing House Association stated before Congress in 2017 that every minute, the nation's largest banks filed a suspicious activity report. Last year, a subset of these reports was leaked to the general public. They were only.02% of suspicious activity reports that were filed between 2011-2017, but they described more than $2 trillion in transactions.The federal government has involuntarily conscripted banks to serve as surveillance agents. They are also conducting a war on cash. They track it, seize it and make it difficult for cash transactions to be handled without being informed. The government uses civil forfeiture to routinely seize cash from travelers at airports and along highways. This is because the cash is large. This forces the government to reverse the presumption that cash is innocent by requiring property owners to prove legal source of their cash to recover it.The government can't monitor cash the same way it monitors banks, so people carrying cash are treated like criminals, even though it isn't a crime.The government opened an additional front in its war against cash earlier this year when it opened more than 800 safe deposit boxes located in Beverly Hills, California. Over 400 boxes have been subject to civil forfeiture proceedings by the government, which seeks to forfeit $85 million in cash and millions in gold, precious metals, and other valuables. The government does not have any evidence that the box owners violated any law and is now forcing them to make their innocence known. The government considers that just having money in a box makes you a presumptive felon.Is there a right of financial privacy?Although the government's actions indicate that it believes the answer is no, the framers would disagree. The Fourth Amendment requires that the government obtain a warrant on suspicion of wrongdoing. This warrant must be based not only on a general suspicion but also on probable cause. Papers include financial records.This would be condemned by Founding FathersThe Fourth Amendment was in fact driven by a desire to protect financial privacy. The Boston Tea Party demonstrates that the Founders were not friends of the taxman and objected to intrusive searches made by British tax collectors. In 1977, the Supreme Court noted that the Fourth Amendment did not eliminate the privacy invasions in tax collection.What would the Founding Fathers say? "Medical liberty" is not an American value. The founders supported vaccines and public healthcare.We have won cases against civil forfeiture and other structuring abuses at the Institute for Justice. Now we are suing to challenge the government's attempt to seize the safe deposit boxes in Beverly Hills. We oppose the extension of bank reporting into cryptocurrency. We believe that financial privacy is important, just like the framers.If the government can do away with financial privacy, it can also do away with privacy completely. Almost everything you do in your life is dependent on funds. If current trends continue, however, we could find ourselves in a financial fishbowl, where nearly everything we do will be subject to government surveillance.Rob Johnson (@FreeRangeLawyer), and Rob Frommer, (@Robert_Frommer), are senior attorneys at The Institute for Justice. They represent constitutional rights in litigation across the country.Diverse opinions can be found on our Opinion front page, Twitter @usatodayopinion, and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.This article was originally published on USA TODAY. The infrastructure bill will only increase financial surveillance