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NSA Spies On International Payments

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the counting-the-money dept.

United States 314

jones_supa writes "The National Security Agency (NSA) widely monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions, according to documents seen by SPIEGEL. Information acquired by the former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that the spying is conducted by a branch called Follow the Money (FTM). The collected information then flows into the NSA's own financial databank, called Tracfin, which in 2011 contained 180 million records. Some 84 percent of the data is from credit card transactions."

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American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44861967)

Yes, I do! I find it quite amusing that America was schooled by Putin on exceptionalism.

For a country one who claims to boast its own national exceptionalism and moral superiority. Yet, forgets to mention they are the holders of the largest national debt known to man. If you ask me. I find this fact hardly exceptional or superior ... heck it's not even moral!

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (0, Offtopic)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#44862013)

Large country with large economy has large national debt. News at 11.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862029)

Don't you mean reasonably sized country, over inflated economy, and massive national debt?

Oh wait! you must be American and have no clue what's past your own borders.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#44862095)

The 3rd largest country in the world is not a large sized country? I am an American and apparently know what is outside my own boarders better than you do.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862165)

Apparently not. There are 300 million of you and 7 billion people on the planet. So no, you don't. May I suggest that you go back to being home-schooled by granny where you can learn all about creationism and on the weekend you can go to church and dance with snakes in the hope that you'll get closer to god. Because, there is only one fucked up place on this planet that considers that shit the "social norm".

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44862239)

May I suggest that you go back to being home-schooled by granny where you can learn all about creationism and on the weekend you can go to church and dance with snakes in the hope that you'll get closer to god. Because, there is only one fucked up place on this planet that considers that shit the "social norm".

Hmmm, sounds more like some parts of India or Africa to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_worship [wikipedia.org]

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (5, Interesting)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#44862267)

You have an unusual view of the states, to consider minority religious practices as the norm.

And I'll note, that WE home-schooled, due to the totally inadequate results of the local elementary and middle schools.

Hell, **I** had a larger and more varied library than the local elementary and middle schools combined.

As for homeschooling results, both daughers passed their GED at 15, the earliest age allowed at the time, and both are 3.5 GPAs or better in college. Both can code, know history (American and World), and speak several languages (English, Spanish, French, German, and smatterings of Russian and Japanese. . . ),

And as for religion: I'm agnostic, wife is a Spiritualist, and the daughters are Pagan and Atheist, respectively.

So, you were saying ???

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (5, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#44862323)

I'm saying well done.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862469)

I'm saying that the fact you felt the need to home school due to the "totally inadequate results of the local elementary and middle schools" says how fucked up your country is.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#44862269)

So according to your logic if there was 7m countries on the planet, each having 1000 people average, but one of them having 2000, it would not be a large country because your lose grasp on relative terms only allows you one option? When we deal with relatives there are many different things you can be relative to. Relative to all the other countries on the planet (except India and China) the USoA is a Very large country, with 50% more people than number 4

Also I will stick with my math and science. Also as to your last sentence, there are logs of fucked up places on the earth where that is considered the social norm, most of them are in the middle east, but there are plenty elsewhere.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862351)

So according to your logic if there was 7m countries on the planet, each having 1000 people average, but one of them having 2000, it would not be a large country because your lose grasp on relative terms only allows you one option? When we deal with relatives there are many different things you can be relative to. Relative to all the other countries on the planet (except India and China) the USoA is a Very large country, with 50% more people than number 4

Split hairs in whatever way makes you feel better. Reasonable is not small but saying that you have a large population compared to other nations is bullshit. You even named the two countries that boast countries exponentially larger than the US population wise.

Also I will stick with my math and science. Also as to your last sentence, there are logs of fucked up places on the earth where that is considered the social norm, most of them are in the middle east, but there are plenty elsewhere.

Yes the middle east I was hoping you'd bring that up. You might want to ponder that comparison for a while ...

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#44862495)

Um it is not splitting hairs. the country is large, the only person trying to split hairs is you

So not only do you have a loose grasp on relatives, but exponential as well, or can you tell me which of those 2 countries boast more than 90,000,000,000,000,000? That would be tough since that would be much larger than the population of earth, Or do you mean exponential as in it is larger than that of the US, but does not really reach a square or larger? A more apt statement would be by a factor, of about 4 really.

Yes, what about the middle east statement was factually inaccurate? a lot of those countries require worship of specific religions or you can be killed, or are you disputing that most of the countries that do what you state are in the middle east? Or are you make an idiotic assertion that I dislike the middle east for some reason?

