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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

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.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?