Court compares Coinbase with “Traditional Bank” in the appeal against child pornography

A three-member jury decided this FBI agents who quoted Coinbase records to demonstrate that a man had used Bitcoin to access child pornography They have not violated their rights to make the fourth change.

They rejected the appeal of Richard Gratkowski, who was convicted of receiving child pornography and accessing websites for viewing child pornography in May 2019 and was sentenced to 70 months in prison with 10 years probation.

On June 30, the court compared Coinbase to a traditional bankciting the United States Supreme Court ruling in 1939 against Miller, which found that bank records were not protected by the fourth amendment.

Court compares Coinbase with “Traditional Bank” in the appeal against child pornography
Court compares Coinbase with “Traditional Bank” in the appeal against child pornography

“Coinbase is a financial institution, a virtual currency exchange that offers Bitcoin users a method of transferring Bitcoin.”, Judge Catharina Haynes judged.

“The main difference between Coinbase and traditional banks that Miller considered was that Coinbase trades in virtual currencies, while traditional banks trade in physical currencies.”

Gratkowski appeals with the fourth change

An FBI investigation of a child pornography website had revealed that Gratkowski used Bitcoin (BTC) to pay for its content. between June 2016 and May 2017.

Federal agents identified the wallets that sent BTC to the website and asked the FBI to quote Coinbase. to receive information about your customers whose accounts were linked to transactions submitted on the website. The investigation revealed an attack on Gratkowski’s house, in which a hard drive with child pornography was found..

Gratkowski appealed against his belief, arguing that data on Bitcoin transactions should be subject to the same protection that location information was given to cellular locations. in the Supreme Court decision in USA / Zimmermann 2018.

The jury rejected Gratkowski’s argument and found that, in contrast to location information for mobile sites Bitcoin transaction data is neither an “omnipresent or persistent part of everyday life” nor does it offer “an intimate window into a person’s life”.. The panel also highlighted the public nature of the data being transmitted through the Bitcoin blockchain.

“The type of information in the Bitcoin blockchain and the voluntary nature of the exposure weigh heavily against finding a data protection interest in the information of a person in the Bitcoin blockchain “, judge Haynes concluded.

Bitcoin and the fourth change

Gratkowskis is not the first case in which an accused tried to appeal the fourth changethat protects people from inappropriate government searches and seizures to argue that law enforcement seizure of cryptocurrency data is unconstitutional.

During the Ross-Ulbricht process, founder of the anonymous Darknet market Silk Road, Ulbricht unsuccessfully claims that his allegation violated the fourth change in the use of data to identify him.

A recently published academic article entitled “Transparency is the New Privacy”: Blockchain’s Challenge to the Fourth Amendment, The author Paul Belonick argues that the fourth amendment “is based on analogies from the physical world that do not exist in the unique digital space of blockchain”..

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