A new report notes that crypto exchange Coinbase has provided Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents with “a set of features” intended to track the company’s customers. According to the report, ICE has been given access to an intelligence-gathering application, called Coinbase Tracer, which provides a variety of forensic data tracing capabilities.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a government agency of the Department of Homeland Security. The primary purpose of ICE is to protect the country from cross-border crime and illegal immigration.
Coinbase Tracer’s goal is to help ICE track malicious and fraudulent transactions on blockchain. According to The Intercept, the tool will allow ICE agents to “correlate addresses with real-world entities”.
An additional FOIA email showed that ICE was not required to agree to an end user license agreement with Coinbase. The End User License Agreement is used to describe what users can and cannot do with the company’s software products. This allegedly means that ICE is free to use the data tracking tool as it pleases with minimal restrictions.
When Coinbase was questioned about these developments, company spokeswoman Natasha Labranche provided a link to the company’s website with a elaboration that addresses the issue. The link on the Coinbase website states, “Coinbase Tracer sources its information from public sources and does not use Coinbase user data.” A Coinbase spokesperson did not provide information regarding restrictions on the use of the Coinbase Tracer by ICE.
ICE’s access to Coinbase Tracer stems from a $1.36 million contract it signed with the crypto exchange in September 2021. At the time, the nature of the contract was ambiguous and mainly consisted of Coinbase offering the agency an “application development program as a service.”
Related Topics: Coinbase to shut down Coinbase Pro to integrate trading services
Coinbase has been in the news a lot lately and for various reasons. As Cointelegraph reported, the exchange is seeking aggressive European expansion to expand its presence. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs downgraded Coinbase’s stock to “sell” on Monday after a correction of more than 80%.