back to article Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Police in Oklahoma are deploying an electronic scanner that can drain currency from prepaid credit cards seized at the roadside using civil asset forfeiture laws. The Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) handheld scanner was developed at the request of the Department of Homeland Security for use by US border guards. …

  1. lnLog

    Graft

    How is this different to protection money? or your standard 3rd world countries traffic police after (pick a holiday) money?

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Graft

      For one the money doesn't end up in the traffic cops back pocket but their paymasters instead since its not a paper handshake but a plastic shake down.

      For another such corruption costs you the contents of your wallet not your whole bank account.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Graft

        Also in some countries if you get pulled to help out with the wages, you can actually haggle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Graft

          You can get a complimentary tasering.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Graft

            You can get a complimentary tasering.

            Unless you have the wrong skin color, in which case resisting this theft may have more permanent consequences. WTF is wrong with these people?

            1. Kumar2012

              Re: Graft

              @AC 'wrong skin colour'... Hmm why is it only ONE skin colour cries about being shot by the police all the time (while in fact more of them die at each other's hands than cops could ever manage) and it also happens to be the ONE skin colour also disproportionately responsible for crime... meanwhile white, brown, yellow and various and sundry shades in between don't get shot up by police... of course must be racism /sarc

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Sgt_Oddball - bullshit it is too graft

        You think it doesn't end up in the cops' pockets? How do you think they pay for all that overtime they accrue? Or their fat pensions when retiring at the tender age of 50? The only thing it doesn't pay for is when a cop is successfully sued for killing an unarmed citizen or using excessive force - then the municipal budget is forced to pick up the tab. It should come straight out of the cop's pension.

        This is a legalized theft, and is the worst abuse the pointless war on drugs. This why the cops use so many scare tactics about drugs, because they know if drugs get decriminalized the gravy train is over.

      3. streaky

        Re: Graft

        doesn't end up in the traffic cops back pocket but their paymasters instead since its not a paper handshake but a plastic shake down

        Until they start paying bonuses based off assets seized which by my understanding is already going on in various states - and by the smell of what's discussed in the article one might assume is already happening there.

        Also not for nothing but generally when you're paying protection money the guys threatening you aren't actually the ones receiving the money in the end anyway, they just work for the guy who does. See why somebody might get confused?

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Graft

      The US is slowly becoming a banana republic with nukes - a very scary thought. The bench shysters including the Nine Seniles apparently do not understand what a warrant is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Graft

        >The US is slowly becoming a banana republic with nukes

        Except the American South and Oklahoma have always been an asspit. The only reason we fought the Civil war is because we didn't want another country to south of us bleeding unskilled economic refugees.

      2. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: Graft

        "The bench shysters including the Nine Eight Seniles apparently do not understand what a warrant is.

        FTFY, Courtesy of the Republican Congress Critters.

      3. Chemical Bob

        Re: banana republic with nukes

        Banuka Republic?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Graft

      > or your standard 3rd world countries traffic police after (pick a holiday) money?

      Bingo. Oklahoma is 3rd world (think Kansas South or Indiana Southwest). The only reason civilized people wind up there is because frigging I-40 goes through it. Children of the corn if you dare get off it though. All the more reason to flyover (a picture of the Oklahoma flag is next to the description for flyover country in the dictionary) it if you can.

      1. RachelM

        Re: Graft

        I'm going to guess after your comments on Oklahoma that you have never actually been to Oklahoma. I live in Oklahoma City and while I will admit there are small towns here, there are small towns everywhere. I have traveled on I-40 to California many times on vacation and have gone to many other states using other highways and such as I don't like to fly. I prefer to drive to see all the wonderful scenery. I can tell you, Mr. Frequent Flyer a.k.a Anonymous Coward, that for one, you are missing out. This country has some beautiful landscape and all sorts of things to see and experience when you actually get in your car and drive. For two, there are many celebrities, both musicians and very famous actors, that are from Oklahoma. James Garner, for example, is from Oklahoma. Brad Pitt was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. For three, I have seen many other cities in many other states that look exactly like Oklahoma City. The residents there are also very much like the residents in Oklahoma City. Are we a little more laid back than some? Yes. But comparing us to the Children of the Corn movie tells me that whatever state you are from must be the same state and area where they filmed Deliverance and apparently not much has changed since then. But please, continue to fly overhead as pompous uneducated jerks are not welcome in our state.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Graft

          Aubrey McClendon is all you need to know about the douche nozzle essence of Oklahoma. The Tulsa whites slaughtering blacks riots in the 1920s and that OU frat just singing those Oklahoma songs are just a century of icing on the racist shit cake. For the record there are some beautiful states driving down I-40 but not your speed trap redneck asspit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Graft

            And I don't mean about the fracking or oil (the few good things along with waste water storage Oklahoma is good for, better earthquakes for you than me), more the entitlement and the outright fraud he committed and then took the coward way out when having to finally face the music.

        2. Snark

          Re: Graft @RachelM

          I'm in the UK but due to friends/family I tend to visit Oklahoma about twice a year. It is indeed a beautiful place and one of incredible contrasts and full of some of the most unexpected places.

          Will Rogers Airport has to be one of the friendliest places I've thrown from (I shudder going back into Heathrow). The Okies have always been a welcoming bunch even if they can't understand a word I'm saying. OKC itself is a bit sprawling if you are used to more compact towns like over here, and you need to be there awhile to get an idea of its character rather than just think "another strip mall, another road". Midtown has had some awesome changes to it and a great vibe going on as well as a real community feeling amongst people. Every visit we find new places with great food and great atmosphere and something "unique" amongst them, you just have to look a little amongst all the chains.

          It is indeed a great state and it and its people aren't deserving of being the butt of so many jokes. It's government on the other hand... This sort of move is so in character with the way the state is being run into the ground. The budget cuts are killing all the services, especially the education system. I wonder if the $1.3bn state budget deficit has anything to do with being so keen on seizing goods/money.... nah, couldn't be, could it?

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Graft

          I'm going to guess after your comments on Oklahoma that you have never actually been to Oklahoma.

          Indeed. Typical small-minded bigotry on the part of that poster, and others who posted similar remarks.

          There are certainly many things wrong with Oklahoma, just as there are with every region. (I'd like to see the CNO quit their ethnic cleansing and clean up the nest of good ol' boys that's ruining NSU, for example.) But I've spent a fair bit of time in the state; I have friends there, and I've driven across it a number of times going to and from New Mexico. I've taken I-40 and I've gone through the panhandle. Overall it's been a good experience, and I can't say anyone in Oklahoma has ever been as rude to me as some of the folks I've met in New York and Los Angeles.

