Financial Privacy – Examining the Threat to Free Speech and Privacy

Investigative journalist Whitney Webb discusses the imminent effort to criminalise Bitcoin and financial privacy. She reveals how this effort alines with a larger agenda to undermine free speech and the right to privacy. This article explores the bipartisan bill introduced by U.S senators, the involvement of federal agencies, American commercial banks, and the Federal Reserve.

Additionally, it highlights the concerns raised by mainstream media reports and the ambiguous definition of cybercrime by authorities. Paying close attention to these developments is crucial for Bitcoin users, as the Department of Justice has already labelled Bitcoin as a preferred payment method for terrorist groups. Join us as we dig deeper into the global efforts to combat cybercrime and the potential repercussions for cryptocurrency transactions involving mixers and privacy tools.

Whitney Webb: Bitcoin and the Plot to Destroy Financial Privacy - Examining the Threat to Free Speech and Privacy
Whitney Webb discusses the imminent effort to criminalise Bitcoin and financial privacy.

Efforts to Criminalise Bitcoin and Undermine Free Speech

Whitney Webb, an investigative journalist and the founder of Unlimited Hangout, is raising awareness about the impending efforts to criminalise Bitcoin and financial privacy. These efforts, not only at the international level but also involving powerful American federal agencies, American Commercial Banks, and the Federal Reserve, have raised concerns about the potential erosion of free speech and privacy rights.

A bipartisan group of US senators recently introduced the Financial Technology Protection Act, which aims to study how terrorists and criminals can utilise cryptocurrencies and other financial technologies. The proposed working group for this initiative includes representatives from various US government departments, such as the Treasury, IRS, FBI, and CIA. Webb highlights that the Department of Justice has already attempted to associate Bitcoin with terrorist groups, suggesting that the working group will likely target Bitcoin specifically.

Webb also draws attention to a series of mainstream media reports that cite officials from the Treasury, FBI, DOJ, and CIA, claiming that terrorists are using Bitcoin to finance their activities. Additionally, the RAND Corporation, a military think tank, has labelled Bitcoin and the dark web as the newest terrorist threats.

Furthermore, Webb reveals that the Department of Justice and FBI are part of an international public-private partnership known as the WEF Partnership Against Cyber Crime (WEFPAC), which seeks to define cybercrime and cyber criminals in ways that could criminalise anonymous cryptocurrency transactions and privacy-enhancing tools.

Noteworthy points:

  • The Financial Technology Protection Act aims to counter the use of cryptocurrencies by terrorists and criminals.
  • The Department of Justice has portrayed Bitcoin as a preferred payment method for terrorist groups.
  • Mainstream media reports have linked Bitcoin to terrorist financing.
  • The WEF Partnership Against Cyber Crime seeks policies that treat anonymous cryptocurrency transactions as criminal.
  • The partnership includes major banks and tech companies such as Bank of America, Amazon, and Microsoft.
  • The RAND Corporation views Bitcoin and the dark web as significant terrorist threats.
  • Efforts to combat cybercrime are taking place at a global level.
  • Governments define cybercrime and cyber criminals in vague terms, raising concerns about potential abuses of power.

Concerns over Bitcoin and Cyber Crime

Bitcoin users are often associated with anonymity, and concerns about its use for criminal activity and money laundering have been raised. WEFPAC acknowledges these concerns and emphasises that they are not unfounded. However, the bank goes beyond the conventional understanding of cyber criminals as hackers or financially-motivated criminals, including those who spread disinformation and promote terrorism.

WEFPAC’s inclusion of disinformation as a cyber crime raises concerns about potential online censorship, particularly of independent media outlets. The bank calls for global efforts to target infrastructures and assets facilitating cybercrime, including those enabling private cryptocurrency transactions and hosting of illegal sites.

The recent seizure of crypto exchanges by the FBI and Ukraine’s National Police highlights the growing interest in combatting cybercrime. Many of these exchanges offered anonymous cryptocurrency exchange services, illustrating the challenge faced by law enforcement authorities.

In their quest to confront cybercrime, WEFPAC asserts that raising the cost, restricting profitability, and increasing the perceived risk for criminals is necessary. They argue for a globally coordinated approach involving collaboration between the private sector and law enforcement agencies, even if it means going beyond existing legislative and operational frameworks.

Financial Institutions and their Customers: The Link to Cyber Crime

According to FS ISAC (Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre), the rise in the value of cryptocurrency has been identified as a key factor driving cybercrime, specifically ransomware incidents. This suggests that addressing the importance of cryptocurrency is crucial in reducing cybercrime and effectively tackling it at its root by targeting its profitability. However, recent data contradicts these claims. A WEFPAC member chain analysis study found that only 0.34 per cent of cryptocurrency transactions in 2020 were connected to criminal activity, a significant decline from the previous year’s figure of 2 per cent.

While this decline could be attributed to the increasing adoption of cryptocurrency, the overall percentage of crime-linked cryptocurrency transactions remains remarkably low. Despite this fact, mainstream media outlets have widely propagated that Bitcoin, in particular, is driving the $1.4 billion ransomware industry.

