The DOJ Takes Aim at Privacy in New Crypto Framework

U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) believes cryptocurrencies pose an emerging challenge to law enforcement activities, according to a new publication filed Thursday.

The DOJ’s “Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework” document, published by the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force, outlines what cryptocurrencies are and their potential use cases, including sections on both legitimate and illicit uses (though the “legitimate uses” section was shorter and more skeptical). Crypto has been used to support terrorism, purchase illicit items, conduct blackmail and extortion, cryptojacking and launder funds, according to the document, and the DOJ has spent the last two years determining how best to address these issues.

“Those efforts are paying off,” wrote Sujit Raman, the task force’s chair, referencing recent cases against Telegram, Welcome to Video, sanctions designations and other efforts. And while the report was published by the DOJ, it encompasses efforts by all parts of the federal government, including civil regulatory agencies.

In a statement, Attorney General William Barr said, “Cryptocurrency is a technology that could fundamentally transform how human beings interact, and how we organize society.  Ensuring that use of this technology is safe, and does not imperil our public safety or our national security, is vitally important to America and its allies.”

The report itself is split into three sections: an overview of the cryptocurrency space and its current illicit uses; the laws and regulatory agencies that oversee the space; and the current challenges and potential strategies to address them.

The report warns that cryptocurrencies are more difficult for investigators to learn about than previous tools for executing crimes, citing pump-and-dump schemes as one example.

Cryptocurrency is a technology that could fundamentally transform how human beings interact, and how we organize society. Ensuring…

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