Edward Snowden’s leaks have unveiled a huge and complicated network of international surveillance. However, details of this network are slowly emerging. Der Spiegel, a German newspaper, have unveiled the latest details which indicates that the NSA have a dedicated branch which monitors international banking and credit card transactions.
The branch concentrated mainly on Visa customers and the international financial service SWIFT. Once information on transactions were obtained the information was sent to NSA’s own financial database entitled ‘Tracfin’. The database included more than 180million financial records which date back to 2011.
More importantly, one of the leaked documents illustrates how the UK’s intelligence service, GCHQ, was co-operating with the NSA to spy on the world finance system. Analysts believe that this information could be used to profile individuals who use alternative forms of transactions such as cash or bitcoin.