Law Enforcement and Cryptocurrency
Recent testimony by the director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation sheds light on the concerns law enforcement authorities may have about cryptocurrencies.
There has been a great deal of discussion about the pros and cons of cryptocurrency and the need for regulation of the field. Some view crypto as the future of investments while others view it with concern and suspicion. (Even Libra, Facebook’s planned Cryptocurrency, is losing its loyal supporters.)
The concerned experts believe that Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin can be used by criminals to fund terrorist activities and other threatening initiatives, like the North Korean weapons programs. Another example is ransomware attacks where hackers demand extortion payments in Cryptocurrency.
FBI director Christopher Wray’s recent testimony before the Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Senate confirmed that some of these concerns are very real for the FBI. Senators asked him about cybersecurity measures, cryptocurrencies, counterterrorism efforts, foreign influence in elections, and border security. While talking about national security threats, the FBI director made it clear that he feels the digital currency issue is going to become only bigger and bigger. Wray, however, did not offer an opinion about whether regulation would play an important role in curbing the concerns of FBI.
Encryption is also a concern
The FBI said in 2018 that it had around 130 cases involving cryptocurrency, ranging from human trafficking to ransomware. This past May, it closed down DeepDotWeb, a dark web market place that offered some services in cryptocurrency.
Wray added that in addition to cryptocurrencies, the FBI is concerned with encryption, which touches on all aspects of popular tech, including instant communications.