Warren calls on DOJ, NHS to crackdown on crypto payments for child sexual abuse material

    2024.04.29 | exchangesranking | 53onlookers
    US Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) are urging US authorities to crack down on the use of crypto in the illegal trade of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

    The lawmakers raised the alarm in an April 26 bipartisan letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

    Crypto payments for CSAM

    The senators identified the pseudonymity of cryptocurrencies as a critical factor that facilitates the movement of payments for CSAM into the digital realm. They noted that crypto has become the preferred payment method for such illicit activities, emphasizing the urgent need for legislative and administrative actions to address this issue.

    A January 2024 report from Chainalysis, a leading blockchain analytics firm, confirms the growing problem of crypto-based sales of CSAM. The report identified virtual currency as the dominant method among buyers and sellers of commercial CSAM content.

    A February analysis by the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) further supports the findings. The FinCEN report revealed an increase in the use of virtual currencies by perpetrators aiming to avoid detection.

    The analysis also found that financial institutions had filed thousands of suspicious activity reports linked to CSAM, identifying over 1,800 unique Bitcoin wallet addresses associated with these offenses.

    Stricter AML rules

    The senators wrote that such developments highlight the need for strong anti-money laundering measures and effective law enforcement strategies to combat such crimes.

    The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has also reported a significant increase in the number of websites accepting crypto for CSAM — doubling annually since 2018.

    Warren, an advocate for stringent crypto regulations, has been active in promoting various legislative measures and urging tighter anti-money laundering rules specifically targeting the crypto sector.

    Senators Warren and Cassidy are advocating for a combined effort between Congress and the Administration. They aim to equip both bodies with the necessary tools to effectively combat the issue.

    The letter marks a critical step toward legislative action aimed at closing gaps in the current financial regulatory framework to address and mitigate the risks associated with digital assets in such harmful trades.

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