spiegel.de The United States' NSA intelligence agency is interested in international payments processed by companies including Visa, SPIEGEL has learned. It has even set up its own financial database to track money flows through a "tailored access operations" division. The National Security Agency (NSA) widely monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions, according to documents seen by SPIEGEL. The information from the American foreign intelligence agency, acquired by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that the spying is conducted by a branch called "Follow the Money" (FTM). The collected information then flows into the NSA's own financial databank, called "Tracfin," which in 2011 contained 180 million records. Some 84 percent of the data is from credit card transactions. Further NSA documents from 2010 show that the NSA also targets the transactions of customers of large credit card companies like VISA for surveillance. NSA analysts at an internal conference that year described in detail how they had apparently successfully searched through the US company's complex transaction network for tapping possibilities. Their aim was to gain access to transactions by VISA customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to one presentation. The goal was to "collect, parse and ingest transactional data for priority credit card associations, focusing on priority geographic regions." to read more click here: spiegel.de
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