The New York Police Department (NYPD) published a six-page document that outlines its use policy for cryptocurrency transaction analysis last week.
The NYPD's use of such tools, sourced from unnamed "approved vendors," was not publicly known until now. The disclosure comes as part of a broader release of impact and use policies related to its surveillance capabilities. Last June, the New York City Council passed a bill requiring the NYPD to provide details on its use of such technology, including facial recognition software and drones.
In the document, dated January 11, the NYPD said that it "utilizes cryptocurrency analysis tools to automate the search for information associated with cryptocurrency transactions in furtherance of criminal investigations." The NYPD went on to say that such capabilities "must be used in a manner consistent with the requirements and protection of the Constitution of the United States, the New York State Constitution, and applicable statutory authorities."
Per the policy document, the NYPD limits access to cryptocurrency analysis tools as well as the transaction data it collects.
As the report notes:
"Cryptocurrency transaction information isretained within an NYPD computer or case management system. Only authorized users have access to cryptocurrency transaction information. NYPD personnel utilizing computer and case management systems are authenticated by username and password. Access to case management and computer systems is limited to personnel who have an articulable need to access the system in furtherance of lawful duty. Access rights within NYPD case management and computer systems are further limited based on lawful duty."
The NYPD document does not specifically detail the types of crimes it investigates using transaction analysis software. The NYPD has issued public warnings in the past about phone scams that involve bitcoin payments, and the police force was involved in an investigation in 2019 involving SIM swapping and the theft of $1 million in cryptocurrency.
Read the full impact and use policy document here:
Cryptocurrency Analysis Tools Nypd Impact and Use Policy Draft for Public Comment 01.11.2021 by MichaelPatrickMcSweeney on Scribd