          I grew up in the urban northeast US, and I've also lived for extended periods in the midwest and the plains, and spent time on the west coast and various states in the south. Anyone who dismisses any part of the country out of hand is just an ignorant jackass.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Graft

            >Anyone who dismisses any part of the country out of hand is just an ignorant jackass.

            Your right. I never have made that pilgrimage to the Creationist Museum in Kentucky. That is a tourist attraction that everyone should see.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Graft

            >CNO quit their ethnic cleansing

            There is a phrase you want said about your home state. Oklahoma the Balkans of the US.

      2. skeptical i

        Re: Graft

        Hi, A.C.: I haven't spent any time in Oklahoma, but did have the pleasure of driving through it (following the old U.S. Route 66 as much as possible) in the early 1990s and while many of OK's politicians have ... interesting ... opinions, there is a lot of lovely scenery and pockets of progressivism. It's sad they get overshadowed by the elected bloviators -- and now this official malfeasance -- but this is true of many other U.S. states.

    4. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Graft

      How is this different to protection money?

      1) In third world countries, usually, the police don't nick all your stuff, they are satisfied with the note you slipped into the passport.

      2) You actually get the protection from further harassment that you paid for.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Graft

        2) You actually get the protection from further harassment that you paid for.

        I was once given what can only be described as a receipt to make sure that happened. It was a somewhat confusing shakedown, which included a discussion on football once they knew I was from England.

        Some bars I have been in one country had a flag they raised to show they had paid. Different organisations used to come round and offer protection trying to outbid each other on what they could provide as extras, like supplying weed, and getting a blind eye turned by the police (the police were also bidding for the action) like salesmen quoting. Once you went with a vendor the rest left you alone.

        Basically it seems criminal gangs in corrupt countries, might be more honest brokers.

    5. Marshalltown

      Re: Graft

      You pay protection, they DON'T burn down the house. In OK you get stuck unable to pay for gas to drive home.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Graft

        Yep Euros basically if you ever visit the US stay out of the southeast and the midwest states of Kansas, MIssouri, Oklahoma, and Indiana and you will be fine. Texas has its own pitfalls but unlike the states I named earlier there is actually things worth seeing there. Utah is another one with lots of pitfalls (including the worst highway patrol in the country) but man some real beauty there as well (Moab, Bryce Canyon, Park City skiing plus on way to Vegas lol).

  2. eswan

    "The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 gave police the right to seize goods they thought to be associated with crime without making an arrest or even charging the suspect involved."

    Shouldn't that be "The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of Kafka's 'The Trial'"?

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984

      Now, there's a surprise....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Another gift from Reagan and like trickle down your leg economics it's a gift that keeps on giving. (or taking)

  3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    WTF?

    wait....... what?

    So they've developed what is basically a card skimmer for cops that takes money and not even places it in escrow awaiting a formal charge so that others can benefit from the cash taken? Even if all the funds were to be restored would the police refund bank charges and the interest that would have been accrued or owed?

    How did that ever get made legal? Why isn't there more oversight on something that is pretty much guaranteed to be abused on some level or another?

    Seriously can somebody please explain how removing funds is better than just freezing accounts?

    And that's before you look at overdrafts and the like.

    1. Dadmin

      Re: wait....... what?

      Here's a bit of American trivia for you; the East and West coasts of the US you will find a normal distribution of stupid/smart people, except Florida where we have 100% stupid. In between? It's all bible-eaters and gun-nuts. 99% of them. It is known.

      So, Oklahoma? It's like a crap version of Nebraska, which in itself is a shithole filled with idiots too stupid to move where tornados don't naturally occur every 15 minutes. It is known.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: wait....... what?

        Nah, it doesn't make any difference where it is. All cops grab money with New York, California and Texas being the worst offenders. Even in Liz Warren's home they grab anything or everything. This is just an example of Oklahoma trying to find new ways to catch up.

        Heck LAPD and the LA Sheriff took in more than all of Oklahoma.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: LAPD and the LA Sheriff took in more than all of Oklahoma

          Yes, well, all of Oklahoma has a population of 3.9 million. Los Angeles county is over 10 million people. NY, CA, and TX might be the word offenders but they're also by far the most populous states. Please do adjust for population in your figures.

          1. Eddy Ito
            Paris Hilton

            Re: LAPD and the LA Sheriff took in more than all of Oklahoma

            You got me AC. Accounting for population NY falls all the way to 7th picking $12.20 out of the pocket of every single New Yorker. CA comes right behind in 8th at $11.00. FYI, taking the top slot is Nebraska at $25.00 a head. Since they were mentioned Texas is 20th at $8.35 and Oklahoma is 13th at $9.72

            Of course when populations are small one single big score may easily push a state near the top which is the only way I can figure Vermont being 11th and most of the other small states (pop. < 2 million) being at the other end of the scale with the notable exception of the top seed.

            Of the bigger states (pop. > 6.5 million) only Washington and Virginia stand out taking a tiny $0.50 and $1.96 respectively. Of the top ten largest states, four make the top ten takers per capita and four manage to get out of the top 50%.

            Since I did include D.C. and it throws the state rank out of kilter by one, D.C. came in at number 12 managing to extract $10.45 from the purses of the capital residents. I hope that covers it well enough for you AC. I'd be happy to share my spreadsheet but I've no idea where to send it so you'll just have to make one of your own.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Eddy Ito Re: LAPD and the LA Sheriff took in more than all of Oklahoma

              First class response, Sir ! This is why I read El Reg forums / fora :)

              But this whole gloomy topic reminds me of Bruce Sterling's "Distraction" ... e.g. where the USAF set up "bake sales" where you'd better buy the damn cake ...

            2. Eddy Ito

              Re: LAPD and the LA Sheriff took in more than all of Oklahoma

              For completeness, the average per person taking for the entire U.S. is $7.65 and each state averages $6.73 with a median of $5.43.

      2. Gray
        Facepalm

        Re: wait....... what?

        So, Oklahoma? It's like a crap version of Nebraska, which in itself is a shithole filled with idiots too stupid to move where tornados don't naturally occur every 15 minutes. It is known.

        Oklahoma: where tornadoes sometimes devastate a school, killing kids, but the state legislature claims it would bankrupt the state budget to include a tornado shelter in school buildings. Obviously, the only kids who die are those who (or their parents) did something to piss off God.

        As for the cops, this has been going on for a long time. One national network did a filmed piece on a Texas sheriff and his deputies patrolling the freeway for luxury automobiles, typically a late-model Cadillac; then stopping and seizing the automobile under the "forfeiture" laws. Hidden camera footage put an end to that particular Sheriff trap, but it was only one in thousands of crooked scams conducted by US law enforcement. Give 'em an opportunity to lie, cheat, or steal, and some will do it.