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44862535)

"Exponentially larger" isn't a sensible phrase. What you would probably look for here would generally be 'order(s) of magnitude' larger. However, the largest country is China, with ~1.25 billion, which is not even a single order of magnitude larger than the US and it's ~300 Million.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (4, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#44862123)

You are right. I am completely unaware of other examples around the world, like Europe's debt crisis, China gargantuan housing bubble, or Dubai's great model economy of sitting on flare without matching substance. I am also completely ignorant to the fact that the US does *not* have the highest debt to gdp ratio. Good thing too, because in this simple black and white world we live in, if I knew these facts then I must not care about or acknowledge our debt or economy issues. Either I must think everything is fine or dandy, or that our economy is the worst and we're evil for it. Some how.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862243)

You're wrong. Because things like the European debt crisis was fed by the GFC which was originally fueled by fuckups caused in the US market.

Don't allude yourself. The US is no shining pillar because any of this. The US is an international loan shark fed by its military muscle. Take Syria for example. Your president has shown weakness to the world for not indiscriminately bombing the shit out of it. As a result the USD has fallen. Now why is that? Is that because you guys know how to run a successful economy and offer true value to the world? Or is it because of the international perception of the US and how it bullies the middle east and other nations?

Unless you show me a clear example of the former. I'll stick to believing the latter thank you very much!

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (4, Informative)

Aryden (1872756) | about a year ago | (#44862429)

Firstly, the dollar, like any other currency, rises and falls for whatever reason the markets see fit.

It's "Don't delude yourself" not "Don't allude yourself" as allude means to indirectly refer to.

Don't delude yourself by thinking that the market crisis of the last 5 years was the U.S. fault in entirety. It was the fault of banks around the world who sucked at the teet of bad debts. Look at what the international banks did to Greece and Spain.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#44862539)

Wait, do you want us to show our military muscle or not? Most countries including our own dont like war.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44862151)

Relatively speaking, our national debt isn't too bad compared to our GDP. Many European countries have considerably higher ratios. That's not to say it isn't a concern, but there are many in much worse states than we are.

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862059)

Just a FYI (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862137)

Going on a rant where random words are in bold or italics is a shortcut to having everyone quickly dismiss you as another random crazy person ! It's just one of those heuristics that people develop to weed out bullshit on the Internet.

Remember that blow up doll in discrete package? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44861995)

NSA knows what you are up to with your credit card

Pay cash !!!! (4, Insightful)

Chatterton (228704) | about a year ago | (#44862001)

And my wife ask me why I don't like to pay with any plastic cards (credit and/or debit)... I always pay cash whenever i can. Even if all my transactions are legal, some could be frowned upon but not illegal (not yet), I don't like my bank or any other private corporation to know what I do and what i like.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862047)

Cash is fully tracked. When you get bills from an ATM, the serial numbers are noted. When it arrives back at a bank, the serial numbers are noted and the account correlated. So they know where you get your cash, and where you spend it.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862107)

This isnt the case in the UK (yet..)

Re:Pay cash !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862145)

So they know where you get your cash, and where you spend it.

does not follow from

When you get bills from an ATM, the serial numbers are noted. When it arrives back at a bank, the serial numbers are noted and the account correlated.

How do they know where you get your cash? How do they know where you spend it? Withdraw -> transact -> deposit is the ONLY case where you can trace cash in such a manner, but there's no way of knowing when that is the case, and most of the time it isn't the case at all.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44862259)

You know the little eye on the pyramid? It's really a tiny camera to spy who's getting paid with that dollar bill. Hey, man, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean no-one following you!

Re:Pay cash !!!! (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a year ago | (#44862147)

so then I go to the cash only place and buy something, they take the money and buy something, the person they bought from buys something, all without hitting a bank. How would they correlate all those hops?

Re:Pay cash !!!! (1)

ozbon (99708) | about a year ago | (#44862473)

They don't/can't.

However, this means potentially you'd be linked with what the last purchase was before the cash was returned "to the system". Which could be interesting...

Re:Pay cash !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862173)

The cash that I spend at the grocery store might end up at the bank. It also might stay in the till to be handed out as change for the next cash paying or cash back wanting customer.

The cash that I spend at my dealer's place, my bookie's place, my local brothel, and favorite speakeasy never make it to the bank.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (0)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about a year ago | (#44862175)

How to you reconcile the many, many intermediate transactions that one banknote could go through between its exit from a bank/atm and its re-entry once more?

