NSA PRISM Program Could be Expanded to Card Data

July 22, 2013

It was recently revealed that the federal government has been monitoring private citizens’ phone records through the National Security Agency. The program is said to have collected over one trillion metadata records in total and nearly one billion cell phone calls every day. The NSA states that the program is authorized by the Patriot Act which was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to help combat terrorism.

During a House Judiciary Committee meeting last week, representative s of the NSA did not rule out the possibility of expanding the data collection to include payment transactions, hotel records and Internet search queries. The point that stands out to us here at Host Merchant Services is the access to credit and debit card transaction history.

The NSA and federal government wants access to this rich flow of information because it can provide greater insight into actions of someone suspected of plotting a terrorist act, especially when combined with phone, email and Internet activity. The point being to proactively stop any domestic or offshore terrorist activity aimed at U.S. citizens or military personnel.

One pain point for merchants, especially those outside the United States, is that they are already wary of the federal government accessing sensitive data. These merchants come to credit card processing companies in the U.S. looking for payment processing services because there are limited solutions in their home country and sometimes no options at all.

There are no indications that credit card transaction data is currently being collected by the government and as stated in the congressional meeting last week, no plans to for the immediate future. Host Merchant Services offers great payment solutions for businesses of all sizes, both domestic and foreign. Call us at 877-517-4678 to explore what a new merchant account with one of our payment experts today. Companies that are located outside the United States that are looking for a merchant services account should fill out our quick sign up form.

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