One Hack Frees US Authorities for Global Surveillance
How intelligence agencies track you through travel services and why it’s legal.
United States for the first time used global monitoring of human movements. The system was used as part of an investigation into the laundering of funds stolen by 4 attackers as a result of a hack into the Mt. Gox in 2014.
The US government has partnered with Saber, a travel service provider around the world, to develop software and other technologies. The service transmitted information about the movements of suspects throughout the year. The first mention of the use of such a powerful tool caused public concern about the privacy and security of data.
For the past two years, Forbes has been waging a legal battle to uncover the secrets of global monitoring systems (GDS), which are also used in Saber. Organizations like Sabers allow travel companies to make reservations, partner with airlines, hotels and ground transportation companies, so it’s easy to track down travelers with them.
Information about movements is very useful for law enforcement agencies who are guided by the Law for all courts ( All Writ Act ). This law allows the authorities to “make all necessary orders necessary or expedient in support of their jurisdiction and consistent with the use and principles of law”.
However, this month it became known that the case against Saber and illegal disclosure of data was initiated back in 2016, but remained classified. This was due to the Mt. gox. The decision allowed the Ministry of Justice to avoid litigation over the issue of disclosure of private information.
“It is alarming that information about movements is still being actively used. It’s not just about accessing travel history, but getting real-time information about a person’s movements,” said Albert Fox Kahn, director of the Surveillance Technology Surveillance Project.
Kan also stressed that law enforcement continues to work with travel companies to collect information that they would not be able to legally obtain on their own. “The courts and Congress should resolve this issue and ban such practices,” he urged.
In the context of the investigation into the crypto-currency scandal, the trail leads to four suspects from Russia: Andrey Nikonorov, Stanislav Golovanov, Alexander Buyanov and Alexander Vinnik, who were allegedly running the BTC-e crypto exchange and using their accounts to launder stolen bitcoins.
Details about how information about the movement of the accused helped in the investigation are not yet disclosed.
A lawyer for one of the suspects, David Rizk, expressed concern that the authorities were using the All Writs Act as an excuse to obtain information that he believed could not be shared with the government under Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution .
“How would the United States behave if the Russian government had quick access to information about the movements of American citizens in Europe?” Rizk asks. He also raised the question of what other governments Saber might secretly share information with and where that would lead.