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Payments network allegedly tapped by US government

Karl Flinders

The payments network of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) could have been tapped by the US National Security Agency (NSA), according to reports.

German newspaper Der Spiegel also revealed that the NSA allegedly tapped Visa. The documents came from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Der Spiegel stated that the NSA “has in-depth knowledge of the internal processes of credit card companies like Visa”. This is through an NSA branch known as “Follow the Money”.

Swift is a not-for-profit co-operative that provides a network that sends millions of financial transaction messages every day across 209 countries. It is used by more than 8,000 finance firms. It began in 1973, with 239 banks sharing the communications services at the start.

Swift was not available for comment at the time of publishing.

Visa said in a statement: “With respect to the claims in the Der Spiegel article, we are not aware of any unauthorised intrusion into our network. Visa takes data security seriously and, in response to any attempted intrusion, we would pursue all available remedies to the fullest extent of the law. Further, it’s Visa’s policy to only provide transaction information in response to a subpoena or other valid legal process.”


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