Arizona Attorney General to Maintain Database Tracking International Money Transfers

(Central Square) – Arizona Attorney General Chris Mays is defending his administration’s decision to maintain a money transfer surveillance program that paves the way for a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country to monitor transactions of potentially illegal activity.

Since the database was originally created almost a decade ago under the leadership of the Attorney General of the Republic, the so-called Transaction Record Analysis Center (TRAC) law was announced as a voluntary agreement with Western Union aimed at combating drug trafficking, which has now expanded to touch more 600 law enforcement agencies.

In a statement released to the Arizona familyMays’ office defends the program as “an effective tool in the fight against money laundering, sex trafficking and drug trafficking.”

Mays office officials added: “Courts have ruled that customers using money transfer companies do not have the same privacy expectations as traditional banking customers. While Attorney General Mays values ​​privacy, she will continue to use this tool to protect the people of Arizona.”

While arguing that surveillance programs can have far-reaching implications for many here in the US, especially members of communities of color, the ACLU sees things differently.

“The biggest question we have right now is how this program could have gone on for so long,” said Nathan Fried Wessler, ACLU Associate Project Director for Speech, Privacy and Technology. “The recordings we have received reveal the staggering extent of massive surveillance by the state of Arizona, not only of Arizona residents, but of people across the country.”

Wessler also argues that any database of this size, which allows thousands of police officers from across the country to directly log into the system and view people’s personal records without any judicial oversight, is seen as a “recipe for abuse.”

Since its inception, TRAC has been funded by the state and the Department of Homeland Security while maintaining a growing database that reportedly contains millions of financial transactions from people sending money in and out of the state. The ACLU estimates that the state, authorized by the AG office, illegally obtained tens of millions of bank transfer records through the program without a warrant, including an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to verify more than $500 in money transfers. from the state, as well as from California, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.

In Arizona, ACLU officials said documents show the AG office ordered money transfer providers such as Bancomer, Sigue, Moneygram and Western Union to disclose all personal information obtained during a transaction.

Wessler ultimately described the program as a targeted operation, adding that “the people who use the money transfer systems are often immigrants, the poor and people of color who are denied traditional banking services.

“One set of rights for people who have more money and access to banks, and fewer rights for those who cannot get a traditional bank account due to bad credit history,” he added.

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