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Old 03-22-2018, 09:15 AM
moneytradecoin moneytradecoin is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 63
Default Tracking of Bitcoin Users by NSA Revealed By Snowden Papers

In an interesting update from the Edward Snowden papers, reveals that the US government has expressed considerable interest in Bitcoin ever since its use became popular. The Intercept, an online magazine, has posted the leaked undisclosed documents from Snowden that actually provide evidence that the United States National Security Agency or NSA has been keeping track of Bitcoin users from around the world as described in a 2013 report for the agency. There could be a coincidence of the report leaking not too far away from the recent ban on American use of Venezuelan national cryptocurrency Petro coin by President Trump.

The report is cryptic with code names and classification of data that will help the NSA “track down the senders and receivers of bitcoins,” as the report stated. The Bitcoin monitoring mission by the NSA is called “project Oakstar”, and the purpose of its initiation was to tackle terrorism facilitated by Bitcoin or crypto transactions. The report indicated that the NSA was not randomly tracking users but were monitoring persons or groups involved in suspicious activities and whom utilised the privacy and anonymity of Bitcoin for making illegal transactions like laundering money. An expert from the NSA report states, “[NSA agent] is hoping to use the access for their mission of 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.”

Utilising the professional surveillance tools accessible to the NSA for security purposes, data was able to be collected, decrypted, and interpreted to gain the identity of protected Bitcoin users. There were reportedly two other platforms monitored, the first being the Liberty Reserve, that had dealt with money laundering involving cryptocurrencies leading to its close, and one other. Bitcoin is not the most privacy controlled and anonymous cryptocurrency of all coins in the market, yet it was considered top priority for the NSA according to the report.

Unapproved Access
Even though Bitcoin incorporates Blockchain which makes all ledgers public access, the NSA infiltrated further into users private information to get more in depth research on potential terrorists. NSA hacked into users computers to gain sensitive information like passwords, sessions of the user, billing information, IP address, and media access control address. They dug deep into what targets they acquired and tried to highlight any connection the select Bitcoin users had with illicit activities.

It seems that no matter how hard the government tries to uncover and penalise Bitcoin and Blockchain users, the crypto community will always find a way to retaliate and strengthen their stance on supporting a decentralized system.
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