A keychain tracking company has been selling its chips to companies seeking to use them in electronic security devices.
ChipTracking, which makes chips for the popular Pebble smartwatch, says its chips are already in the hands of the FBI, the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security.
The company has also sold its chips for $100,000 to a security company, which uses them to track people and their devices, according to court documents.
Chiptracking has not responded to a request for comment.
The FBI declined to comment.
The DEA and DHS have not responded.
“It’s really sad that this is all happening and it is not happening more quickly,” said Mark A. Schmitt, president of the Center for International Data Security, a security and privacy advocacy group.
“They are trying to take advantage of a whole bunch of other people’s problems to make a few bucks.”
Amber, a company that sells chips for security cameras, said its chips were sold last year to the FBI for $75,000.
ChipTrading, based in South Carolina, said the FBI bought about 10,000 chips and said they were in use in the company’s systems.
The FBI declined comment.
More:The FBI’s use of the chips, which have to be approved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, could violate a federal law that prohibits the government from collecting private information.
Amber has not disclosed its sales of chips to the government.
The Federal Trade Commission did not immediately respond to a list of questions.
But in a blog post this month, Amber said it has sold the chips to law enforcement, including the FBI and Homeland Security, and that Amber would no longer use them.
“While we have not received any complaints from the FBI regarding Amber’s use, we have been assured by the FBI that Amber’s chips are not being used for anything illegal and will be completely used for lawful purposes,” Amber said.
The Department of Justice and Homeland are also investigating Amber for using the chips without proper approval.
The DOJ has said it is looking into whether Amber violated the federal law against the unauthorized use of information, which bars the federal government from using private information without consent.