Feds Forced Travel Firms to Share Surveillance Data on Hacker
The US government has reportedly ordered two travel companies to provide information about the movement of an individual from Russia who is suspected of hacking. The individual, Aleksi Burkov, was monitored by Sabre and Travelport on a weekly basis for two years. The US government claims that the surveillance eventually led to Burkov’s arrest and prosecution. The surveillance data was used in an investigation conducted by the US Secret Service. Court documents pertaining to the case were recently unsealed, revealing the extent of surveillance on Burkov.
The discovery of the extend of surveillance ordered by the US government raises questions about privacy, accountability, and responsibility when considering how much access the government should have or be able to obtain regarding an individual’s private data. Burkov was suspected of facilitating the theft of millions of dollars from stolen credit cards via a website that he ran on the dark web called Cardplanet. Burkov was arrested in Tel Aviv in December 2015 and eventually extradited to the US in 2019, where he plead guilty. Burkov was sentenced to nine years in US federal prison, but went back to Russia in September 2021 for reasons unknown. The recently unsealed documents depict how the US authorities were able to track his very move in the years and days leading up to his arrest.