Thursday, June 06, 2024

Treasury Releases First Ever Non-fungible Token Illicit Finance Risk Assessment

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Pandemic Fraud Juror Got a Bag Full of $120,000 and a Promise of More if She’ll Acquit.

May 2024 issue of LLRX – Ransomware in the Digital Age: Multidisciplinary Legal Strategies for Minimizing Cryptocurrency Ransom Payments: The year 2023 witnessed an unprecedented escalation in ransomware attacks, affecting users from homeowners to critical infrastructure like healthcare, education, and government. With over 5,200 reported incidents—a 74% increase from the previous year—ransomware has not only intensified in frequency but also sophistication and financial demands, with total payments exceeding $1 billion. 

This surge highlights the value of data and the increasing likelihood that victims will pay ransoms, often facilitated by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies have played a pervasive role in the rise in ransomware attacks due to their anonymity and ability to facilitate cross-border payments. Jawad Ramal explains how using cryptocurrencies to facilitate ransom payments offers complex challenges due to their high transaction costs and regulatory ambiguities that complicate compliance efforts. 

The pervasive role of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks underscores the necessity for multi-disciplinary legal professions that are capable of utilizing blockchain analytic tools, financial hedging techniques, and general knowledge of the evolving cryptocurrency space.

 Instituting safe harbor provisions would also ensure that victims do not face the threat of prosecution after making ransom payments

The U.S. Department of the Treasury published a 2024 Non-fungible Token (NFT) Illicit Finance Risk Assessment. The risk assessment explores how vulnerabilities associated with NFTs and NFT platforms may be exploited by illicit actors for money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing. The assessment finds that NFTs are highly susceptible to use in fraud and scams and are subject to theft. 

The report determines that illicit actors can use NFTs to launder proceeds from predicate crimes, often in combination with other methods to obfuscate the illicit source of proceeds of crime. It also found little evidence of the misuse of NFTs by terrorists or proliferators, in contrast to fraudsters, to date. “This risk assessment demonstrates Treasury’s commitment to analyze illicit finance risks of newer technologies and communicating them to industry and law enforcement,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. 

“I encourage the private sector to use the findings of this assessment to inform their own risk mitigation strategies to prevent illicit actors from abusing NFTs and NFT platforms.” The assessment finds that inadequate cybersecurity protections, challenges related to copyright and trademark protections, and the hype and fluctuating pricing of NFTs can enable criminals to perpetrate fraud and theft related to NFTs and NFT platforms. 

Moreover, some NFT firms and platforms lack appropriate controls to mitigate risks to market integrity and to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and sanctions evasion. The assessment recognizes that mitigation measures, such as industry tools, law enforcement authorities, and analysis of public blockchain data, can partially mitigate such risks…”

Supersharers of fake news on Twitter

Science. 30 May 2024. Vol 384Issue 6699. pp. 979-982. DOI: 10.1126/science.adl4435 – “Most fake news on Twitter (now X) is spread by an extremely small population called supersharers. They flood the platform and unequally distort political debates, but a clear demographic portrait of these users was not available. Baribi-Bartov et al. identified a meaningful sample of supersharers during the 2020 US presidential election and asked who they were, where they lived, and what strategies they used (see the Perspective by van der Linden and Kyrychenko). 

The authors found that supersharers were disproportionately Republican, middle-aged White women residing in three conservative states, Arizona, Florida, and Texas, which are focus points of contentious abortion and immigration battles. Their neighborhoods were poorly educated but relatively high in income. Supersharers persistently retweeted misinformation manually. 

These insights are relevant for policymakers developing effective mitigation strategies to curtail misinformation. —Ekeoma Uzogara”

New Live Crime Tracker Provides Real-Time Crime Data from America’s Cities

“A first-of-its-kind data tracker from NORC at the University of Chicago’s Center on Public Safety and Justice offers in-depth information on crime, violence, and victimization in cities across the United States. The Live Crime Tracker provides the public—along with policymakers, researchers, and others—with transparent, timely, and available data that can help cities respond rapidly to emerging public safety concerns.

 Today, official national crime statistics are reported many months after the fact, making it difficult to recognize and respond to emergent trends. The new NORC tool responds to the need for timely information, tracking crime trends in real time—much as public health systems leverage data to detect, prevent, and control emerging diseases—and giving law enforcement agencies, public officials, and community organizations time to respond more effectively. The online tracker——provides real-time data for over 50 U.S. cities in eight crime categories, including homicide, burglary, and aggravated assault.

 The Live Crime Tracker includes in-depth city crime profiles, interactive maps, and a daily crime tracker that allows users to analyze trends over time and make comparisons across locations. It should be noted that the Tracker compiles data shared by local governments, and some of the data they report are incomplete…”