You can't. Pure and simple.

Are you saying that if I pay in $50.00 at a bank the teller scans each note so that the S/N is read before the next person in line can receive any of the notes I deposited?

One can't wonder if you have been drinking a little too much of the conspiracy theory cool-aid over the weekend.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44862185)

As soon as you get change, this tracking is void. Normal cash registers at supermarkets don't register the serial numbers and don't connect them to accounts.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862275)

Why would you get cash from an ATM? People pay me in cash or if it's a check, I charge more to cover the processing fee at a checking cashing place, which incidentally doesn't require identification.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#44862283)

Aside from the obvious point that when I pay for something with cash the entity I paid doesn't instantly return it to the bank. In fact when I bought an ice cream yesterday they gave the next guy in line the note I used to pay them amongst his change.

The irony is too much (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862055)

"Follow the money" is exactly what one should do if one wants to know the true motives of those who run the spying business. It's ultimately nothing but a justification for billions in spending -- and billions in profit for the elite few at the top. As usual, power is merely a stepping stone to the real goal: money.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862115)

And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862483)

Astigmatism. You haz it.

Re:Pay cash !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862301)

Problem is that the government has people following you any watching what you're buying. Either that or you're a tinfoil hat wearing loon. My money is on the latter.

News? (3, Interesting)

zeronitro (937642) | about a year ago | (#44862003)

Is it really news that a spy agency is spying? "oh look at them doing their job!"

Re:News? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862035)

Is it really news that a spy agency is spying? "oh look at them doing their job!"

"oh look at them shitting on the US Constitution." FTFY

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862371)

Please show us where in the constitution it's forbidden to monitor international monetary transactions.

No seriously, I'll wait.

Re:News? (4, Funny)

buck-yar (164658) | about a year ago | (#44862061)

Yeah, look how they caught the boston bomber before he struck, after the KGB told us he was a danger.

Re:News? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862077)

No, but it is certainly 'news' to the general public that the scope of spying has increased to include the common man.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862081)

Are you of the opinion that the recent revelations of NSA activities have not uncovered any activities that were illegal, arguably illegal or at the very least immoral or unethical?

Stasi spied as well. They did what they were charged to do by the government. Are you arguing that NSA and Stasi are morally equivalent agencies engaging in unproblematic behavior. If not, why not? Is it the intent or suspected intent of the agencies you have an issue with?

Re:News? (1)

Aerokii (1001189) | about a year ago | (#44862105)

For once I actually sort of agree here. This one's something they SHOULD be monitoring and can legally do so since it's international. If it comes out later that they monitor non-international usage as well... hm. Well, then we've got a problem. For now though this is just business as usual.

Not to say I really like it or approve. I'm still upset about the whole metadata thing to be honest.

Re:News? (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44862149)

This one's something they SHOULD be monitoring and can legally do so since it's international.

This might be true according to U.S. law, but for instance not according to European law. In Europe, the NSA is still a law breaker. But on the other hand, most European secret services seem to be complicit with the NSA (which makes them law breakers too).

Re:News? (2)

darrellg1 (969068) | about a year ago | (#44862141)

This isn't them "doing their job". It's an extension of "anything you say can and will be used against you" to include all data. The giant information grab is going to start being used against innocent citizens. Remember, Googling certain items results in a visit from the FBI.

Re:News? (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#44862183)

Anybody who's even remotely surprised at this is a gullible fucktard!! Aside from the fact that "Don't use your credit cards the Gubment can trace them" has been the cornerstone cliché of every Hollywood spy thriller for nearly twenty years!

PCI Compliance (3, Funny)

oztiks (921504) | about a year ago | (#44862007)

Does this mean that the NSA is PCI Compliant?

Re:PCI Compliance (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year ago | (#44862085)

Does this mean that the NSA is PCI Compliant?

Of course. Admittedly it is by definition, and the part where it says they are is secret so you're not allowed to know about what it exactly involves...

Re:PCI Compliance (5, Insightful)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44862153)

Does this mean that the NSA is PCI Compliant?

No, they haven't had the required audit.
Which, given the revelations about how bad their data security is, they would have failed anyways.

They still don't know what Snowden took. Forget secrets or blackmailing politicians, if he wanted to Snowden could just use the data to steal a ridiculous amount of money. Thank goodness he seems to be a good person. The scary thing is somebody else might have done just that, and no one knows about it.

Re:PCI Compliance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862187)

They still don't know what Snowden took.

We know, but we won't tell you.

