Wednesday, March 21, 2018

EXPLOSIVE Snowden Documents Reveal: NSA Has Been Tracking Bitcoin Users Since 2013

By Robert Wenzel

Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target bitcoin users around the world — and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins,” according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013, reports Intercept.

According to Intercept, the data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents.

Although the agency was interested in surveilling some competing cryptocurrencies, “Bitcoin is #1 priority,” a March 15, 2013 internal NSA report stated.

The documents indicate that “tracking down” bitcoin users went well beyond
closely examining bitcoin’s public transaction ledger, known as the blockchain, where users are typically referred to through anonymous identifiers; the tracking may also have involved gathering intimate details of these users’ computers. The NSA collected some bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address, a March 29, 2013 NSA memo suggested. In the same document, analysts also discussed tracking internet users’ internet addresses, network ports, and timestamps to identify “BITCOIN Targets.”

None of this surprises me.

I have pointed out regularly that the idea that bitcoin it some kind of libertarian currency that will provide privacy in transactions from the prying eyes of government is delusional.

Further, I have long pointed out that bitcoin users who claimed they could "mix" their bitcoins to make them untraceable was based on believing that the mixers weren't the government or the government monitoring the mix.

This type of government monitoring of mixing apparently is going on.

Cryptocurrencies are ideal for tracking by the government and are thus extremely dangerous to use when you have a sophisticated totalitarian government.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of "Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person" and also The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.

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