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Google has committed to strengthening its legal compliance program after losing data linked with BTC-e, a fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange that the FBI shut down in 2017 on allegations of money laundering.
According to the Department of Justice, the tech giant would “ensure timely and complete responses to legal process such as subpoenas and search warrants,” going ahead.
In 2016, the department served Google with a search warrant seeking that it turn over any information it had regarding BTC-e. Google, however, relied on an established legal precedent that only allowed for such requests to be made for data kept in the United States. The company was unable to specify precisely which data it was forced to give up because of the optimization methods used by Google, which transferred information across the globe.
However, Congress stepped in and passed the CLOUD act, and mandated the disclosure of all relevant data in situations like Google’s, irrespective of where it was kept. Even Google acknowledged the passing of the law that year, appreciating how it clarified the company’s responsibilities. The Justice Department had indeed lost the information that it had been seeking.
The company claimed it is taking a number of steps to ensure that similar legal issues never arise again. “In the filed stipulation, Google represented to the court that it spent over $90 million on additional resources, systems, and staffing to implement legal process compliance program improvements,” stated the DOJ.
From 2011 through 2017, BTC-e was active in the US and processed roughly $9 billion worth of bitcoin exchanges. The Justice Department claims that its operators gave consumers the opportunity to trade Bitcoin secretly and then use it to launder money.