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Feds Tracking Americans’ Credit Cards in Real-Time Without a Warrant
December 3, 2010
It should surprise very few to learn that federal law enforcement agencies track Americans without getting court orders, but this time the feds have been tracking U.S. residents using real-time surveillance of credit card transactions and travel reservations.
Security researcher Christopher Soghoian obtained a 10 page document from the Justice Department about “hotwatch” orders. “As the document makes clear, Federal law enforcement agencies do not limit their surveillance of US residents to phone calls, emails and geo-location information. They are also interested in calling cards, credit cards, rental cars and airline reservations, as well as retail shopping clubs,” Soghoian explained.
As seen in the document, real-time “hotwatch” surveillance is meant to “track the date, time and location of account transactions as they occur.” Loyalty cards, such as those issued by grocery stores or pharmacies could fall into this category. Cell phones as also listed as well as any kind of agencies related to travel arrangements. This real-time tracking of Americans happens without the targets ever knowing about it.
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