Irish Lawmaker Calls for Investigation Into Bitcoin and Deep Web

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Jan 15, 2014 at 14:30 UTC
Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 14:38 UTC

A member of the Teachta Dála, the lower house of Ireland’s Parliament, has urged fellow lawmakers and the parliamentary communications committee to investigate the effect of digital currencies on illicit financial transactions.

Patrick O’Donovan, who is a member of the centre-right Fine Gael party, wrote to the committee asking them to investigate the use of digital currencies, claiming that they have created an “online supermarket” for illegal goods and services. He also called for more controls on payments made using digital currencies, reports The Journal.

A boon for black markets

O’Donovan argued that the anonymity of online transactions (made possible by digital currencies) has allowed the black market to flourish. He said digital currencies make it extremely difficult to identify the buyers of illegal goods such as firearms and drugs. He added:

 “We need a national and international response to clamp down on this illicit trade.”

In addition, O’Donovan plans to raise the issue with the executive branch, namely the Department of Justice and Department of Communications.

Deep web concerns

O’Donovan added that an EU-wide response should be developed to address concerns raised by the advent of open-source internet browsers, adding that such browsers “protect anonymity” to facilitate illegal online activities.

This, of course, has nothing to do with bitcoin – it’s a clear swipe at the deep web and the Tor browser, previously known as The Onion Router.

It should be noted that The Pirate Bay recently announced plans to create a new peer-to-peer internet standard that might irk O’Donovan as soon as he hears about it.

It is unclear whether O’Donovan’s crusade against digital currencies and anonymous browsing will yield any results, as earlier attempts to clamp down on deep web have failed miserably.

Although some of the currency’s proponents tend to argue that the deep web should be left unregulated, others are just as hostile toward the service as most lawmakers.

As long as the deep web is a bazaar for all things illegal, it seems the public perception of bitcoin will continue to suffer.

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