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BTC · 5w

DOJ Crypto Framework Is a ‘Disaster’ for Digital Privacy Rights

The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent crypto enforcement framework is a threat to digital privacy rights, according to an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

“It was a complete disaster for privacy and anonymity and civil liberties in the cryptocurrency space,” said Marta Belcher, special counsel to the digital rights advocacy group.

The framework, released earlier this month, details the U.S. government’s approach to crimes committed using cryptocurrencies, but also appears to define some broad policy positions on crypto and crypto exchanges more generally. Belcher, who is an attorney with Ropes and Gray and an outside counsel to Protocol Labs, said the framework released earlier this month raises many concerns about privacy rights, pointing to language on peer-to-peer exchanges, mixers/tumblers and “anonymity enhanced cryptocurrencies” (privacy coins). 

In Belcher’s view, there are a number of legal concerns with the crypto enforcement framework as laid out by the DOJ’s Cyber Digital Task Force. Language in the framework would appear to have implications for individuals sending cryptocurrencies to one another, as well as exchangers offering transactions as a service.

The enforcement framework even had a section on mixers and tumblers, noting that entities qualifying as money services businesses are subject to the BSA or “similar international regulations.”

Encryption

The DOJ’s arguments against cryptocurrencies are similar to those made against encryption, another law enforcement boogeyman. The DOJ, alongside other members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance plus India and Japan published a statement calling for backdoor access to encrypted messaging services and other systems last weekend. 

The statement reflects law enforcement agencies’ “fundamental discomfort” with any technology that could allow for private interactions, said Jake Chervinsky, general counsel at Compound Fina...

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