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Oregon: Senator calls for strengthened privacy protection of money transfers data

Senator Ron Wyden issued, on 18 January 2023, a press release in which he calls for the Department of Justice ('DOJ') Inspector General to investigate the relationship between multiple federal law enforcement agencies and an Arizona non-profit organisation that has collected records of millions of Americans' money transfers. In particular, the Senator noted that, following the Homeland Security Investigations' ('HSI') issue of subpoenas in March 2022 for millions of records for money transfers from customers of Western Union Holdings, Inc. and Maxitransfers LLC, the companies were ordered to deliver the records to the Transaction Record Analysis Center ('TRAC'), a non-profit organisation based in Arizona, where thousands of law enforcement agencies could search the records.

In this regard, the Senator stated that the program included far more states and foreign nations than the government had previously disclosed in briefings, noting that this indicates an unorthodox arrangement between state law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, and DOJ agencies to collect bulk money-transfer data and raises a number of concerns about surveillance disproportionately affecting low-income, minority, and immigrant communities. Furthermore, the press release specifies that the Senator is working on legislation to close the identified 'legal loopholes' and ensure people who use money transfer services have the same privacy as those who use bank or money transfer applications.

You can read the press release here.