DC Court of Appeal Upholds Redaction of Protocol to Shutdown Wireless Networks

Today in a case between the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the United States Department of Homeland Security the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia protected the Department's desire to prevent full disclosure of "Standard Operating Procedure 303" from the public record. SOP 303 is a protocol maintained by the Department of Homeland Security which is alleged to concern a plan for shutting down wireless networks during "critical emergencies." Continue reading

MuckRock: DEA Documents Show Parallel Construction Widely Used

Yesterday MuckRock released a number of United States Drug Enforcement Agency documents acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents reveal that methods of parallel case construction are widely utilized and trained institutionally within the Drug Enforcement Agency and collaborating agencies, with strong institutional controls in place to prevent knowledge of parallel construction involved in cases from reaching any court officers, including the prosecutors assigned the cases. Continue reading

Preet Bharara and Dratel Battle Over Defense Witness (Plain Text of Filings)

As the Silk Road show trial continues with Preet Bharara's team and Judge Forrest doing everything they can to suppress evidence that might allow for reasonable doubt, while permitting accusatory evidence without regard for its origin the battle has moved on to challenging the defense's witnesses. Continue reading

Preview of Obama's Internet Law Enforcement Proposals

Tonight Obama takes to the pulpit for his speech nominally designated the "State of the Union" though so far his earlier attempts had more the impression  of being a wish list of changes Obama would like applied to the Union. Ready to go on the White House website he even has a pdf of changes he would like to make to the federal law in order to deter "Cyber crime" further through empowering law enforcement. Continue reading

Additional Information On A Normal Man AKA John D Powell

As John D Powell took a plea deal and plead guilty to two charges of operating an unlicensed money service business, few court documents are available. The documents that are available depict an articulate man who experienced a run of misfortune prior to his involvement with Bitcoin.

In a letter to Judge Shadid, Mr Powell cites the break down of his marriage and stress of surviving an aortic dissection as explanation for his decision to operate an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange. One could be forgiven for mistaking Powell's letter as one penned by a murderer who is remorseful for his crimes and if as claimed by the State, Powell did process USD $3 million in Bitcoin, it's clear it was a beacon of light for him despite yielding to the court in his apology letter. Continue reading

HashFast Asset Auction Cancelled

Last Thursday, Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali approved a joint statement from HashFast and its creditors in which it is made clear that no-one other than Simon Barber is interested in purchasing the remaining assets. Early last month, HashFast was ordered to auction off its assets but plans for the auction have been scuttled at the last moment as the Bid Procedures Order only received "lowball offers."

In addition to the joint statement released last Thursday, a document dated October 31st was made available. This document shows that a Venezuelan congressman by the name of Guido Ochoa made a bid of $420,000, which was accepted, for all HashFast assets but the ASICs. Continue reading

Congress Man Proposes Bill (H.R. 5777 Full Text Attached)

Outgoing United States Representative Steve Stockman of Texas has proposed a bill, H.R. 5777 that if it became law would impose a moratorium of five years on regulatory and statutory constraints upon cryptocurrency, as well as changing the treatment of cryptocurrencies under United States tax law to that enjoyed by traditional currencies. The moratorium proposed would apply to regulations and statutes at both the state and federal level. The chance this bill passes either house of the legislature is remote given a lack of support and Stockman's limited remaining time in Congress. If it makes it out of Congress its chance of becoming law would still be rather remote, because it would arrive on Obama's desk and require his signature. At present the bill has been introduced to the floor of the House and referred to both the House Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Continue reading

UN Report Criticizes United States on Human Rights

A recent report by the United Nations High Commision for Human Rights Committee on Torture excoriated the United States for its human rights record at home and abroad in it first review of the United States since 2006. The United States record was reviewed along with those of several other parties to the 1987 U.N Convention Against Torture which was ratified by the United States in 1994. A number of issues raised in the committee's conclusions include: Continue reading