US Domestic Spy Programs Continue Without Any Court Oversight

The UK Treasury has revealed the action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance. The report says that the action plan represents the most significant change to the country’s AML/CTF regime in over a decade.

It pointed out that the HM Treasury launched a Call for Information in 2014 on the benefits and risks associated with digital currencies. The responses received highlighted that while digital currencies and associated technology have the potential to deliver real benefits for businesses and consumers, some features of digital currencies could provide opportunities for illicit use.

“HM Treasury notes this potential risk, while acknowledging that evidence from across government, law enforcement and academia suggests that there is currently a low level of illicit activity in digital currency networks”, it added.

Among other things the Treasury said that it intends to bring digital currency exchange firms into anti-money laundering regulation, as it is currently at the stage where users “cash in” and “cash out” of digital currency networks that money laundering and terrorist finance risk is highest.

“We note that extending the perimeter of anti-money laundering regulatioThe US National Security Agency (NSA) continues to monitor telephone and other telecommunications of most Americans through the Fairview and Upstream programs without being subject to any court oversight, NSA whistleblower William Binney told Sputnik on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Last week, the FISC issued its first ruling since the 2015 USA Freedom Act was passed, authorizing the NSA to carry out more surveillance activities. However, no details on the subject or nature of the NSA activities or the communications company involved were revealed to the US public.

William Binney is a cryptanalyst and mathematician, and has served for 30 years as a senior analyst at the NSA, where he exposed major aspects of the agency’s blanket surveillance programs.

“From what I understand, the surveillance continues mostly under Executive Order (EO) 12333 and the Upstream program which neither the courts nor Congress have oversight.”

The main domestic program launched after the 2001 USA Patriot Act and passed by Congress already had developed “tap points” that allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor or record most communications carried out by AT&T system at least from 2004, Binney recalled.

“The main program doing the domestic collection remains the Fairview program, which is AT&T cooperation allowing taps directly on the fibers to collect all the data on those lines… But, of course, it has grown since then.”

Additional comprehensive programs tapped into other communications system both within the United States and throughout the world, Binney added.

“The Upstream program does not go into the unilateral taps on the fiber line in the United States and around the world which also have no oversight.”

Anther NSA system called Stormbrew had tap points of its own into the Verizon system across the United States, Binney pointed out.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and its Court of Appeals, which were set up maintain constitutional and legal oversight on US domestic intelligence operations, had any significant effect in restraining them, Binney observed.

“In short, the government is lying to everyone, even the courts, which means that this is all for public show to document the idea that they are doing the right thing. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.”

The FISC oversees requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Read more: beyond digital currency exchange firms (e.g. to wallet providers) would not deliver any benefits in terms of mitigating money laundering and terrorist finance risk, and would place significant burdens on firms in this innovative and embryonic sector”, it added.

This clearly shows that while the government is taking a firm stand against money laundering or the funding of terrorism through UK institutions, it is watchful not to over-regulate the digital currency and blockchain technology space that could hamper the ongoing innovation.

Last year, the government announced the launch of a new research initiative which will bring together the Research Councils, Alan Turing Institute and Digital Catapult with industry in order to address the research opportunities and challenges for digital currency technology, and will increase research funding in this area by £10 million to support this.

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