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NY police outlines policy for digital currency transaction analysis

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has published a six-page report that explains its use policy for digital currency transaction analysis. The police department’s use of such tools, sourced from unnamed “approved vendors,” was not publicly acknowledged until now. 

The admission comes as part of a wider release of impact and use policies related to the NYPD’s surveillance capabilities. Last summer, the New York City Council passed a bill forcing the NYPD to give details on its use of such technology, including drones and facial recognition software.

Contained within the January 11 report, the NYPD disclosed it employs “cryptocurrency analysis tools to automate the search for information associated with cryptocurrency transactions” to further criminal investigations. The tools enable the NYPD to collect, store, process, or share information associated with cryptocurrency transactions, including audio, video, location, etc. 

The NYPD’s safeguard and security policy limit access to digital currency analysis tools and the transaction data it collects in order to balance public safety with individual privacy. The analysis tools they use do not use artificial intelligence, machine learning, facial recognition, or any other biometric measuring technologies. Only authorized personnel with certain user permissions can use the tools and only on digital currency transactions made on the decentralized public ledger.

The NYPD further stated that such methods “must be used in a manner consistent with the requirements and protections of the Constitution of the United States, the New York State Constitution, and applicable statutory authorities.” Analysis tools allow their investigators to get information about suspects’ cryptocurrency transactions and trace the funds through the blockchain.

The document released by the NYPD does not explicitly detail the sort of crimes it investigates using transaction analysis software. In the past, NYPD has issued public warnings about phone scams that involve digital currency payments. The NYPD took part in a criminal investigation in 2019 involving SIM swapping and the theft of $1 million in digital currency.

See also: Blockchain Intelligence: Analytics, Forensics & Compliance Tools for Bitcoin SV

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