NSA follows the money


Big Brother may be watching your Visa card.

The National Security Agency is tracking global banking and credit card transactions, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The name of the NSA department charged with the task: follow the money, Der Spiegel reports.

“Money is the root of all evil,” say the spies as they search for the Achilles’ heel of terrorists — financial transfers.

But the NSA is scooping up lots of innocent haystacks to look for the evil needles. Der Spiegel says:

Secret documents reveal that the main NSA financial database Tracfin, which collects the “Follow the Money” surveillance results on bank transfers, credit card transactions and money transfers, already had 180 million datasets by 2011. The corresponding figure in 2008 was merely 20 million. According to these documents, most Tracfin data is stored for five years.

On the up side, Snowden’s disclosures are helping some smaller businesses thrive, Reuters reports. Companies that provide encryption are in demand.