Law enforcement should stop trying to access everyone’s data, legal expert says


While some believe the Tornado Cash ban may negatively impact other privacy-focused projects, others believe these projects will continue to move forward and deliver on their commitments to fight against censorship and decentralization.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Ahmed Ghappour, the general counsel of the privacy-focused project Nym Technologies, shared his thoughts on the importance of privacy in the crypto space, how to balance the interests of regulators and people who want privacy and what’s next for privacy in Web3.

According to Ghappour, there are conflicting concepts in the Web3 space. It is the promise of returning ownership of data to people while having full transparency regarding blockchain transactions. The attorney noted that to achieve these conflicting goals, confidentiality is key.

However, with the Tornado Cash incident, it is clear that privacy technologies are in the crosshairs of US regulators. The lawyer pointed out that this hinders the space’s ability to innovate. He said that:

“The United States is trying to smash a fly with a hammer. […] The OFAC designation is intended to trigger economic sanctions primarily against countries and groups of individuals, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers, not ideas, algorithms, or code.

Ghappour explained that there is a good reason not to sanction ideas. This is because the effect will be to incapacitate a target by criminalizing almost any association with them, even harmless associations unrelated to any other criminal conduct.

Related: Anonymous user sends ETH from Tornado Cash to VIPs following sanctions

When asked if there is a way to balance the interests of regulators and people who want privacy, the lawyer pointed out that it depends on the interests of regulators. Ghappour said that to strike a balance, regulators must align their interests with those of people and consider the need for privacy. He explained that:

“To strike a balance, law enforcement must abandon unrealistic assumptions about unfettered access to everyone’s data on a silver platter.”

Despite this, Ghappour is also concerned that the interests of regulators are aligned not at all with the people, but with preserving the status quo of financial oversight. Even so, the executive believes there will always be a push for projects that prioritize privacy and security at the heart of technologies.


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