Home Tech Elizabeth Warren Calls for Crackdown on Crypto’s Role in Child Sexual Abuse

Elizabeth Warren Calls for Crackdown on Crypto’s Role in Child Sexual Abuse

0 comment
Elizabeth Warren Calls for Crackdown on Crypto's Role in Child Sexual Abuse

US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bill Cassidy have called on the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to redouble their efforts to stop the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online, a problem they say is has gotten worse.

In a letter sent Thursday, addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, the senators claim that the “pseudonymity” offered by crypto transactions is helping those who trade CSAM evade detection by law enforcement.

Citing data from the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, as well as research from Chainalysis, a company that specializes in tracking crypto transactions, and the Internet Watch Foundation, a CSAM-focused charity, the letter states that the “use of cryptocurrencies in illicit CSAM trading appears to be increasing.”

Between 2020 and 2022, financial institutions identified 1,800 bitcoin wallets suspected of engaging in transactions linked to child sexual exploitation or human trafficking, the letter states. Although the scale of the cryptocurrency-based market for CSAM decreased in 2023, Chainalysis found, an increase in sophistication among sellers allowed them to evade detection for much longer than in previous years.

Individuals engaging in online CSAM trading use a variety of methods to conceal their activity, senators claim, including using cryptocurrency mixing services and ATMs to conceal the origin of funds used in CSAM transactions. and launder the profits.

“These are deeply troubling findings that reveal the extent to which cryptocurrencies are the payment of choice for perpetrators of child sexual abuse and exploitation,” the senators wrote.

To prompt a response, Warren and Cassidy have called on the DOJ and DHS to release details of their own investigation into the extent of cryptocurrencies’ role in the CSAM problem, as well as information on the specific challenges in prosecuting this category of crimes. Senators have given the agencies until May 10 to respond to their questions.

For her frequent and mercurial criticism of cryptocurrencies and their role in illicit activities, Warren has become something of a villain in crypto circles. Lately, the senator has be criticized for a piece of anti-money laundering legislation proposed in July 2023, that the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a cryptocurrency advocacy group, has reclaimed “will erase hundreds of billions of dollars in value for American startups and decimate the savings of countless Americans legally invested in this asset class.”

She maintains that cryptocurrencies should be subject to the same legislation as financial organizations in the US. “Drug traffickers, rogue nations, terrorists, and buyers and sellers of child sexual abuse material use cryptocurrencies to launder and move money easily,” says Warren. “These are serious problems, and the common sense solution is for cryptocurrencies to follow the same anti-money laundering rules as any other financial transaction.”

You may also like