The NSA has been widely monitoring international banking and credit card transactions, a new report says referencing Edward Snowden’s leak. The agency targeted Visa customers and global financial service SWIFT and created its own money flows database.
Referring to information leaked by Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, German Der Spiegel reports that the surveillance was carried out by a branch called “Follow the Money” (FTM).
After the information on transactions was obtained, it was redirected to the NSA’s own financial database, called “Tracfin”.
According to the leaked documents, in 2011 the database contained 180 million records, with 84 percent of those being credit card transactions details.
Among the millions of records, the NSA’s Tracfin’s also contained data from the Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). Used to conduct business operations “with speed, certainty and confidence”, this global financial service is used by more than 10,000 banking organizations in 212 countries.
The NSA spied on SWIFT on several levels, involving its “tailored access operations” division, according to the report in Der Spiegel. Reading “SWIFT printer traffic from numerous banks,” was just one of the ways the NSA was accessing the information.
One of the NSA’s goals was to “collect, parse and ingest transactional data for priority credit card associations, focusing on priority geographic regions.”
- NSA ‘Follow the Money’ branch spied on VISA customers, SWIFT transactions – report (rt.com)
- The NSA Is Also Grabbing Millions Of Credit Card Records (philosophers-stone.co.uk)