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Big Brother Monitoring YOUR Credit Card Transactions

As if the surveillance state didn’t have enough to do, what with tracking every call in America and scanning every Internet transaction. The Wall Street Journal reported late last night that the NSA has been cataloguing credit card transactions as well, rendering utterly void any concept of transactional privacy:

The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities.

The disclosure this week of an order by a secret U.S. court for Verizon Communications Inc.’s phone records set off the latest public discussion of the program. But people familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers. …

NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as data about email or website visits, several former officials said. NSA has established similar relationships with credit-card companies, three former officials said.

It couldn’t be determined if any of the Internet or credit-card arrangements are ongoing, as are the phone company efforts, or one-shot collection efforts. The credit-card firms, phone companies and NSA declined to comment for this article.
Er, let’s test the one-shot theory a bit. Let’s say that the NSA trolled millions of credit card transactions and found any kind of a useful pattern. Would they stop acquiring data under those circumstances? I highly doubt it; intelligence agencies always want more data to analyze, not less.

Here’s another question. Exactly how many terrorists use credit cards to buy the kinds of products that would create those patterns? I’m not going to posit that terrorists are geniuses by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t take too much candlepower to know that credit-card transactions leave a paper trail even when the US government hasn’t acted as though George Orwell was writing a how-to manual when he published 1984 — sixty-four years ago tomorrow, in an odd coincidence.

DNI James Clapper gave a statement last night about PRISM that many interpreted as saying that the program only looked at foreign data, but Clapper’s a little Orwellian here, too:

National Intelligence Director James Clapper defended that program late Thursday saying procedures are in place that are approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “to ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about U.S. persons.”

“Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats,” Clapper said in a statement.
Only non-US people are being targeted, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not looking at everything coming through the pipe. Clapper pledges that they’re trying to minimize the “acquisition, retention, and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about US persons” in a marvelously circular statement — how do you minimize the acquisition of “acquired information”? They’re not avoiding or preventing the acquisition of data on “US people,” just trying to minimize its use. They’re only keeping data on non-US people.

read more at Wall Street Journal

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  • James Maxwell

    I have nearly got all my credit cards paid off, have been using cash for the majority
    of purchases for over two years. The only card I keep open is for major events
    that are related to my home upkeep and maintenance or replacing major items.
    Because I have burned most of them I now have cash available to pay for items I
    need and do not make impulsive purchases unless I have the cash in hand.

    • Clint

      Smart man. All should be doing this.

    • Steven Bryant

      That you do have your cards paid off and use cash for most purchases, makes you look even more suspicious to them, I’m sure…

  • reggiec

    I wonder how the party in power can use all this information for campaign or election purposes. If there is a way I am certain Obama’s elves will find it.

  • agbjr

    If the feds believe they have the right to look at my financial statements and bills then I GIVE them the right to pay them as well.

    • Clint

      That reminds me of the Everly Brothers song of years gone by. “Dream, dream , dream”, except we can count on the government to provide nightmares only.

  • gsreagan

    They can monitor anything about my and my families lifestyle that they want. We have nothing to hide. Like most hard working Americans, I consider myself a model citizen … not perfect … but true to the original American conservative values. God fearing and packing legal heat. I am an honorable US Navy vet, 1966-1969, Hospitalman, Corpsman, “Doc” and Pharmacist Mate and served aboard several Naval vessels and spent time in the South China Sea. In WWII, my father and his brothers served, my mothers only brother, a USMC rifleman didn’t return from the South Pacific and my wife’s father spent 3-1/2 years in a Nazi prison camp. Now you know where we came from. We are a product of America’s Greatest Generation at that time. Today, we have each generations “Greatest Generation” for their time. I instilled those values into my two sons. The fed IDIOTS and their minions can learn from Americas hard working, tax paying middle class. It’s about doing what the Americans that voted them into office want. Do what you promise to do. Don’t manipulate the TRUTH and voters with an agenda. There is no such thing as “free stuff” … someone always has to pay for it … one way or the other. We are America, not the UN or the EU. The USA Bill of Rights and Constitution are not to be taken lightly. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. The USA does not want to be the USSA. God Bless America. George S. Reagan, Sr., Fort Worth, TX.

    • agbjr

      Thanks to you, Sir, and your family for your service to OUR Republic. It is persons such as yourself who daily defend and preserve OUR God-given and Constitution-protected liberty. You are NOT forgotten.

    • Clint

      Doc, former HM1 McDonald here,. I served from 1961 to 1974 as an Aerospace Medicine Technician HM1. I come from a long line of patriots who loved our country as yours did. I have nothing to hide as well and shouldn’t have to hide anything in my law abiding life, but I no longer trust my government to protect my privacy or for that matter, anything that pertains to my private life as an honorably serving and discharged veteran and citizen of these United States of America. I have never been about killing. I have, by nature, been in the business of healing, not wanting any to suffer needlessly. The question is, with us folks who have the kind of background you and I share, why should we, living in and serving a country we love, be subjected to unlawful snooping into our lawful credit card transactions. We are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If I purchase a million rounds of 22 caliber ammo, or any other caliber, and never use it to do harm to America or her citizens, why should I be in a government database somewhere for no other reason than that a paranoid government doesn’t trust me. Our Constitution and it’s amendments were written and ratified into law for our protection against our own government. Reason being, our founding fathers had the insight to know man cannot be trusted in government because, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely. God bless your family and yourself. Believe it or not, compared to all who have served, we Corpsmen are a small minority.

