Monitoring international companies

Monitoring international companies

Monitoring international companies

The U.S. government does not just target the Internet, but also key industries such as finance, transport, electricity and education.

Documents leaked by Snowden show that the NSA's eavesdropping not only target overseas government leaders but also international organizations and business leaders.

The German weekly Der Spiegel reported that financial transactions, especially credit card deals, were among the targets of NSA surveillance programs. Visa and the international payments system SWIFT were both monitored.

A surveillance branch known as "Follow the Money," focused on international financial transactions. The NSA claimed that by tracing international financial transfers it could expose terrorist networks. The agency set up a financial database called Tracfin to store information gathered from financial institutions. In 2011, the data bank had 180 million entries, 84 percent of which related to credit cards and their users, who were mainly located in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Some information in the database came from SWIFT, which began secretly feeding the United States with details of financial transfers after the 9/11 attacks. When this partnership was exposed in 2006, the European Union asked the United States to ensure the security of bank data and respect the privacy of European citizens. After several rounds of talks, the European Union and the United States reached a deal in 2010 that allowed the latter to monitor European bank transfers to combat terrorism, with the precondition that the use and storage of this financial information was consistent with European data protection laws. But Snowden's latest revelations show that the United States never stopped monitoring SWIFT transfers, meaning that the entire negotiation process between the United States and the European Union was just for show.

On December 29, 2013, Der Spiegel claimed the NSA had broken almost all the security architectures designed by major companies, including those of Cisco, Huawei, Juniper and Dell.

Other media reports have revealed that the United States hacked the computer network of Brazilian oil company, Petrobras.

[ Editor: Jack ]