Coinbase In Geolocation Data Storm Amid Reports of Selling to ICE

Early reports were made by Tech Inquiry, a watchdog group, with emerging details of a three-year contract engaged with the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

Coinbase Tracer, an advanced analytics program owned by Coinbase will avail user data to the U.S Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

Included will be “historical geo tracking data” and transactional history. These details are based on a copy of a contract obtained by the watchdog group Tech Enquiry.

The contract adds flesh to prior speculations and limited details that had been previously known regarding the three-year union. The news initially broke via The Intercept.

When asked to clarify, a representative for Coinbase denied that the information forwarded by the analytics software was actually user data.

“All Coinbase tracer features use data that is fully sourced from online, publicly available data, and do not include any personally identifiable information for anyone, or any proprietary Coinbase user data” the spokesperson told the media.

The contract officialised in September ,with an estimated maximum worth of $1.3 million ,is just but one of many small contracts between the crypto trader Coinbase and agencies of the U.S government.

Earlier ,in August 2021, and May 2020, ICE and Coinbase sat down and signed a smaller contract worth $29 000.This was a gateway fee which gave ICE licenses to Coinbase’s analytics software. Also between April and May 2021,Coinbase sold similar licenses to the U.S Secret Service.

It stands to reason that controversy would follow Coinbase Tracer since its algorithms likely emerged following Coinbase’s 2019 acquisition of the widely monitored firm Neutrino, linked to a start-up that sold spyware.

Details of who approached who first between Coinbase and ICE would help evaluate whether access to its assets was voluntary, involuntary or just everyday business.

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