A media outlet, Intercept, has just shared some eye-opening information. According to Intercept, the U.S. National Security Agency has been carefully analyzing the Bitcoin blockchain with a focus on identifying people on the distributed network.
Intercept says it has been given classified documents from the United States whistleblower, Edward Snowden, which shows Bitcoin surveillance is something the agency is hugely focused on right now.
These documents share that the NSA’s plans may go further than simply tracking the Bitcoin public ledger. The agency is apparently regularly analyzing global internet traffic and scraping software to try to break though the pseudonymity of digital currency users around the world.
For example, the report says that one memo from the NSA shares that lots of private data has been being gathered about users, such as Bitcoin user passwords, activity on the internet and types of devices being used.
The NSA has been studying the internet activities of Bitcoin users for years through a program referred to as OAKSTAR, according to this recent report. However, the leak suggests that with MONKEYROCKET, another sub-program under OAKSTAR, the NSA might actually be getting closer to discovering exactly who initiates a cryptocurrency transaction.
“SSG11 analysts have found value in the MONKEYROCKET access to help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoin,” one memo reads.
These documents also share that the NSA may be utilizing the XKeyScore system, which is a powerful global internet monitoring system that was first exposed by Snowden, back in 2013.
The U.S. government has voiced concerns about digital currencies for a while, specifically with how it can be used to finance terrorism, along with money laundering. So it comes as no surprise that it would be doing everything in its power to get a grasp of exactly how the currency is being spent and who is making the transactions.