Posted in: Technology

Americans’ credit cards being tracked real time

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Never mind the data dump by Wikileaks of diplomatic cables. Never mind that the FCC wants a do not track option for consumers.

If you want something to make you really break out in night sweats try on the fact that Federal law enforcement has been tracking Americans in real time as they use their credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations. Not only are they doing this but they are doing it without getting court orders.

This information comes from security researcher Christopher Soghoian as a result of a Freedom of Information request and the 10 page Powerpoint presentation (pdf) reveals that the surveillance often occurs with a simple subpoena, which allows the Feds to sidestep any Fourth Amendment protections.

As the document makes clear, Federal law enforcement agencies do not limit their surveillance of US residents to phone calls, emails and geo-location information. They are also interested in calling cards, credit cards, rental cars and airline reservations, as well as retail shopping clubs.

The document also reveals that DOJ’s preferred method of obtaining this information is via an administrative subpoena. The only role that courts play in this process is in issuing non-disclosure orders to the banks, preventing them from telling their customers that the government has spied on their financial transactions. No Fourth Amendment analysis is conducted by judges when issuing such non-disclosure orders.

Uhmmmm .. does anyone see anything wrong with this?

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