        About that 7.7% that the vendor gets; shouldn't that also include a 10% "finders fee" for the bent cop?

      3. Florida1920
        Alert

        Re: wait....... what?

        except Florida where we have 100% stupid

        I beg your pardon, Dad.

      4. oiseau Silver badge

        America?

        "Here's a bit of American trivia for you ..."

        No ...

        That's *USA* trivia.

        America is actually whole continent.

        Thanks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: America?

          Yep the greatest continent on Earth. With lots of natural resources to be plundered up North and lots of people to exploit to the South.

        2. The Wild Tomcat

          Re: America?

          North America is "actually whole continent."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: America? (while we are stereotyping)

            And only called so due to some vain Italian mapmaker who probably slapped around his woman but would kill anyone who said anything bad about his mommy.

            1. Hollerithevo

              Re: America? (while we are stereotyping)

              Amerigo: did not put his own name on the map. He was such a respected cartographer that his name was used.

              And why the gratuitous slur against Italian men?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: America? (while we are stereotyping)

                >Amerigo: did not put his own name on the map. He was such a respected cartographer that his name was used.

                Well aware of that and never said he did.

                >And why the gratuitous slur against Italian men?

                Actually that one went out to most countries that are vast majority Catholic as well some others.

                1. Matthew 3

                  Re: America? (while we are stereotyping)

                  If it had been named after him it's more likely we'd be talking about Vespuccia, based on the last-name-based traditions of the time.

                  Richard Ameryk seems like a more likely candidate to me.

          2. ElectricRook

            Re: America?

            North America is the US and Canada. And what exactly are Canadians? Pseudo Americans in denial.

            1. Darryl

              Re: America?

              ElectricRook. I'm sure that Mexico will appreciate your geography lesson.

              1. Phil Koenig

                Re: America?

                Mexico also being the second nation in North America which refers to themselves as "United States" (..of Mexico), for almost as long as the USA. (47 years less, to be exact. Almost 200 years now.)

                I gleefully attract many cross-eyed looks and grimaces by pointing-out such inconvenient facts and using terms like "Yanks" or "USians" when referring to US residents.

                Apple Cart Upsetter in Chief

            2. Marshalltown

              Re: America?

              "North America is the US and Canada. And what exactly are Canadians? Pseudo Americans in denial."

              Ah - and Mexico to, down to Central America. Canadians, USians, and Mexicans are all from North America. Some are just from farther north than others.

            3. Pat 4

              Re: America?

              When the US joins the rest of the modern world with proper health care, child care, affordable schools, stops shooting at itself and stops supporting orange, orangutans politicians, you can compare it to a great country like Canada.

              In the meantime please don't compare yourself to us. It's insulting and makes us feel dirty.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wait....... what?

        Hey, go fuck yourself, not everyone in Florida is stupid, just you and your family.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: wait....... what?

          Hey, go fuck yourself, not everyone in Florida is stupid, just you and your family.

          You may have just proven his point..

        2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: wait....... what?

          https://www.reddit.com/r/FloridaMan/ exists for a reason...

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: wait....... what? @Uncle Slacky

            "Meth clowns, nude brawls and shootouts: How Waffle House became the ‘Florida man’ of restaurant chains"

            First title on page, not heard of it or Florida Man before, believe I have some light reading now. :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: wait....... what? @Uncle Slacky

              Florida is Arizona (both are where old people go to die) with humidity.

      6. Jason Hindle Silver badge

        Re: wait....... what?

        "except Florida where we have 100% stupid."

        Spelling really should be aligned with pronunciation - Flo-rih-DUH.

      7. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: wait....... what?

        Here's a bit of American trivia for you; the East and West coasts of the US you will find a normal distribution of stupid/smart people, except Florida where we have 100% stupid.

        Well, now we know which side of the stupid/smart divide you're on, anyway.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: wait....... what?

      >> And that's before you look at overdrafts and the like.

      Hmm. I wonder if you could put your overdraft on a card, buy a cheap car, and take a motoring holiday in Oklahoma?

    3. Public Citizen

      Re: wait....... what?

      Because, as has been demonstrated in an ever increasing number of [corrupt] jurisdictions this is an even easier scam to abuse than speed traps, with greater potential for "acquiring" [read outright steal] off budget funds that can be used to buy even more tactical toys that make it even easier to shake down the public.

    4. SolidSquid

      Re: wait....... what?

      It doesn't go into escrow because you don't get it back unless you take the cops to court and prove that the funds aren't the result of criminal acts. They don't need to take you to court, they just have to have a "suspicion" it was obtained through criminal acts. It's a bizarre idea, given it's essentially pre-trial punishment without even *needing* a trial, but that's what they consider reasonable search and seizure apparently

    5. Daveytay

      Re: wait....... what?

      If you live in the USA, and have posted/ read this comment, you should make sure you and everyone you know is able to vote and does. The systemic voter failure is the biggest issue right now. IMHO.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: wait....... what?

        If you live in the USA, and have posted/ read this comment, you should make sure you and everyone you know is able to vote and does. The systemic voter failure is the biggest issue right now. IMHO.

        The real "voter failure" is that so many people put race, tribal identity, and so-called social issues ahead of common sense when they vote.

        In the South, as long as a politician hates gays, abortion, racial minorities, and Democrats, s/he will be elected and re-elected. White Southern voters ignore everything else that their elected officials do; the only qualification is that they hate the same people and things.

        As long as social and ethnic minorities are the main targets of third-world policies like civil asset forfeiture, the voters have no problem with it. When straight white Christians get their assets seized -- e.g., the Christian rock band whose merch money was taken -- only then do these policies become an "overreach."

    6. Triggerfish

      Re: wait....... what? @Sgt Oddball

      Well if you follow that John Oliver link it talks about how Texas police paid for a Margarita Slushy machine with seized assets, Columbia police think of it as pennies from heaven which they can use to buy new non essential toys, and another place but a 50K Zamboni although they do not know why or where it is.

      Can't do that if the accounts are frozen.Plus I guess if you take all of someones money and disappear it, maybe it's harder to fight it.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wait....... what?

      How did that ever get made legal? Why isn't there more oversight on something that is pretty much guaranteed to be abused on some level or another?

      Indeed. In the old days, you'd take the plastic credit card and hold on to that - would have the same effect as freezing an account.

    8. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: wait....... what?

      "[H]ow removing funds is better than just freezing accounts"

      A bank is quite unlikely to freeze an account without a proper court order to do so and possibly concurrence of their internal legal office. Lots more paperwork, and much lower success probability than simple confiscation. And the skimmer is useful too, because the card contents don't become available automatically as does seized cash.