Backdoors in VPN boxes? (2)

Camembert (2891457) | about a year ago | (#44862017)

Since, to my knowledge, the financial networks use multiple levels of encryption, I wonder if the VPN boxes used have NSA-prescribed backdoors in them. Is it in fact possible to buy a VPN box without backdoor?

Re:Backdoors in VPN boxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862053)

Just buy it with the back door and wham, for your cheap flea market, ebay purchase, you got a NSA grade backdoor to bank info.

Re:Backdoors in VPN boxes? (1)

drakaan (688386) | about a year ago | (#44862097)

Probably not, but you could build one [sourceforge.net] pretty easily...

Re:Backdoors in VPN boxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862445)

Most VPN boxes used by most companies (banks, small, and large businesses alike) are just Cisco boxes running IPsec. And we know Cisco's track record with secrecy. Cisco = closed source = evil.

Re:Backdoors in VPN boxes? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44862499)

Since, to my knowledge, the financial networks use multiple levels of encryption, I wonder if the VPN boxes used have NSA-prescribed backdoors in them. Is it in fact possible to buy a VPN box without backdoor?

they get them directly from banks. for the american banks they can just tell them to give them and they had contracts made up to get the data from EU post 9/11. that is one of the major points of discussion post snowden.. since we can't exactly trust USA to not use the data for economical gain over EU since the fuckers obviously can't be trust to just use it for tracking terrorists.

Huh? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862033)

Please tell us instead what websites/activities are NOT monitored by NSA, thank you!

Re:Huh? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#44862063)

Those before 1776.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862385)

Is that like 1776 days after 1970?

Bitcoin FTW (0)

fireballrus (1000626) | about a year ago | (#44862039)

Another reason why Bitcoin [bitcoin.org] and services accepting it [icbit.se] rock.

Re:Bitcoin FTW (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#44862139)

I'm going to take a wild guess that just visiting bitcoin-related sites automatically bumps you up a couple notches on the NSA's 'things to watch list'.

Re:Bitcoin FTW (5, Interesting)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44862189)

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the NSA has a whole office that does nothing but spy on Bitcoin sales, Bitcoin trading, infiltrating Bitcoin exchanges, etc. With 35,000 employees and God-like computing muscle, I imagine they've devoted no small amount of resources to monitoring (and perhaps sabotaging) Bitcoin and other grey market currencies.

Bitcoin is not enough (1)

gox (1595435) | about a year ago | (#44862313)

Bitcoin, by itself, allows freedom of transaction, but not necessarily privacy. It is attainable, but not in a fool-proof way.

We need to get used to separating our different trading identities, just like we do for communicating identities. We also need to get used to obfuscating our location, either constantly, or again by exiting from different IP's for different identities.

All this is easily attainable with a few scripts on modern operating systems, Bitcoin, TOR and maybe some VPN accounts. What we don't have is systems that do this out of the box, so that we have different GPG keys, Bitcoin wallets, IP's, e-mail accounts, etc. for our different identities as a basic operating principle. I would love to see such a system implemented; it should be fairly straightforward to do as a Linux distro.

Re:Bitcoin is not enough (2)

rjstanford (69735) | about a year ago | (#44862409)

All this is easily attainable with a few scripts on modern operating systems, Bitcoin, TOR and maybe some VPN accounts

If I had the resources and was really interested, I'd just make sure to run a large Bitcoin exchange and a ton of TOR endpoints. Just saying. Why try to hack it in code when you can set something up really simply and have malefactors come to you?

Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862041)

I'm sick of these NSA stories. They're doing their job. I'm pretty sure terrorists and spies used credit cards so it is probably important for the President and other national security personnel to know what they are buying.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862127)

I'm sick of these NSA stories. They're breaking the law, but Obama doesn't have the balls to send their ass to prison.

FTFY.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44862159)

I am pretty sure, terrorists and spies have sex too, so additionally, lets monitor all bedrooms.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862233)

I'm pretty sure the sexual relations of terrorists or spies has nothing to do with national security so your analogy is stupid. Also monitoring all bedrooms implies that you think they're monitoring all financial transactions. I'm confident if they were monitoring all transactions there would be a lot more than 180 million records.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#44862391)

It's the SWIFT data, and that means all transnational transactions cleared by SWIFT [wikipedia.org] .

And yes, spies having sexual relationships is a common way for them to get access classified data, so you just didn't get my analogy. Who is stupid now?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862277)

Then fuck off. CNN has a story on the front page about Hilary running in 2016. Maybe you should go show your support over there instead.

wouldn't it be easier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862065)

to report on the two or three things the feds DON'T have their noses in (legally or otherwise)?

extra credit points: name those things..

