A device that can access funds linked to prepaid debit cards is sparking new concerns about civil asset forfeiture.
Oklahoma police agencies are being equipped with devices that allow officers to scan prepaid debit cards and target funds linked to them for civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcers to permanently seize property they suspect is connected to criminal activity.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has purchased Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machines for installation in Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma City police cruisers, according to an Oklahoma Watch report published Tuesday. The device tells officers the balance of prepaid debit cards and gift cards, and allows them to seize the money if they determine it’s suspicious. ERAD readers also can provide limited information about pretty much any card with a magnetic strip, including bank debit cards and credit cards.
Drugs, the excuse is always drugs. I’m getting goddamned sick of the subversion of my rights always being excused because of “The need to fight the Drug Problem”.
Change the mission statement of the Drug Enforcement Agency to mandate that it will now become USA Federal Policy to ensure everyone and anyone that wants to ingest, smoke or inject ANY intoxicating substance be provided, free of charge, as little or as much of any drug they ask for. BY THE DEA.
Personally I’d stay off the roads for the first month. But in conjunction with a draconian enforcement of the personal responsibility for any acts or crimes committed while under the influence; sentences limited to Death, or Life in Prison.
“Law enforcement’s going to say that there are good uses for it and that they use it on a limited basis, but this is deja vu all over again,” he said. “We heard that last year and we’ve seen innocent people’s stuff taken. We’ve seen how [law enforcement] spins it and it’s just not right.”
In April, police in Muskogee County drew nationwide backlash over reports that the sheriff’s department had seized more than $50,000 from the manager of a Burmese Christian rock band. Police held the money — which turned out to be donations to an orphanage and proceeds from the group’s concerts — for nearly two months before returning it due to a lack of evidence.
Elsewhere in the state, a prosecutor came under fire for using money from a forfeiture account to pay off student loan debts, and a sheriff was charged with extortion for attempting to extract cash from a motorist through civil forfeiture.
Critics say these cases underscore the problematic nature of a system that has weak protections for property owners and incentive structures that feed forfeited proceeds into law enforcement coffers. Oklahoma’s deal with ERAD Group adds a twist — giving a share of the seized assets to a private company.
Those that call this highway robbery are not wrong. What’s next? Granting the police “Droit de Signor”?