Why the FBI and the National Security Agency are collecting your metadata

Posted May 05, 2018 05:18:06 The FBI and NSA are collecting information about the whereabouts of billions of Americans every day.

Now, they’re also doing it for financial gain. 

According to a new report by The Intercept, the FBI has begun to collect information about customers of financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, by sending a tracking code sent to the bank or credit union.

The tracking code includes the customer’s name, credit card number, zip code, and phone number, the report said. 

While the government claims it doesn’t collect financial information, The Intercept found that this information is being shared with the FBI, which can use this information to investigate individuals or businesses that may be violating securities laws.

The FBI’s new tracking code will reportedly be used to determine if a customer is a financial institution that is currently under investigation.

This could include a financial firm that has violated securities laws and has ties to Russian entities. 

“Financial institutions have been using the code to monitor their customers for suspicious activity, and the FBI’s use of the code has been a key part of that monitoring,” said Laura Poitras, a senior writer for The Intercept who broke the story. 

The FBI said it is not aware of any cases in which a customer’s financial account has been used to violate securities laws, but added that it does “not believe there is any evidence that financial institutions have engaged in any wrongdoing.”

“It’s not about targeting or prosecuting people,” FBI spokesperson David Bowdich told The Intercept.

“It’s about keeping a watch on the money that people make.”

The FBI declined to comment on the scope of the tracking code, but the Intercept reported that the tracking system was sent to all banks and financial institutions by email. 

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