The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is on a hiring spree. The agency is looking for an attorney as it intensifies its crackdown on international cybercrime.
According to a job advertisement by the Criminal Division’s overseas development office, this will be a 12-month assignment. The objective will be to build the department’s capacity to trace cryptocurrency and blockchain analysis. The attorney adviser will assist in matters dealing with the dark web, cryptocurrency and computer hacking. The job listing reads in part:
“The Dark Web and Cryptocurrency International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Attorney Advisor (DWC-ICHIP) will work with the GLEN to support international capacity building aimed at countering cybercrime and intellectual property (IP) criminals in the context of transnational organized crime (TOC).”
Deliver Technical Assistance
As per the agency, the Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia – regions are rampant with “sophisticated transnational organized crime threats” in the cybercrime and intellectual property underworld. The area will be a top focus for the adviser who will develop and deliver technical assistance and programs on criminal investigations involving the Dark Web and cryptocurrency.
During the release of the White House budget last February the U.S. Government outlined proposals to increase cryptocurrency surveillance. The budget proposal gave the treasury more power over crypto and requests funding for FinCEN to expand its efforts to combat threats including from cryptocurrency. Regarding cryptocurrency, the budget document proposed returning it to the U.S. Secret Service to the Department of Treasury. Trump’s budget states:
“Technological advancements in recent decades, such as cryptocurrencies and the increasing interconnectedness of the international financial marketplace, have resulted in more complex criminal organizations and revealed stronger links between financial and electronic crimes and the financing of terrorists and rogue state actors.”
Trump’s budget is a long way from becoming law, though. In the United States, Presidential budget proposals have little to no legal bearing on the budget process, which the Constitution stipulates must begin in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rather, it is a political document outlining Trump’s priorities.
The demand for cryptocurrencies has surged in many countries during the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. The peer-to-peer trading volume has surged in several countries with additional reports suggesting that traffic on centralized cryptocurrency exchanges has also peaked exponentially. More people are considering cryptocurrency and bitcoin as an alternative to fiat currency and the world looks for contactless money.
Detect and Deter
The United States Embassy in Bangladesh has been running seminars to help the Bangladeshi criminal justice officials and financial analysts to learn how dark web and cryptocurrency technology facilitates cross-border criminal activity, and how to detect and deter it. Is it possible the Trump administration is preparing to counter the overwhelming crypto wave that could be in the offing? Only time will tell.