Coinbase should start issuing transparency reports, says digital rights group EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the San Francisco-based non-profit digital rights group, has called on Coinbase to start issuing transparency reports that detail how many government requests for information it receives and how it deals with them.

In a blog post published by the EFF on Wednesday, legislative activist Hayley Tsukayama said crypto exchanges should especially understand the importance of the privacy of customer information because their users tend to value censorship resistance and anonymity.

"In providing the public with data on how often law enforcement seek user data and how often services comply, transparency reports show whether companies are living up to their promises to protect user privacy," said Tsukayama. "They also serve an important secondary role by providing details on government surveillance activities."

While Tsukayama did not directly mention Coinbase Analytics — the exchange's blockchain analytics software, which it sells to law enforcement agencies, her blog post appears to be hinting at that tool. As The Block previously reported, Coinbase sells the software to several government agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Secret Service.

At the time, Coinbase said the information offered in Coinbase Analytics "has always been kept completely separate from Coinbase internal data" and "does not include any personally-identifiable information for anyone, regardless of whether or not they use Coinbase."

Tsukayama said Coinbase rival Kraken already publishes information on global law enforcement requests it receives and it's "past time" for Coinbase to follow suit.