Re:wouldn't it be easier (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44862327)

Ordinary crimes against non-wealthy victims.

Where do we draw the line? (4, Insightful)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | about a year ago | (#44862087)

"The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice."

This is a quote, not mine, but a quote nonetheless that holds relevance. When do we tear down the walls and regain our country?

Write a test for control (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862091)

If a nation were like a computer programming project, we would write tests to continually ensure its correct operation. One test would be to ensure that voters, not the government, are in control of their own nation.

What kind of test would make sure it is so? Maybe successfully voting a new party in power, one that has never before been on top?

Re:Write a test for control (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year ago | (#44862229)

If a nation were like a computer programming project, we would write tests to continually ensure its correct operation. One test would be to ensure that voters, not the government, are in control of their own nation.

What kind of test would make sure it is so? Maybe successfully voting a new party in power, one that has never before been on top?

Maybe this is the test. It has just started to run. Wait and see what comes out.

Suspicious number of t-shirts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862093)

sent to my work address ... now will look even more suspicious.

So! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862109)

I'd be VERY worried if the only powerful multicultural country on Earth wasn't watching what racist groups the Chinese and Japs are supporting financially. I'd give them more funding!

And that's why (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#44862111)

I may for things as much as I can in CASH. Cash is anonymous and won't snitch on you.

Re:And that's why (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44862197)

But the person/company on the other end of the transaction very well may.

Perhaps they can tell Amazon to hurry up (1)

shocking (55189) | about a year ago | (#44862113)

I have a bunch of CDs that I've ordered, and the arrival rate is rather spotty over here in Oz....

Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862121)

Now they know I bought keys to open dominion lockboxes in Star Trek Online.

Cancel Paperless Billing (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year ago | (#44862125)

Many companies with which I do business (insurance, bank, utilities, medical, credit card, etc.) asked me to switch to paperless billing and notifications. In the spirit of progress I did so.

But now, with all the government snooping, I am changing back, forcing all these companies to snail mail all their paperwork. And I mail them paper checks. It my small protest against their collusion with the NSA.

If they can assure me that they are not willing to share my data with the government, and that my https interactions are not being hacked, I might relent.

Also, I have noticed that they want to send you all legal communications over the internet, but will not reciprocate and allow you to do the same with them.

Re:Cancel Paperless Billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862335)

But now, with all the government snooping, I am changing back, forcing all these companies to snail mail all their paperwork. And I mail them paper checks. It my small protest against their collusion with the NSA.

Yeah man, that'll teach them. Fight the power bro!

Re:Cancel Paperless Billing (1)

Aryden (1872756) | about a year ago | (#44862507)

Changes nothing. The bank and the company you sent the check to still tracks the transaction. The company deposits the check, the bank scans it in and processes. It all goes into their records which they can and do turn over to the government(s) as required by law.

Always Was (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about a year ago | (#44862131)

NSA was set up from the start to spy on foreign transactions. Its purpose was to provide inside information to Wall Street from its beginning. Spying on people is just a sideline.

180 Million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862143)

In the scale of credit card transactions, 180 million, the number of records referenced in the article, is not a large number. Does this imply that there is very specific targeting going on? If so, FTM is doing some filtering before passing on the data.

And, yes, I'm pretty sure that the NSA's Tracfin would pass a PCI audit. It does, however, mean that a lot of QSRs have not been considering if companies' and processors' environments are vulnerable to government agencies as part of their audits.

NSA Spies on EVERYTHING (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44862169)

Why not just get it over with and use that headline instead? Let's face it, they're either Big Brother at this point, or they're trying VERY HARD to be.

Belgacom hacked by the NSA (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862263)

http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/News/130916_Belgacom

Belgium's federal public prosecutors have said that the bugging of the Belgian telecom giant was probably the work of 'international state-sponsored cyber espionage'. Earlier it emerged that Belgacom's internal systems had been hacked for a period of two years.

The former state telecom monopoly and Belgium's largest telecommunications operator has confirmed the news of the hacking. The daily De Standaard believes that the US intelligence service NSA is behind the espionage.

The hacking came to light after Belgacom enlisted the services of a specialised Dutch firm to check its operations. It emerged that the company's communications infrastructure had been infected with sophisticated malware. As a result outsiders have been able to listen in to Belgacom's systems.