      The immediate seizure process is so obviously in conflict with the fourth, fifth, and occasionally sixth amendments that it seems incomprehensible that it was not suppressed shortly after enactment.

  4. hellwig

    I've heard of instances where there was no record of the assets being seized, meaning even when the family who had their money STOLEN from them went to the courts, the police had no record they ever even seized said profits, so it was their word (worthless) against the word of the cop who took the money in the first place.

    Since no Government recognizes Bitcoin as currency, can they force you to turn over bitcoin as assets (obviously they can just take a thumb drive with your keys on it), if you're sued and/or a judgement is levied against you?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Does swiping just one of your cards card magically empty all your bank accounts wherever they are in the US? All your accounts within that state? All your accounts at the bank who gave you that card? Or just that account for that card?

      Probably best not to carry all your cards with you in Oook-lahoma.

      1. fajensen Silver badge
        Coat

        Who Knows?

        One does suspect that, since one explicitly has to use a personal credit card for the ESTA application, that "they" need that card to get the applicants "handle" in SWIFT (or whatever) and from there "they" can work out all the accounts registered in your name and probably associated accounts (all accounts you transferred to/from).

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Basically, it was a knee-jerk reaction to the declared "War on Drugs". Gave the police a excuse to seize and repurpose ill-gotten goods. Might be fine if they busted a drug dealer and used his car and money for some good. But, like anything, it quickly became abused and used by police departments as a revenue stream.

    I really wish politicians would stop and think before they just toss laws on the books. But then, that requires them to think, use logic, and other things like ethics that are unknown to most of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They've taken thousands of dollars from people who've broken no law on the basis that the money might be used at some point to buy drugs. An absolute disgrace.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        " on the basis that the money might be used"

        People have also been convicted of DUI after being stopped walking along the footpath with car keys in their possession because they MIGHT use them to drive a car.

        Yes, really.

        1. AustinTX

          @Alan Brown "People have also been convicted of DUI after being stopped walking along the footpath with car keys in their possession because they MIGHT use them to drive a car."

          This is absolutely true. I was in a jury selection panel for exactly this. It's rolled under "Public Intoxication". A cop arrested a man who was walking down the sidewalk because *a witness* expressed the concern that this man would get in his car and drive drunk. The cop was his own "witness". It sounded like the man had simply been a tad surly when he was approached by Deputy Dawg. He had been drinking, but wasn't slobbering wasted. The man was literally being tried for a crime he hadn't committed. But could have. Just hope a cop doesn't pick YOU on the street for one of his fantasy scenarios.

          I wasn't chosen for trial, probably because I asked too many questions.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm not sure of the law in the USA, but in the UK it is illegal to be drunk in charge of a vehicle. If you need to fetch your sunglasses, leave the keys in the house. Approaching your car, or being in it, with the keys and whilst intoxicated is illegal.

    2. Wommit

      @Mark 85

      "I really wish politicians would stop and think before they just toss laws on the books."

      Oh, that's a good one, expecting Politicians to be able to think.

      ROFLMAO

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HA HA!

    'Murica

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HA HA!

      Don't laugh. That kind of shit happens in Yurop too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HA HA!

        Don't laugh. That kind of shit happens in Yurop too.

        I think that even in the more corrupt countries this would be hard to keep up, so evidence, please.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HA HA!

        *Yerp

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Jon Oliver had an excellent item on this a while ago.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks

    1. eesiginfo
      Coat

      Very good link.

      I think it is a must watch!

      It's kind of hard to believe that this is true.

      TBH I'm a bit stunned.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Jon Oliver had an excellent item on this a while ago.

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks

      That is just terrifying. It has all the hallmarks of a corrupt banana republic and just make me even more determined to never, ever visit the USA. It's effectively turning beat cops into Judge Dredd. Judge, jury and executioner..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It has all the hallmarks of a corrupt banana republic

        I think banana republics are usually more open about how they operate, they rarely pretend to be democracies and leaders of the free world and all that nonsense we keep hearing every time they want something.

        and just make me even more determined to never, ever visit the USA.

        Ah, the future of illegal rendition: the only way to keep the US tourist industry afloat..

        1. Triggerfish

          It's actually sort of refreshing as long as it's peaceful (it gets very dark if not), you know who is fucking who over. I always figured that most of these corrupt countries are usually youngish unstable governments, our ones like we have in the first world have just become more subtle about screwing us, and institutionalised it by bringing in laws, having old boys networks, tax havens etc. Basically banana republic governments are just amateurs when it comes to screwing the pennies out of the populace.

      2. Vic

        It's effectively turning beat cops into Judge Dredd

        Not so.

        Dredd might have been brutal, but he knew the law and upheld it...

        Vic.

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    "I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That's a very small thing that's happening now."

    Perhaps Highway Patrol Lt John Vincent would like to tell us about some of the other things that are happening now. Is taking a car a very small thing or a small thing. How about a house? is that medium sized yet?

    1. Sebastian A

      It's small to the police force in question. That it can destroy a person's whole life doesn't matter to them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's the price of freedom!!

      1. Public Citizen

        Thomas Jefferson stated that "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

        This is ~not~ part of that price.

        This is the ~penalty~ paid when too many people are distracted and not paying enough attention to the important things.

      2. Paul Shirley
        Mushroom

        It's the price of freedom!!

        Yes, merkins talk good freedom but very few seem to work out what it means and how to do it.

        1. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: It's the price of freedom!!

          > Yes, merkins talk good freedom but very few seem to work out what it means and how to do it.

          And what, exactly, are "vigilant" citizens supposed to do when confronted with corrupt police officers crying "Civil Asset Forfeiture!" to rob them?

          Is that the point where an otherwise law-abiding citizen is supposed to pull out a gun and kill the police officer in question, and then run to the nearest Pay'n'spray to recolor their car, thus legally obliging every police officer from coast to coast to suffer a highly specific brain annyeurism which obliges them to forget about it?

          1. Cpt Blue Bear

            Re: It's the price of freedom!!

            What? You mean all that second amendment bravado isn't real? Say it aint so! [/sarcasm]

            +1 for the GTA reference, I think I'll dig out Vice City when I get home

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's the price of freedom!!

            then run to the nearest Pay'n'spray to recolor their car

            Ah, that may explain the popularity of plasti-dipping or foil laminating cars over there.

            Whatever you do, someone figures out a way to make a buck off it..

    3. Sir Runcible Spoon
      Big Brother

      "I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That's a very small thing that's happening now."

      That's what stood out to me too reading the article. Are they planning on divesting you of your organs to sell on to the local hospital next?

