BIG BROTHER: Without a Warrant, the US Government Illegally Collected Information on Financial Transactions
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The Wall Street Journal and Senator Ron Wyden have revealed that sending money across international borders is hardly a private transaction (D-OR).
The Arizona attorney general’s office approved a controversial monitoring program in 2014 that allows US law enforcement access to data of overseas money transfers without a warrant.
Because of this initiative, the Transaction Record Analysis Center now maintains a database of monetary transfer activity (TRAC).
Information on wire transfers between the United States and Mexico and 22 other countries totaling more than $500 is stored in a database.
Transaction services like MoneyGram and Western Union. PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Apple Cash, and Zelle are examples of services that do not share user information with TRAC.
In any case, the database does keep track of certain domestic transactions.
To combat the fact that, unlike banks, money transfer businesses are not mandated to gather KYC (know your customer) data, the initiative was designed to aid law enforcement in amassing evidence of money laundering and fraud.
To avoid tracking the vast majority of immigrants who send money to their family abroad, the barrier was established at $500. Director of TRAC Rich Leber claims that arrests of criminals and members of drug cartels have resulted from the initiative.
Concerns have been voiced concerning the program’s potential to capture sensitive personal information. If you’re a law enforcement official with a valid government email account, you already meet the sole qualification for accessing the database. Officers with questionable morals may snoop on bank transactions of significant amounts.
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