SEPA too (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862177)

"The NSA's Tracfin data bank also contained data from the Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a network used by thousands of banks to send transaction information securely. "

EU Commission GAVE them Europe's Swift data, on promise they wouldn't misuse it. I suspected NSA had political leverage over the EU Commission because the EU Commission can enforce the privacy right but has not right to *waive* the privacy right. Yet that was exactly what they did. They decided it was proportionate to hand the EU Bank data to the US on condition they pretended not to misuse it. You are unlikely to see a reversal of this policy, despite the new revelations because there is something wrong with the EU Commissioners, I suspect political leverage.

Watch SEPA, the European bank transfer system, this was largely driven by Germany to replace SWIFT. Just as its due to become mandatory in Europe, we have marketing for data exchange among G20 countries. I bet you'll see the EU Commission find a way to hand that SEPA data to the UK, which in turn hands it to the NSA, or perhaps they'll have the balls to hand it directly to NSA.

That data will contain all Europes commercial transactions, every euro cent spent by companies to employees, suppliers, every sale, every order. That's just the commercially sensitive data.

It means they have a track record of every card purchase on every potential political candidate, campaigner, reporter, politician, civil servant, judge, jury member, lawyer, teacher, everyone. If you donate to a political party or a cause the NSA doesn't like, they have record of that donation. I bet US transactions are in there too, they're the easiest to grab. It will be like the phone meta data, all grabbed, all data mined.

Tracfin ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862179)

Tracfin (Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins) is a service of the French Ministry of Finances. It fights money laundering. Tracfin is a unit of French Ministry for Economy, Finance and Industry and the Ministry for the Budget, Public Accounts, the Civil Service and State Reform with a state-wide reach. Since its foundation in 1990 its aim is to fight against illegal financial operations, money laundering and terrorism financing. Annual report 2010 brings an interesting overview of the Tracfins activities.

Phasing out non-digital transactions (1)

Peter Kingsbury (3046159) | about a year ago | (#44862247)

Here in Canada, we've phased out the penny [actionplan.gc.ca] , and are in the process of phasing out printed cheques [servicecanada.gc.ca] for government payments. Curious to see how long it will take for physical cash in its entirety to make its way into obsolescence, thus opening the gates for controlled/monitored transactions...

Wht? WHY? WHY!!????!!!!??? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862271)

Why is "spying" continually on /. front pages???? We know. We knew this. This has been known for decades. This is not new behavior for the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other foreign and domestic intelligence and law enforcement agencies. I don't see them stopping any time soon.

How about some REAL news fro a change /.? Ah, here's one. NEWSFLASH - America IS NOT the only country spying! OMG! What do we do? Wait, most people already knew that. How about going back to nerd news instead of naive activist brain candy?

You Know The Funny Thing Is (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44862291)

This all came about because their head guy is an internet addict and couldn't get enough cat videos on youtube.

I'm sure they'll bring this post up when they have me in a dark room with jumper cables hooked up to my testicles."Not so funny now, is it, bitch?"

Those crazy muslims (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862303)

The Muslims have been right all this time, America IS the prime evil on the planet today.

Oooh, wait, do-over! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44862345)

Well if they're monitoring all that shit, maybe you should just complain to THEM when Paypal freezes your account! "Hey guys, you have my entire payment history! Tell those guys to cough up my cash!"

Yup, pretty sure I'm going to end up in a dark room somewhere with *cough* Freedom cables hooked up to my testicles.

Re:Oooh, wait, do-over! (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44862447)

Freedom cable connect to your nipples, Patriot cables are the ones that go to your testicles.

OH NOES NOT THE NSA (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44862389)

Many more three-letter agencies are known to monitor international payments. I would have been surprised if the NSA wasn't monitoring them.

The company my dad works at has a very generic, uninspired name and it happens to be the same as one of the front companies used by the Iranian nuclear programme. Equipment purchases are often blocked and won't be allowed through until someone has a chat with US authorities to remind them that they're still not smuggling parts for Iran's reactors.

List of shit NSA doesn't spy on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862395)

My taint.

That I know of.

Hey NSA.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44862437)

65033 54423 98954 12195 66564 14332 76775 48442

If you can crack that, I'll give you a cookie. (60 year old encryption that the NSA's best can never crack.)

Come on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862529)

That's really trivial!

All those data are already in electronic format, possibly a standard format, along with all the users' details.

Amounts of money and timestamps, transaction IDs, shop and ATM codes (with GIS data)...

It's just like the call metadata the telcos are providing to them.

I would have be puzzled in case the NSA was not colecting them ...

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