    4. ShadowDragon8685

      Here's a link that works: http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/police-confiscation-destroying-america-part-1/

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They can keep the band

    "We've seen single moms' stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. ..."

    The police can keep the Christian band. No-one wants it back.

  10. Magani
    WTF?

    Guilty until...?

    Whatever happened to 'due process'?

    Oh, that's right. It's to win the "War On <insert current buzzword>".

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Guilty until...?

      From the police spokeman's own words:

      "We're gonna look for different factors in the way that you're acting," he said. "We're gonna look for if there's a difference in your story; if there's some way that we can prove that you're falsifying information to us about your business."

      Not "the way that they're acting", but "the way that you're acting". And this is how they talk to the media.

      It seems like the assumption of guilt is completely ingrained.

      1. Christoph

        Re: Guilty until...?

        Ah, but they can only search your car if they have reasonable suspicion. Such as a drug dog alerting on the car.

        When this is studied, it's found that drug dogs give a *lot* of false alerts.

        But of course that's in a controlled study. It doesn't include cases where the driver is obviously suspicious due to being Uppity, or Driving While Black, and the police accidentally give the dog the covert signal which it has accidentally been trained to respond to by giving a false alert. Accidentally like.

  11. Nunyabiznes

    Constitution

    "If I had to err on the side of one side versus the other, I would err on the side of the Constitution," Loveless said. "And I think that's what we need to do." said OK Senator.

    I contend that basing a decision on the Constitution instead of kneejerk emotional reaction is not an error.

  12. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge
    Joke

    luckily the colonials have the right to bear arms, this being their guarantee against an over mighty govt.

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Excellent

    Between 2001 and 2014, the US government confiscated $29bn using the laws

    That's half the money that has been promised to Israel for the next ten years 'coz they are sooo hurting from that bad, bad Iran deal. People are asking whether someone has money diarrhea. Well, looks like "direct taxation" can bring in the goods! Sorted!!

  14. Unclezip

    Highway banditry at it's finest. *marks Oklahoma off vacation list*

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Doesn't help. It happens everywhere: The Forfeiture Racket: Police and prosecutors won't give up their license to steal.. This is an article from 2010.

      The 1984 law lowered the bar for civil forfeiture. To seize property, the government had only to show probable cause to believe that it was connected to drug activity, or the same standard cops use to obtain search warrants. The state was allowed to use hearsay evidence—meaning a federal agent could testify that a drug informant told him a car or home was used in a drug transaction—but property owners were barred from using hearsay, and couldn’t even cross-examine some of the government’s witnesses. Informants, while being protected from scrutiny, were incentivized monetarily: According to the law, snitches could receive as much as one-quarter of the bounty, up to $50,000 per case.

      Yeah, what could go wrong here?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The USA has long been off my potential holiday list. Trump does nothing to assuage that visceral feeling that too often the lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Trump is not even in charge....

        1. Shady
          Megaphone

          ...yet (megaphone not needed)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Even a lot of GOP members

          are thinking of voting for Hillary simply to keep the loony tunes Trump out of the Whitehouse.

          He has been compared to Dr Strangelove...

          Shudders

          Thankfully my USA trip will be over before his coronation at the GOP Convention.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Don't get too excited

            There are also a lot of Bernie supporters who are thinking about voting for Trump because they can't stomach voting for Hillary, the consummate Washington insider.

            This year's election is going to be really weird. Don't blame me, I'm voting for Gary Johnson.

            1. ShadowDragon8685

              Re: Don't get too excited

              As much as it causes me physical pain to say it, in America, if you abstain from voting, or vote for any third-party candidate, you are part of the problem. You're effectively casting half a vote for Trump if you do that.

              1. Swarthy
                Mushroom

                Re: Don't get too excited

                As much as it causes me physical pain to say it, in America, if you abstain from voting, or vote for any third-party candidate, you are part of the problem. You're effectively casting half a vote for Trump if you do that.
                I HATE it when people say that. "If you don't vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in." (Credit to D. Adams)

                If enough people realize that there is another option, it's not "throwing your vote away"; but with all of the fatalists (and people who profit from the status quo) churning that crap out the impressionable folks believe it. So the 3rd party never gets a shot. I didn't waste my vote - you convinced enough people to waste theirs.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "Wasted" votes on third party candidates

                So I guess you support the continuation of the broken two party system forever? Even when both candidates have negatives ABOVE 50%? If everyone who hated Hillary but isn't enthused about Trump, and everyone scared of Trump but isn't enthused about Hillary voted third party you'd probably see less than 50% of the vote total going to the two of them combined.

                I see three possible outcomes:

                1) Either Hillary or Trump win by reaching 270 electoral votes

                2) A third party candidate wins (most likely Gary Johnson as he's already polling in double digits and if he makes the debates he'll be seen nationwide as a credible alternative to Lizard One and Lizard Two) I admit this is unlikely, but if you want to dismiss it out of hand why do we even preserve the fantasy of allowing third parties? We should only allow democrats and republicans to field candidates and ban third parties and independents from running.

                3) A third party candidate wins enough states that neither Hillary or Trump reach 270 electoral votes. This leaves the election decided by the House of Representatives. I think odds are good they would abandon Trump and elect Paul Ryan. You might not like that outcome, and the public would scream about having the election decision taken away from them, but nothing would help reform our system faster than something like that happening.

                1. ShadowDragon8685

                  Re: "Wasted" votes on third party candidates

                  DougS, it's an unfortunate fact of reality in this country that a great deal of voters are Party Voters.

                  There are Republicans who would vote Republican if Martin Shkreli was on the ticket with, I dunno, Kim Kardashian as running mate.

                  And there are Democrats who would vote Democrat if the ticket were Guy Fieri/John Oliver.

                  When you account for these voters who vote strictly on the party lines, between Republithugs and Dipshitcrats that's a majority of the voters already accounted for. Why do they do this? Because "This party best represents my interests" is simple and easy to understand.

                  So, getting a majority vote without it being [R] or [D] is already basically impossible. That's why I was fervently hoping that Trump would lose the nomination, throw a hissy, run as a third-party, and split the Republican voting base, thereby basically rolling the red carpet out for the Democrats. Not because I LIKE the Democrats, mind you, there's so much they do - or rather, so much they DON'T do - that pisses me off - but because they're not as bad as the alternative.

                  And in this case, the alternative is LITERALLY following Adolf Hitler's roadmap to power. So, let's see your options.

                  1: And if everybody who says "I hate Trump, but I don't like Hillary enough to vote for her" votes third-party or abstains, they're effectively casting half a vote for Trump, because their vote is NOT going into Hillary's pile. Let me be clear: don't get this twisted. I don't want Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. I think she's a fucking sell-out who sold the American people out to Big Insurance 22 years ago and has as much business in the oval office as a four-foot-tall wooden dildo.

