The FBI does not need to rely on spy databases or phone records to collect a huge amount of information about suspects: you can, for example, simply contact a travel company for help. Forbes reported that the FBI is using information from Saber, the world’s largest holder of travel data, to spy around the world. Officials reportedly asked the company to not only provide information about past trips, but also actively spy on targets while traveling.
In December 2019, the FBI asked Saber within six months conduct real-time surveillance of Indian fugitive Deepanshu Kher. The firm had to provide data on the travel, transaction or booking of that person who, as a result, already in January was caught and placed under house arrest. Travel data has also been used to catch people like Alexei Burkov, the alleged operator of a credit card fraud site, according to Forbes.
Saber isn’t the only major travel data operator (the other two are Amadeus and Travelport), but the company has been in the spotlight in the past, helping the US track down those involved in the 9/11 attacks. However, a new report claims the Saber was used to actively monitor suspects and criminals in the interests of intelligence agencies. This speaks to significant privacy concerns, as companies like Saber store vast amounts of personal data.
Neither Saber, nor Deepanshu Khera’s lawyer, nor the Ministry of Justice responded to journalists’ questions or commented on this information.
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