A recent announcement from the European Commission details the formation of a new consortium dedicated to preventing illegal activities tied to virtual currencies and the dark web. The group consists of fifteen members from seven European countries that will develop technical solutions for investigating and mitigating this types of illicit activities.
Virtual Currencies and Darknet Markets Evolve Quickly Says Project Coordinator
The European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) has created a consortium and project called ‘Titanium’ (Tools for the Investigation of Transactions in Underground Markets). According to the announcement, the Titanium Project researchers will begin undertaking a three-year, €5 million project, that aims to curb this criminal activity and will be subsidized by the European Union.
“Criminal and terrorist activities related to virtual currencies and darknet markets evolve quickly and vary in technical sophistication, resilience and intended targets,” details the Titanium Project coordinator Ross King, a senior scientist at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.
Titanium Is Backed by European Law Enforcement and Interpol
The announcement says that blockchain technology used in virtual currencies like bitcoin can allow organizations and individuals to “evade traditional investigative measures.” King believes it is “necessary” to develop forensic tools and have the ability to acquire data from “virtual currency ledgers, online forums, peer-to-peer networks of underground markets, and seized devices.”
The group explains the consortium is backed by European law enforcement agencies and Interpol. Other members of the Titanium Project organization include Bundeskriminalamt (Germany), Coblue Cybersecurity (Netherlands), Universität Innsbruck (Austria) Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization), Ministry of the Interior (Austria), Ministry of the Interior (Spain) and the National Bureau of Investigation (Finland).
Organizers Say Titanium Tools Won’t Compromise Individual Privacy and Fundamental Rights
Titanium Project organizers say that Bitcoin does have many legitimate use cases. However, the consortium explains that is still used by criminals and is very popular on the dark web. Furthermore, the consortium notes the latest ransomware attack on May 12 where the attackers froze computers throughout 150 countries and demanded bitcoin payments.
King also details the consortium wants the public to know that Titanium Project tools will also respect people’s privacy and other sovereign rights.
“The consortium will analyse legal and ethical requirements and define guidelines for storing and processing data, information, and knowledge involved in criminal investigations without compromising citizen privacy,” King concludes in the European Commission announcement.
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