                  But Donald fucking Trump is such a terrifying trainwreck disaster - the man has literally advocated WAR CRIMES on national television - that frankly at this point, anything short of violence would be justified to keep him out of the oval office. Voting for a candidate you don't LIKE is a small price to pay to keep a maniac out.

                  2: That could, in theory, happen. It would require every single undecided vote - including those who normally vote along party lines but will break ranks over one or two issues, or who will break ranks only in local elections - to unanimously back the third party. Who's it gonna be, huh? Gary Johnson?

                  I would rather jam my wedding tackle into a lion's mouth and whip his jacksie with a towel-whip than vote for a libertardian like Gary Johnson. Granted, I'd rather stick my wedding tackle into a V8-powered blender with Jeremy Clarkson on the accelerator than vote for Donald Trump, so I'd do it if it were literally the only other option, but it is not. As usual, the Libertardian party will gather a paltry sum of votes and fail entirely to have any meaningful effect in our ridiculous system.

                  3: In theory, this is possible, and has the potential to be a good outcome in the long run. But in the short run, it would start a REVOLUTION. Pissed-off Trumptards angry that they got cheated, pissed-off Democrats angry that they got cheated AND pissed-off third-party voters, would all have something to unite about they got all got shafted and the President was not elected by the people, from any of the options the actual people voted for.

                  Frankly, this country's democratic processes are broken. They could damn well be better, yes. But the only things that are going to cause any improvement will entail bloodshed, and I do not wish to see that happen. Would I prefer a system where you could vote for someone other than one of the big two and have a meaningful chance that your interests will be represented in government, abso-fucking-loutely I would. Hell, before this Brexit clusterfuck, I was actually suggesting, only in half-jest, ringing up 10 Downing Street and asking if we could kindly have a take-backsies on that whole "American Revolution" thing and join the UK.

                  Unfortunately, the system is broken, and there's no way to fix it that won't be blocked by those in power. Neither party would actually agree to any constitutional amendments that would weaken the two-party system, because in the long run it is in their cynical best interests to maintain the system; even if their party's power wanes, it will wax again sooner or later, whilstletting the Libtertards, Greenies, Constitutional fucktards, and all the etcs have their seat at the table would whittle both of them down to the point they might actually have to compromise with others to get things done. You know, like civilized human beings, and they can't have that.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Don't get too excited

              "Don't blame me, I'm voting for Gary Johnson."

              At least you get a vote. The rest of us don't but we still get the fall-out.

              1. Christoph

                Re: Don't get too excited

                "The rest of us don't but we still get the fall-out."

                No annihilation without representation

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        The USA has long been off my potential holiday list.

        Hell, almost all of the USA is off my travel list and I live here. Between TSA, police thuggery, and general idiocy by the populace, I just stay close (within a couple hundred miles) to home.

    3. Christoph

      The new police motto

      To Protect And Serve Stand and Deliver

  15. EveryTime

    Wait, it's possible to get a 7.7% commision on shakedowns?

    A company has figured out how to get a cut of a contra-constitutional practice? 7.7% for providing a card reader? (The $5K fixed payment is just a smoke screen around where the real money is.)

    This is innovative. You couldn't horn in on the action when cash or drugs are seized. But technology provides an excuse for getting a cut. No doubt with Redflex-style kickbacks.

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Wait, it's possible to get a 7.7% commision on shakedowns?

      Just you average Public-Private Partnership deal, happens all the time. Isn't democracy great?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The article's title's play on words has started an ear worm. Probably won't affect many people under 60.

  17. Bob Dole (tm)
    Thumb Down

    This practice...

    needs to end. period.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and the reason to visit Ok is? I can't seem to find one?

    This and their treatment of the LGBT community esp the bathroom laws make it hard to actually want to visit the place.

    Shame really as it is one of the last two states I have to visit.

    Well, I'm glad that my cards are all NFC ones and are carried in a shielding wallet. Yes I have my tinfoil hat on and proud to wear it.

    Posting AC as I'm in the USA and as of thursday, I'll be in a state adjacent to Ok. Don't want to temp fate now do we eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and the reason to visit Ok is? I can't seem to find one?

      There's a really REALLY big pecan tree West of Canehill, OK. It's as big around as an ordinary house. I used to sit under it and jerk off.

  19. DanceMan

    Guilty until proved innocent

    Civil forfeiture has been happening here in Canada, but hasn't progressed to highway robbery yet.

    Yet.

    If it starts, expect it in Saskatchewan first.

    1. Hollerithevo

      Re: Guilty until proved innocent

      Sadly, I agree with you, although Alberta will be right behind Sask.

    2. Chris 244

      Highway Robbery

      Literally already happened. In left-leaning Ontario. In 2009.

      http://thenewspaper.com/news/32/3248.asp

  20. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    A national disgrace that should have been shut down years ago. Abused everywhere it is used.

    An absolute disgrace.

    And because it is used by State controlled police it will be almost impossible to eradicate even if the original laws are repealed. Some police officers are openly gleeful about the abuses they've put this law to. I saw one in print crowing that a traffic stop which resulted in no charge being filed netted his department enough to buy a top of the line automatic coffee making machine.

    An absolute disgrace.

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

    "Licence to steal" is a good way to describe asset forfeiture laws as they currently stand in the US, not just this card skimmer. The theory behind this law, the police would hold onto profits related from a crime during trial, they'd have their day in court, if found not guilty the person gets their stuff back. Edit: The description in a few of the links people have linked to make it clear this law is full shadiness, that the police can seize money and hold onto it without filing any charges.

    In practice, that can be how it works if the police in an area are honest (in my local area, for instance, I haven't heard of any problems; the sheriffs are elected so if the police misbehaved they would be replaced). But it's a law that almost seems to be designed to be abused.

    Two major problems with this:

    1) The law says these are supposed to be proceeds from crimes (i.e. if some movie-style drug kingpin has been a kingpin for 5 years, and bought his fancy sports car and mansion within the last year or two, they were probably bought with drug kingpin money.) What happens in practice, in big cities the police routinely steal peoples cars, they'll find (or plant) $10 of something or other in there *OR JUST DECIDE YOU HAVE A "SUSPICIOUS" AMOUNT OF CASH! (This amount doesn't have to be like a briefcase of cash or something, I've heard of people getting the full harrassment over like $50.) Of course (per what you see in the article) the police will now take even a broken tail light as an excuse for this kind of thing.