It is concerning that these claims have circulated without sufficient evidence, as they contribute to the demonisation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, it raises questions about the motives behind the efforts of financial institutions, intelligence agencies, and technology companies that aline with these narratives. If the goal is to eliminate financial privacy and devalue cryptocurrencies, individuals invested in Bitcoin must pay closer attention to these influential yet shadowy groups.

It is important to note that cryptocurrency is not the primary driver of cybercrime, but it does threaten the plans of organisations such as FS ISAC and its partners. These entities seek to develop digital currencies centrally controlled by approved commercial banks or central banks, enabling greater surveillance and erosion of financial privacy and autonomy. They advocate for a Global Financial Cyber Utility to combat the economic drivers of cybercrime. This aligns with WEFPAC’s objectives, which also desire to create a globalist entity.

Before FS ISAC and WEFPAC asserted, members from both groups participated in a 2020 initiative hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This initiative included representatives from central banks such as the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). These entities believe the main cause of global financial instability lies in the current fragmentation among stakeholders and initiatives. They advocate for increased global coordination as the key solution. This would require extensive reorganisation and interaction between the finance, national security, and diplomatic communities at both domestic and international levels.

Financial Sector and National Security Agencies Collaborate in Unprecedented Ways

In an unprecedented move, the financial sector and financial authorities are being called upon to collaborate closely with law enforcement and national security agencies. This initiative, spearheaded by the World Economic Forum (WEF), aims to fuse commercial banks and financial regulators with these agencies to combat cybercrime and ensure national security. However, critics argue that this policy is both insane and dystopian.

What exacerbates the situation is the involvement of major financial institutions such as WEFPAC, which supports this fusion and advocates for merging commercial banks, regulators, and intelligence agencies. This nightmare scenario raises concerns about the potential infringement on financial privacy and the fundamental values of a free society.

Of particular concern is the role played by American federal agencies, institutions, and commercial banks in shaping these policies. The US Federal Reserve, FDIC, Secret Service, FBI, Department of Justice, and numerous systemically important commercial banks have actively participated in developing regulations specifically targeting Bitcoin. These authorities view financial privacy, the rising popularity of Bitcoin, and its value as direct threats responsible for cybercrime.

However, critics highlight the irony that many of these same agencies and banks have previously been involved in cases of money laundering and corruption, with little to no consequences. HSBC, for instance, has laundered millions of dollars for drug cartels without facing any repercussions. Similarly, the CIA has engaged in money laundering through criminal banks like BCCI, which operated a sex trafficking operation.

Moreover, recent events involving political figures and their alleged involvement in money laundering have further eroded public trust. Though evidence of corruption may exist, individuals like Sam Beckman Freed, charged with multiple federal crimes, often receive lenient treatment.

As these policies are being developed behind closed doors, there is growing concern about the lack of accountability and transparency. The fear is that if nothing is done to challenge these policies, privacy advocates and Bitcoin users who take steps to protect their transactions may face accusations of criminal activity.

The real question is how these agencies and public-private partnerships plan to gain public support for their policies. While most Americans may reject current proposals, it is postulated that a future crisis could change public perception and sway opinion towards the need for increased security measures. Some believed that the recent ransomware attacks and warnings of a potential cyber pandemic were attempts to manufacture consent for these policies.

It is important to question whether the threat of cybercrime justifies compromising personal financial privacy and the stifling of innovation. The next section will dive deeper into the potential crisis predicted by the World Economic Forum and its implications for these policies.

Cybersecurity Experts Warn of Impending Catastrophic Cyber Event

In a recent presentation at the Davos conference, renowned cybersecurity experts voiced their concerns about an imminent global catastrophic cyber event. Jurgens, a prominent figure in the field, revealed that an alarming 93 per cent of cyber leaders and 86 per cent of cyber business leaders believe that the current geopolitical instability will inevitably lead to such an event before 2025. Jurgen Stock, the head of Interpol and a highly influential member of WEFPAC, echoed these worrisome predictions.

Highlighting Interpol’s role in cybercrime prevention, the United Nations has designated the organisation uniquely positioned to implement key aspects of the 2030 sustainable development goals. With fears of a catastrophic cyber attack gaining traction, mainstream media outlets have joined in the alarm, with Newsweek’s print edition depicting a hacker on its cover and warning of a cyber apocalypse.

The severity of this potential attack is a matter of great concern. The head of the Department of Homeland Security has even claimed that it could result in the loss of numerous lives. If such an attack were to occur, public opinion would likely turn against Bitcoin, possibly leading to the introduction of stringent legislation. Amidst cybersecurity’s growing anxieties, the global financial system’s stability has also been scrutinised.

To pave the way for their desired solutions, the WEF and its allies, including US government agencies, seek to raise awareness about global financial instability and instil fear in the general population regarding privacy concerns. They aim to establish a fully surveilled internet and financial system, which would require marginalising Bitcoin and undermining privacy-enhancing technologies. The battle for control over cryptocurrency is just one aspect of the broader war for our societal future. The question remains: will we succumb to a world dominated by central banks and intelligence agencies, or will we rise and demand a return to privacy and constitutional rights?

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