Coinbase, a prominent crypto exchange platform, has denied recent reports alleging that the company is selling user data to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency that works under the country’s Department of Homeland Security.
The reports surfaced on Thursday, claiming that Coinbase had been providing geolocation data to ICE, and caused an uproar on Twitter, where users said they “didn’t sign up for that.”
In a series of tweets, Coinbase confirmed that the company “does not sell proprietary customer data,” highlighting that its Tracer tools are created in compliance with government requirements and that their information only comes from public sources.
The reports are in reference to a deal that Coinbase inked with the ICE in September 2021 which compels the exchange to provide “application development software as a service” to the ICE in exchange for $1.36 million.
In the contract, Coinbase states that its Coinbase Analytics web browser tool (since renamed Coinbase Tracer) allows users to track data related to Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Tether, and other cryptocurrencies, including all ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum network.
The proposal explains that the software can also perform “transaction demixing,” “shielded transaction analysis,” and, controversially, “historical geo-tracking data.”
In response to the reports, the company explained that its information is only used to investigate finance-related crimes such as terrorist financing and money laundering.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Secret Service, and the Internal Revenue Service have all expressed interest in using analytics tools from Coinbase.
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