    2) The obvious greed factor -- individuals and departments that would never break or bend the rules (i.e. taking bribes or what have you) view this as a legal method of bringing reveneue into the department, you can get your department money for funding nicer, newer equipment, and pull in sports cars and so on for them? The police in some cities here love to show off Corvettes and so on that they have seized, then they paint them up in police car coloration. Police here in the US will take assets, and then expect those who they just took all their money from to hire a lawyer to get it back. This includes cases where they raid the wrong house, even those people will not automatically get those assets back. Of course, they're supposed to hold onto assets until after trial, but it's happened before and will happen again where people have gone to trial, been found "not guilty", then find out the police already auctioned there stuff off for like 10 cents on the dollar (more money for the police coffers don't you know?)

    I wonder if anyone who has had their money skimmed by this thing has ever tried going to the card company and filing a dispute? After all, the police didn't take your money, this private company paid the police 92.3% (7.7% cut remember) of the money they saw on your card, and *the privacy company* drained the card. They probably have to follow the same card processing rules as everyone else.. it simply wouldn't occur to most people to file a dispute when it's the police skimming your card instead of some random scammer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

      3) the "revenue sharing" between the various parties pretty much guarantees abuse as there are too many stakeholders corrupted in the process to give justice a chance.

      Honestly, how on earth can the US claim to be standing for justice, freedom and democracy with laws like this?

      On the plus side: I think Windows 10 is a crime. Go get them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

      I wonder if anyone who has had their money skimmed by this thing has ever tried going to the card company and filing a dispute? After all, the police didn't take your money, this private company paid the police 92.3% (7.7% cut remember) of the money they saw on your card, and *the privacy company* drained the card.

      It certainly suggests aggressive culpability, but I can see another one coming here. Most people who use their cards sensibly keep away from the limit and pay off monthly. What is going to happen when the Keystone Cops empty your card? They're effectively taking out a loan on your behalf, and you'll be stuck with the debt, multiplied by the number of cards you had the misfortune of carrying.

      It's a good thing you can forget your PIN when you're that nervous and that NFC transactions are limited in size.

      Bonus question: can they also do that to US based assets owned by foreigners? If yes I'd worry about card details left with PayPal and Amazon. It may not have been done yet, but if there are no restrictions in law it's only a matter of time before that obvious next step is taken. After all, we're foreigners, so automatically suspect..

    3. MonkeyCee

      Re: Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

      While I'm glad your local cops are not taking the piss (or the phat loots) relying on the local electorate can be very tricky.

      Since it takes most people about 30 seconds to work out the various loopholes in this legislation, and LEOs share the advice around, it's not too surprising that there are ways of avoiding pretty much any and all oversight.

      First, you avoid stealing from locals (since they can elect someone else). Focus on out of state cars, since they are less likely to be able to come back and fight you in court.

      Second, screw up (or simply don't file) as much paperwork as possible. Never record what your suspicions where, just that you had them.

      Third, ensure you know the wide array of things you can seize on their own basis. Cash can be used for illegal purposes, so seize all of that. Avoid taking guns, since that'll get much more political heat, and god forbid you violate the 2nd amendment. The 4th can go fuck itself.

    4. Justin Clift

      Re: Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

      It'll be interesting if/when a security researcher gets access to one of these card draining things, and reverse engineers it looking for weaknesses.

      If it turns out to have weak security (fairly likely), be exploitable (I'd give it better than 50% likely :>) or rely on backdoors in some payment processing spec (doesn't sound like it), then we'll probably see non-police bad actors using these to extract funds from people in the next few years too. :/

      Sounds like a bad can of worms to have opened up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

        then we'll probably see non-police bad actors using these to extract funds from people in the next few years too

        Why wait? Guns are easy to get, and it's not that hard to get hold of uniforms as well. Target out-of-state people (handy that the license plates tell you this) and you can hit quite a few people pretending to be cops. There is fundamentally no difference between a pretend cop taking money or a real cop taking money by abusing a loophole - both is theft under duress.

        Do this for a few days, then move state and repeat (otherwise it's a bit like stealing from the mafia - the local cops won't like the competition).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the use case for paying with a phone has finally arrived

    Don't carry cards, import them into your phone instead....then keep your phone locked, and the cops can't steal your money. This is probably the real reason why the FBI wants Apple to give them a backdoor, so they can keep stealing money from people who "look suspicious".

    1. Hollerithevo

      Re: So the use case for paying with a phone has finally arrived

      Then be incarcerated until you give up your password/codes for your phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So the use case for paying with a phone has finally arrived

        Re: So the use case for paying with a phone has finally arrived

        Then be incarcerated until you give up your password/codes for your phone.

        Why? Android has always been an open door (ever heard the FBI asking Google for access?), and any older iPhone is not that hard either (iPhone 6 and 6s with the latest iOS are a lot harder).

        That being said, they may just keep you a while anyway for giggles. After all, how are you going to sue them as a foreigner? If you were important they would have already heard from your highly paid lawyer, so the fact that they haven't is an indication that they yet again got away with it - given government attitudes I doubt you'll be able to make it a diplomatic incident.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They can't jail you for not giving up your phone's password

        In the UK, sure, they can do that, but AFAIK they don't have the stupid asset forfeiture laws there so they can't steal money from your phone or your card.

  23. JimmyPage
    WTF?

    I guess this "constitution" thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

    Seizing goods and property without due process ? That is soooooooo 13th Century.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Speechless

    No, really, words fail me.

  25. Jon Wilson

    Help the Police!

    https://youtu.be/iZyqwOOmETI

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    magic wand

    a must-have for every modern criminal.

    Disclaimer: this device and system behind it, have been developed to make it absolutely temper-proof and we can reassure the public there is no risk of the device falling into the wrong hands or the technology being reverse-engineered and copycat devices available on alibaba.com. Not within the next couple of months. Stay safe, stay in credit! The State needs you!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: magic wand

      developed to make it absolutely temper-proof

      Interesting - so you can't get angry at it? Does this come in vest form too?

      :)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not visiting the US: the list keeps growing..

    I may need to make a list somewhere of all the reasons why you don't want to go near the place.

    1 - TSA. 'nuf said.

    2 - Data shakedown at the border: they can take any device off you and do whatever they feel like with it, even keep it for a while. Which could even include INJECTING data for later entrapment. Did you piss off any important US company of late? Or did you invent something important that a US company doesn't really want to pay for?

    3 - The way foreigners are treated. Unless they have a "cute" accent like British, but God help you if you happen to be non-white. I'd be extra careful: don't get as much as a sun tan, a mistake is so easily made when there are no real consequences attached to it.

