The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies across the country have been using the digital currency Crypto Coins to track criminals.
The FBI recently launched its first digital currency investigation, which is now being followed by more than 100 other law agencies.
The bureau’s use of Crypto Coins has raised concerns among some privacy advocates, who say the agency’s use is illegal.
While Crypto Coins have been used in law enforcement investigations before, it is the first time it has been used to create fake bank accounts or to collect information, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology.
“The FBI and other federal agencies are using Crypto coins as a backdoor to collect user data, which would violate the Fourth Amendment and could violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,” said the group’s senior counsel, Christopher Soghoian.
“This use of Cryptocurrencies is a serious breach of the privacy of American citizens.
The FBI’s use violates their First Amendment rights and could threaten the security of American consumers and businesses.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau the US Department of Justice declined to comment on the bureau’s new crypto coin use, citing a policy that “confirms FBI policies are strictly confidential.”
Crypto Coins have also been used for identity theft and fraud in countries including Mexico, Colombia, Ukraine and Iran.
“We have a very good understanding of the Crypto Coins community and how they are used, and we take this seriously,” said FBI spokesperson Laura Tachter.
“However, we do not comment on matters in private.”
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