    • foxxybey

      gsreagan, thanks for your service, USMC from 61-75, didn’t do the 20, long story. Lost my dad to wounds from the 2nd world war and brother to agent orange in Nam, so if this once great nation’s goes evil, I’m ready to fight any force that wants my freedom’s and if I lose, no way, will be with the Lord forever and will send many to meet their god the devil. God Bless Friend:

    • K

      “gsreagan” – You should care about your privacy!

      “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide”
      http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/
      A commentator on my recent post about the DEA installing license plate scanners on the nation’s interstate highways asks,
      “If you aren’t doing anything illegal why would you care if someone captures your license plate number?”
      Another commentator countered: “If I’m not doing anything illegal, why do the police need to record my license plate number?”
      http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty-national-security/plenty-hide

      Why “I’ve Got Nothing To Hide” Is Such A Fallacy
      http://theartofprivacy.com/2011/02/02/why-ive-got-nothing-to-hide-is-such-a-fallacy-4/

      If you have nothing to hide, why do you care?
      We’ve all heard the insulting, tyrannical cliché: If you have nothing to hide, why do you care?
      The comeback, if not that it would fall on deaf ears, should be this: Because I value myself.
      http://www.freemansperspective.com/if-you-have-nothing-to-hide/

    • Steven Bryant

      I have nothing to hide either, but they MIGHT think I do or to someone who doesn’t believe exactly the way I do, it might LOOK like I have something to hide and they ARE NOT free to browse through my personal financial information, if you please…

  • jesse

    I stopped using bank accounts and credit cards 7 years ago I forsaw this coming… this is terrible. If I truly need to do a credit card purchase I use a prepaid and only load enough for the payment and the cards fee.

    • Clint

      Haven’t thought of that. Good idea. Thanks.

    • LadyPatriot

      However, once you become a recipient of Social Security, you have to have a bank account, The government will no longer send SS checks to you personally. They have to be directly deposited into your bank account.

      • jesse

        Not recieving SS :), and truthfully prob won’t be anything left for me to collect when I retire anyhow haha. I do see your point though and it’s extremely alarming.

  • lewrod

    Dang, the feds will know I just happily purchased 500 Sierra Blitzkings from Cabela’s. Had to get ’em while they were available!

    • Clint

      Good for you.

  • foxxybey

    Sad to say, I don’t hold out much hope for this once Godly nation as they have kicked God out of the schools, out of the public eye and now we have Satanist in charge of the government and the devils children, one and all.

  • irish7_1sg

    That’s scary. I buy my ammo online with credit cards. George Orwell was definitely on to something! Big Brother is here!

  • Skeeter

    Then they want to allow the illegal aliens to stay a strange contradiction of security measures wouldn’t you say

    • Steven Bryant

      Outwardly, yes, a strange contradiction. However, it’s all about votes ya know….

  • Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. the US isn’t necessarily the 4th beast but with the globalist push, it is well underway

  • Constitutional Conservative

    Hello to our NSA spies who are reading these words. Guess what? I’m boring, as are most people. I would like to tell you where to go, except we’re already mostly there. Just know that loyalty to the Oantichrist in charge will not pay off when the Second Revolution begins…

  • dndvaughn

    well, I wonder if they can pay them off for us ???

  • stating the obvious

    I find it amusing that this “monitoring your credit card transactions” would even be a story here at JMM. Or ANY WEBSITE for that matter. Considering that nearly every website you go to puts a “tracking cookie” on your computer, tablet or phone. Just to monitor you, so they can see what your interests are. That’s harmless right? After all, they’re only there for business purposes. Sure, right up until the government wants to see what you’ve been looking at. Don’t scream about the government tracking anything we do when we let everyone else track everything we do. I’m not condoning what the government has done, just pointing out that we are all ready are being monitored.

  • Randy G

    Stores have been doing that forever, the government just tapped into it.

  • Walt Wills

    George Orwell’s book 1984 is how our government is now working. The only thing else left to do, comes from an old si-fi 1973 movie Soylent Green

  • Hankus

    I want to be safe in my country and am willing to give up some level of privacy. However, there is a limit. I can’t believe the data mining software that I used as an auditor is now being used to find what every American is up to. Go for it IRS,NSA, CIA, and all the other agencies such as TSA. Good Luck trying to decipher all that data. If you need help. give me a call!

    • BigUgly666

      Remember the words of Ben Franklin concerning this matter.

  • gepops58

    gee I wonder if these nsa sneaks would pay my credit card bills while they’re busy sticking their noses into them I kind of doubt it though they’re not good at paying bills just making more of them……….16.5 trillion+ and growing daily

  • Robert S Moulds

    Ha the jokes on them I don’t use credit cards so their goes their spying. To quote Nelson Muntz of the Simpsons haw haw.