    4 - Lots of private gun ownership and next to no control on it. And quite a lot of "rampages" and "accidents". Oh, did I mention you're a foreigner? You can't have any to defend yourself either. Maybe someone should set up shop selling at least bulletproof vests. And armoured vehicles. Police killing people does generally not have consequences either.

    5 - Privacy? You're kidding, right?

    6 - Legalised theft by the people who are supposed to protect you. It'll be even easier to do this to you as a foreigner because you'll stand no chance in court, living abroad and all that. Ka-tching!

    Unbelievable. Truly unbelievable.

    1. Christoph

      Re: Not visiting the US: the list keeps growing..

      "Which could even include INJECTING data for later entrapment."

      Or installing spyware. Or some spying hardware. So even when you get back home it's still sending them everything you do,

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hackers and this system

    The device itself may be a target for hackers, on par with retail POS terminals. Don't forget about the rest. Infiltrate the vendor's payment processing (fund seizing) system, protect your ground from other potential infiltrators, and don't get greedy. Siphon off a few percent disguised as a political contribution or kickback and you could have a nice revenue stream.

    AC, just one of those topics that could come back to bite you.

  29. Sir Alien

    Just use a normal CC.

    Okay, not everyone has one but even if you keep you balance down the insurance that a normal credit card provides would be some much more appealing in such situations.

    If you only keep your CC on you during such travels and they took all the balance then if the report does not list the assets confiscated, you simply call up your CC provider and reverse the transaction as stolen funds.

    Cops take your money, you take it back.

    -S.A

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just use a normal CC.

      It may not be that easy. Given that the cop theft side of things is legalised (I can't bring myself to call it "legal", it's just too wrong for words), you risk getting hit with a fraud charge on top.

      On the plus side, if there ever was an argument for limiting your debt ceiling, here it is.

      1. Sir Alien

        Re: Just use a normal CC.

        Ah but it not being on the police report as some have claimed would be putting the officer in charge of the confiscation in the fraud cross-hairs (sort of).

        My comment about reversing the charge was only if you attempted to claim back and it did not exist on the police report as an asset.

        - S.A

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Just use a normal CC.

      Not sure what protection you get on a pre-paid card - it's not "credit" being offered by the bank. Added to which, I'm sure the T&Cs have a long list of exclusions that you cannot object to, including legal acts of government representatives.

      By no means am I saying that this is anything but unethical/unconstitutional/immoral and downright fubar, but that's what the legal systems of democracies seem to be racing towards.

      I don't see any harm in asset forfeiture for criminal proceeds under certain circumstances - ideally this would be after guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt, though (subject to certain provisions to prevent disposal of these assets by folks of dubious moral values who know/think they're going to get found guilty, but equally subject to provisions allowing them to live their normal life in the process). Additionally, allowing the local forces to keep what they confiscate is a magnet for abuse. As the main use here is to seize assets related to drug crimes, why not funnel it to local drug rehab facilities?

  30. DropBear

    Huh...?

    If the card can be charged simply by reading it, I'm a bit confused about why everybody else needs to remember and enter a PIN on any transaction...

  31. Hollerithevo

    Can anyone suggest a good pre-filled payment card?

    I know there are cards you can pre-fill with a cash amount and supposedly use them like credit cards/cashpoint cards when buying things and services, but I don't know how widely they are accepted, especially in the USA. It seems to me that buying a cheap mobile and loading only the minimal amount of info on it, plus a locally-bought SIM card, plus a pre-filled card with only as much as you were willing to have confiscated, might protect you on visits to the USA.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can anyone suggest a good pre-filled payment card?

      I have a USD prepaid card, from a well-known travel agents, never had a problem with using it last year when on holiday, at restaurants, shops or filling up the car. The only questions we were asked when paying was... would you like a loyalty card? Never knew a Yorkshire accent could be mistaken with whatever strange language they speak round Chicago way.

  32. Tom -1
    Flame

    So no-one wants to enforce the constitution? After all, the supreme court ruled (in February 1993) against the confiscation of assests of innocent people even if those assets are themselves tainted in whole or in part by illegal activities. And it ruled (in June 1993) that confiscation of assets is a punishment (the Department of Justice had contended it wasn't) and a strong case can be made that a punishemnt applied to innocent people is cruel and unusual (which was why the DoJ was frightened of confiscation being classed as a punishment). And it further ruled (in June 1993) that eighth amendment's prohibiion of unreasonable seach and seizure applies to confiscation of assets.

    I'm not aware of the supreme court having reversed itself in any of those matters, or of any constitutional amendment since 1993 that could void any of the rulings in question. But maybe that's because I no longer keep track of the shambles that is the American "justice" system since I no longer go to the USA.

    But I suppose that it's situation normal in the USA: the powers that be (even minor powers like the local cops) will merrily violate the constitution (with the possible exception of the second amendment) and there is little or no chance of them being prevented from doing this or being punished for doing it or for anyone getting redress when harmed by it since it would be inconvenient for the ruling plutocrats to have the laws and the constitution enforced.

    I suspect that we are better off with our "unwritten constitution" than with a written one like the American one or the Russian one,

  33. Medixstiff

    So if it’s transferred to the Police department’s bank accounts, can you request the interest you should have earned on your funds back, as compensation, once you are found to be in the right?

    Otherwise I see a lawyer wanting to make a name for themselves starting a class action, knowing what the US appears to be like.

  34. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Wyatt Earp would be proud

    In the days of the 'Wild West' (a term invented by one of the Bronte sisters), the local sheriffs were also tax collectors. And, probably, similarly uncontrolled.

  35. muddyfunster

    Read this a few years back - rage inducing bullshit from 'the land of the free'

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/08/12/taken

    added that to the random shooting, tasering and beatings by the cops e.g. for crossing the road and i'm glad not to live there - also not keen to visit much.

  36. Colin Ritchie
    Windows

    Is this the sort of thing that makes Bitcoin attractive to criminals?

    Just wondering.

  37. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Transition to a cashless USA

    Oklahoma is getting a jump on the move to a cashless society. Many police stations already have a computer that is keyed to access the main credit reporting bureaus. If they can scan in your information and a card or two, they will have an inventory of all of your major assets. At least those that you haven't paid in full shorter than 7 years ago.

    I can't wait until somebody nicks one of these scanners and posts some tear down video and software dump logs.

    Could one call their credit card company after a confiscation and claim their card was stolen? It isn't a lie and could create all sorts of fun.

    I think I will avoid Oklahoma even more now. They are also the state that has some of the most draconian laws on pot possession. While many states are legalizing it, OK is pushing for the death penalty. I don't partake, but I don't want any planted on me as I'm passing through so the coppers can rummage through my car and my bank accounts with impunity.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "we saw a Christian band being taken"

    Justifies the law right there...

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