A new report in The Intercept sheds light on how Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency can now access geolocation information of Coinbase customers. The platform has provided some important features to the ICE agents for tracking this data. The report claims that ICE has received access to the Coinbase Tracer, an intelligence gathering application of Coinbase. This tool offers various data tracking capabilities.
ICE is responsible for protecting the country from illegal immigration and cross-border crimes. The agency works under the Homeland Security Department. It plans to use the Tracer app to track fraudulent and malicious transactions on blockchains. The ICE agents will be able to find addresses of real-world entities involved in these transactions, according to this report.
A report released under the information act shows the agency does not have to comply with the end user licensing agreement of Coinbase when using this tool. This agreement outlines how users can use or not use the software products of the company. This non-compliance means ICE can use this tracking tool anyway it wishes without any restriction.
Natasha LaBranche, the Coinbase spokesperson, when asked about this development, only referred to a link on the company website. The link states that this Tracer app does not use the user data of Coinbase and gathers information only from public sources. The statement does not say anything about any limitations placed on ICE when it uses this Tracer app.
ICE gained access to Tracer after signing a contract worth $1.36M with Coinbase in September last year. At that time, the contract nature was not clear. It only said Coinbase will deliver an application development SaaS program to ICE.