In the National Security Administration’s (NSA) charter, their function and mission statement denotes that they are tasked by the government to promote security, and pursue surveillance. These functions allow the agency access, according to law, the power to collect and analyze data and information it deems necessary to ensure the national security of the country.
So it is with great interest to the American people that a new partnership being formed on Jan. 13 between the NSA and the major U.S. financial institutions to counter global hacking crime, could allow the government access to, and surveillance of, personal and business accounts residing in these institutions.
The government’s willingness to engage “is emblematic of how these cyber-related risks are evolving,” the bank official said. “Agencies like the NSA have tremendous expertise for very sophisticated types of information-security programs.”
In general, it can provide assistance to private-sector companies when their systems are seen as critical to national security, said Richard George, a former computer security official at the NSA. The request must come from a government agency, such as the Treasury Department or the Department of Homeland Security, that has authority to work with the company. – Washington Post via Zerohedge
According to the NSA in a statement regarding this new partnership, they declined any specifics, but stated they intend to work in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Since 9/11, the passing of the Patriot Act, and the rulings by the courts allowing for non judicial wiretaps, applicable laws and regulations are not black and white, and allow government agencies a full range of regulations to access, and compile the accounts and records of the American people. In fact, the NSA is in the process of building a massive data storage facility in the state of Utah, which will contain acres of communication equipment and storage servers to collect, process, and track those deemed as security risks under the vaguely defined umbrella of national security.
In many court cases, monetary crimes are labelled as wire fraud, which fits into the spectrum of warrantless wiretapping allowed under the Patriot Act. In fact, the Obama administration in 2009 reported that the NSA had on many occasions overstepped their authority in collection and surveillance programs, and President Obama eventually changed the FISA law requirements to ease the the ability of the NSA to collect and analyze data on the American people.
It is one thing for a government agency to assist private institutions and major banks in finding ways to defend against foreign and domestic attacks on data and accounts they protect, as economic terrorism is just as important as military or political. However, this assistance must be done using an external process, providing software or other mechanisms to confront terror attacks while working to ensure the sanctity of a citizens private information. If not, then according to the current laws and regulations available to agencies like the NSA, the power to access, compile, record, and track every single financial transaction of every single American is now open to the NSA with the blessings of the institutions we trust to store and protect our money and privacy.