WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a contract obtained by watchdog group Tech Inquiry, Coinbase – one of the United States’ largest cryptocurrency exchanges – will begin selling its users’ historical geo tracking data and transaction history to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
Coinbase currently has a three-year deal in-place with ICE that was recently revealed; the data being sold to ICE will be pulled from Coinbase’s analytics program, Coinbase Tracer, according to reports, but a representative from the crypto exchange has denied that the information provided to the government agency is the exchange’s customer 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,” a Coinbase spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Coinbase and ICE inked their deal in September for a maximum $1.37 million; reports indicate that Coinbase currently has several contracts with various U.S. government agencies, including previously providing licenses for their analytics software to both ICE in August 2021 and the U.S. Secret Service in April 2021.
Previously known as Coinbase Analytics, Coinbase Tracer has drawn scrutiny in the past from watchdog groups. The software development team that created Coinbase Tracker is partly comprised of members of Italian blockchain intelligence firm Neutrino, which Coinbase acquired in 2019; Neutrino had previously gained infamy due to accusations of selling private user data to governments and developing spyware and commercial hacking software that it sold to at least 20 foreign governments and other entities.