18 Feb 16. New York-based cyber crime startup inks deal with Europol, raises $1.6m. Chainalysis Inc, a New York City-based startup specializing in countering money laundering and fraud in the digital currency industry, is collaborating with Europol’s European Cybercrime Center, the company said on Thursday.
The agreement, in the form of a memorandum of understanding, comes as digital currencies such as bitcoin are becoming more popular and potential rivals to established online payment mechanisms but are also a target for criminals to commit fraud and extortion.
“This new collaboration is an important next step in the endeavor to move digital currencies out of the hands of the criminals and into the hands of consumers and blooming commerce,” said Michael Gronager, chief executive of Chainalysis, in a statement.
Europol said in a report last year that cyber crime is becoming a large business with criminals taking advantage of cloud infrastructure and often extorting their victims in bitcoin.
Chainalysis aims to fight cyber crime by tracking digital identities linked to digital currencies. The company’s software detects suspicious activity immediately and provides investigative tools for law enforcement. Separately, Chainalysis said it raised $1.6m in funding led by Point Nine Capital, a Berlin-based early-stage venture capital firm.
Techstars, Digital Currency Group, FundersClub, and Converge Venture Partners also participated in the financing round. These companies are active in the bitcoin and blockchain world. On Thursday, one bitcoin traded at $417.30, up 0.3 percent on the day on the Bitstamp platform. (Source: Reuters)
18 Feb 16. Key U.S. lawmaker suggests openness to encryption legislation after Apple order. A senior U.S. lawmaker expressed a new willingness to support legislation establishing ground rules for when technology firms should grant authorities access to their products, after Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said it would fight a court order to unlock an iPhone linked to the San Bernardino shooting rampage.
Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee, said in a statement on Wednesday that the “complex issues” raised by the Apple case, as well as the prevalence of strongly encrypted devices and communications, “will ultimately need to be resolved by Congress, the administration and industry, rather than the courts alone.”
Two weeks ago, Schiff told reporters he considered a legislative approach to the issue neither “feasible or even desirable.”
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Los Angeles said that Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to investigators seeking to unlock the data on an iPhone that had been used by San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook, who, with his wife, killed 14 people on Dec. 2.
Apple said it would fight the court order, which it said would set a dangerous precedent that could ultimately undermine the security of its iPhones.
While lawmakers are far from a consensus on the issue, Schiff said, “the court’s decision will likely accelerate our consideration of how to weigh the competing privacy, security and competitiveness issues.”
Schiff’s pivot could signal renewed interest from lawmakers in an encryption debate that so far has found little traction in Congress. The House Judiciary Committee is planning to hold a hearing on encryption on March 1 and has invited Apple to attend, according to a congressional source.
Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate intelligence panel respectively, have said they want to pursue encryption legislation, though neither has introduced a bill yet.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported on Thursday that Burr was working on a proposal that would levy “criminal penalties” on companies that did not comply with court orders to decrypt communications, though it said negotiations were still fluid.