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A major Australian politician is calling for the government to increase its oversight on bitcoin.

In a speech Tuesday, first reported by The RegisterAustralia's opposition leader Bill Shorten suggested that government regulations on bitcoin should be more stringent to mitigate the chance it could be used illicitly by terrorists and cybercriminals.

Shorten, who leads the Australian Labor Party argued that as criminals are already seeking to "obscure their financial deals", and that digital currencies could become a prime target for exploitation when paired with the anonymity afforded by the dark web.

Shorten said:

"We must target this threat head on. As terrorists adapt their methods and seek to hide online, we must ensure our agencies have the tools, resources and technology so terrorism has no place to hide.

The comments are the latest sign out of Australia that the government is beefing up its efforts to regulate and control encryption services.

Earlier this month, both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and attorney general George Brandis went public with their belief that the pervasive use of encryption is proving problematic for law enforcement.

Further, the developments come amidst a wave of new increased attention for the more negative use cases of bitcoin. Following major ransomware attacks, law enforcement discussion now appears more active and critical of the emerging technology.

Australia police image via Shutterstock

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