CIA collecting in bulk data on international money transfers, say reports

Social Security numbers and other data are also reportedly collected by the agency

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency secretly collects data in bulk on international money transfers, under a program similar to the government's collection of phone records, according to reports.

The information collected includes financial and sometimes personal data, including Social Security numbers of Americans, as part of the agency's terrorism investigations, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Though the program does not collect data on solely domestic transactions, it is allowed to collect data on Americans for foreign intelligence purposes with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the newspaper.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed through newspapers that the NSA collects telephony records in bulk of U.S. citizens, while also having access in real-time to content on servers of U.S. Internet companies through a program called Prism.

The Internet companies have denied their participation in the Prism program. The government has admitted that it collects phone metadata in bulk and said it needed the collection and storage of such bulk data for its analysis tools to be effective.

The collection of financial data by the CIA has been authorized by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., which also permits the NSA's collection of phone metadata, according to the reports.

Both authorizations are under Section 215 of the Patriot Act which allows the government to force companies to turn over business records for counterterrorism purposes. Companies ordered to turn over records to the spy agencies are usually under a "gag order" that prohibits their disclosing information on the orders.

The CIA could not be immediately reached for comment. "The CIA protects the nation and upholds the privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that its intelligence-collection activities are focused on acquiring foreign intelligence and counterintelligence in accordance with U.S. laws," it said to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The data collected in bulk from money-transfer companies is placed in a dedicated database. In accordance with rules set by FISC, information about people in the U.S. is masked unless found to be of foreign-intelligence interest, according to the Wall Street Journal.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentprivacyU.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationU.S. Central Intelligence Agency

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?