Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, Edward Snowden, has released some documents that are showing how the National Security Agency (NSA) created a classified program set to monitor Bitcoin trading and the cryptocurrency market.
The document has information that could change the financial markets. The Intercept has published a few pages of the paper which are proving that the NSA has been following bitcoin since 2013, including the best gainers in the industry. Besides that, it seems that the main interest of the agency was to see if the crypto money is going to terrorists, but not only.
According to the document the NSA has been monitoring the crypto users starting 2013 by using a software called Oakstar. The program helped them to identify the users who are making crypto transactions. The documents revealed that the agency went further than tracking transactions.
While using the Monkeyrocket, a subprogram of Oakstar, they have analyzed global internet traffic and recorded the identities of crypto users. Furthermore, it seems that the NSA has collected private information like wallet passwords, device identifiers, and internet activities.
Some voices have started to blame the NSA for not playing fair and but also expressed their concerns about the apparent lack of privacy in the crypto market.
“If the government’s criminal investigations secretly relied on NSA spying, that would be a serious concern. Individuals facing criminal prosecution have a right to know how the government came by its evidence so that they can challenge whether the government’s methods were lawful. That is a basic principle of due process. The government should not be hiding the true sources for its evidence in court by inventing a different trail,” said Patrik Toomey, member of American Civil Liberties Union.
Others believe that disclosing the involvement of the NSA will lead the crypto community in making better choices concerning security and privacy.
Bad news for privacy, because it means that in addition to the really hard problem of making the actual transactions private … you also have to make sure all the network connections [private],” declared Matthew Green, Johns Hopkins University – Information and Security Institute.
Emin Gun Sirer, professor and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts at Cornell University stated that “is something that matters incredibly, people who are privacy conscious will switch to privacy-oriented coins.”
He added for The Intercept, however, that “when the adversary model involves the NSA, the pseudonymity disappears…You should really lower your expectations of privacy on this network.”