NSA Tracking International Bitcoin Activity
- The NSA’s Bitcoin-Spying ‘Oakstar’ Project Focused on Counter-Terrorism
Conspiracy theorists have long suspected the US government of trying to hobble the growth of a decentralized cryptocurrency market.
Now there is a report that suggest that is true.
One news outlet is claiming that it has obtained classified documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, indicating that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring the bitcoin blockchain, the world’s largest digital currency by market capitalization, and has made an urgent effort to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoin”.
The leaked documents suggest that Bitcoin surveillance remains a Top Priority for the US spy agency, as it seeks to monitor groups that use Bitcoin’s anonymity for illicit activities.
In an internal NSA report dating back to March 2013, the agency indicated that it had used at least 1 source of information to target Bitcoin users, leveraging its sophisticated tools to collect and analyze global internet traffic data, while also exploiting an unnamed software program which is said to protect the identity of users.
In a memo from the NSA it is suggested that the agency collected private information on Bitcoin users including passwords, internet activity, and device identifiers.
Currently, Bitcoin is trading at: 8,694.0449, -322.96 or -3.58%, as of 12:59a GMT, the market is open.
The spying project, dubbed Oakstar, did not seem to target Bitcoin traders in general, as its mission was described as “looking at organized crime and cyber targets that utilize online e-currency services to move and launder money.
These illicit finance networks provide user access to international monetary systems while providing a high degree of anonymity.”
While the NSA had some interest in surveilling other smaller digital currencies, a March 2013 internal report indicated that “Bitcoin is #1 priority.”
Bitcoin, which has been used to finance terrorism and launder money, has been a topic of concern for governments and lawmakers around the world almost since its beginning.
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