New Europol Powers May Lead to Blockchain Analysis Task Force
Bitcoin has been referred to as a tool that makes it easier for terrorist groups to acquire funding. The recently-acquired enhanced cyber powers by Europol may be used to crack down on Bitcoin and blockchain.
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Europol Becomes Even More Powerful In The Cyber World
In this day and age of digital information and online connectivity, it is hard for law enforcement agencies to sniff out culprits in a convenient manner. Most of the online communication networks are encrypted, and privacy-centric solutions such as Tor make it all but impossible to link IP addresses to physical locations.
All of the above is part of the reason why Europol, the police agency for all of Europe, has received a promotion. Or to be more precise, they have received enhanced cyber powers to crack down on international terrorism and other criminal activity. Law enforcement agencies have to wield the necessary tools to adequately perform their duties, so this decision does not come as a complete surprise.
These new governance rules were approved by the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee last Thursday, as a lot of the voters were for this proposal. Members of parliament feel these new Europol powers come with democratic oversight, as well as strong data protection safeguards.
What this means is that Europol can now set up specialized units as a response to emerging threats. Two of the most obvious use-cases for these new powers are terrorist threats and cross-border crimes, both of which usually rely on online communication. But there is more to this decision than meets the eye.
At the same time, the Internet Referral Unit has been given legal certainty. This task force’s primary objective is to tackle terrorist propaganda and violent extremist activities on the Internet. Additionally, they can now identify and refer relevant online content to ISPs, and they will also support EU governments in the strategic and operational analysis.
This new set of cyber powers would also allow Europol to create their own blockchain analysis group if they have not already done so. Not too long ago documents revealed how Homeland Security has such a task force at their disposal, which allows them to track down suspicious Bitcoin activity in the US.
This news comes on the heels of the recent event held by the ECB to determine whether or not Bitcoin and blockchain warrant further regulation in the EU. The outcome of that event seems to be along the lines of not adding further regulatory requirements for the time being, which is positive news for Bitcoin enthusiasts in Europe.
Do you think Europol will use their new powers to crack down on Bitcoin and blockchain in the EU over time? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Ars Technica UK
Images courtesy of Europol, Shutterstock